Lower Main Canyon

Round Trip Distance: 4.6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 4767 - 5077 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 2 hrs. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Coal Canyon
Fee: none
Attractions: wild horses

The Lower Main Canyon trail is located in the BLM Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Area near Grand Junction, Colorado. Beginning at the Coal Canyon trailhead the trail follows an old drill road as it crosses a ridge into Main Canyon were it makes several crossings of Jerry Creek as it works its way down to the mouth of Main Canyon near the Colorado River.

To get to the trailhead take Exit 46 off of Interstate 70 in DeBeque Canyon and following the road across the river and up the canyon for about 2.4 miles. During dry weather most passenger cars can drive the dirt road without any trouble.

From the trailhead follow the old drill road as it climbs up to the ridge. There is a gate at the saddle of the ridge where many years ago there was a 'No Trespassing' sign just like the ones oil companies currently put up on the roads they make. Even when those roads are on public land.

The route is less steep as it drops gradually into the bottom of Main Canyon.

Once in the canyons bottom the trail crosses the creek. The route can be hard to pick up in places but between the old road and the many wild horse and game trails it's should be easy enough to find something to follow. When the creek isn't running a foot deep like it can get in the spring you can always just follow the creek bed down stream.

The old drill road ends up crossing back over to the south side of the canyon where it stays until it reaches the well site.

To continue past the well site you will end up crossing the creek another time or two. That is unless you opted to stay on the north side of the creek by following one of the horse trails.

This is one of those hikes where it would be pretty hard to get lost even with all the different trails to choose from. Once the mouth of the canyon comes into view you can pretty much tell how much further it is, not that you have to hike all the way to the end.

If you do make it to the end you will come to another gate at the BLM boundary. A person used to be able to park at this end of the trail until someone put up a no trespassing sign. The sign was gone when we were there but you could still tell where it had been.

There are an abundance of wildflowers in the spring and early summer months to enjoy along the way.

You'll want to take a leash if you bring your dog just in case there are bighorn sheep or wild horses in the area. Besides being illegal to let them harras the wildlife if they aren't used to being around horses they might get their head kicked in if they get too close.

The day that we took the photos for this post is the only time we can remember not seeing any wild horses in the area. We have seen bighorn sheep several times in the past but on this day there were a few in the mouth of Coal Canyon on the slopes above the old Cameo power plant but none in lower Main Canyon. That was interesting because there were people across the road from them at the shooting range that you would think would have spooked them away. Lower Main Canyon is a nice hike as long as it isn't muddy. It's close to town but usually not heavily trafficked. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.