Suitable for stock vehicles, 16 Road ventures up into the Book Cliffs north of Fruita on mostly smooth, gravel roads. The driver is rewarded with fantastic views of the Grand Valley. The trip will also drop down to the upper end of Hunter Canyon (21 Road), where you might see one of the other groups attempting the upper obstacles.
21 Road is one of the most well-known western slope trails. It follows Hunter Canyon into the Book Cliffs north of Grand Junction. Large rocks with multiple lines possible make this a fun trail for a wide variety of 4WD vehicles. This will be run as an out-and-back trail, ending where it starts. It is a short drive from Grand Junction with a large staging area available for tow rigs.
Billings Canyon Jeep Trail
This difficult trail was originally built by the Grand Mesa Jeep Club and the club has maintained it as an adopt-a-trail ever since. The trail follows a dry wash, climbing up and over boulders, with the second half of the trail progressively getting harder, culminating in a "waterfall" obstacle. Body damage is likely. It is a short drive from downtown Grand Junction with a large staging area available.
This is a newer Montrose trail, even bigger and "bidder” than the original trails. It features constant huge boulders requiring the driver to always be looking ahead trying to pick the best line to set themselves up for what is to come. A big climb midway through the trail will have you hanging onto your seat. The exit of the canyon is guarded by another huge waterfall. Guts might get you up the wall, but may also land you on your lid. Body damage will occur and rollovers are common. Breakdowns are also common.
Cactus Park & Wagon Park
Cactus Park & Wagon Park are along the Tabeguache Trail as it makes its way south from Highway 141. Highlights include driving along the Dominguez – Escalante Wilderness Area border for miles, occasional sightings of Desert Bighorn Sheep, and great views of the Grand Mesa. This is a relatively easy trail through some pretty awesome country. Requirements: Most stock vehicles will make this with little trouble.
Cactus Ridge & Cactus II
A classic Montrose rock crawling trail following a dry boulder-strewn wash. The obstacles are usually regarded as slightly more difficult than Die Trying, but the trail is shorter. Partway through, the trail forks, with the Cactus II route taking off to the left and making a long, steep loose climb up to the exit. The original Cactus Ridge route continues to the right, featuring a large 6 foot waterfall requiring a longer wheelbase and a committed bump to get you up and over. A winch anchor is available. Rollovers are possible here.
Calamity Canyon (Montrose)
The Calamity Canyon trail follows a network of rocky dry washes, making short loops and climbing out each time up a large waterfall. Rollovers are possible here.
Calamity Mesa Loop (Gateway)
This trail features 11 named obstacles plus many other unnamed lesser ones. Practice your smile…by the end of the day your face will hurt. This area is extremely remote compared to most others. Bring a coat – this is a higher elevation area with cooler temperatures than Grand Junction. A CB radio would be a big plus to hear some of the history of the area and trail as we progress.
This trail offers mostly sand and dirt, with a climb up to the top of the Book Cliffs near Mt. Garfield. Fantastic views of the Grand Valley await you at the top. This trail borders a wilderness study area known for wild horses, so if you keep a keen eye, you may be able to spot one. This is a shorter trip, suitable for stock vehicles and close to Grand Junction.
This trail starts soon out of De Beque and follows a seasonal wash. You’ll get some steep ups-and-downs as the trail crosses the wash a couple times, before finally leaving the wash to make its way up an unnamed mountain. As you reach the top, you will be rewarded with views to the south and west. You may still see snow on the Grand Mesa. On a clear day, you can spot the La Sal Mountains in Utah.
Montrose’s newest and arguably hardest trail. It starts as a spur off the Topless Trail and makes a rapid climb up a wash to the top. It features several difficult boulder-strewn climbs. This is buggy territory. Body damage will occur and rollovers are common. Breakdowns are likely.
Highlights: Constant boulders, all on a steep grade.
Minimum Requirements: 39” tires, winch, locking differentials, full cage, tow rig.
This is perhaps the most well-known, classic Montrose rock crawling trail. It follows a dry, boulder-strewn wash. It offers almost constant rock crawling, exiting from the wash up a steep loose climb out. A large staging area is available. Body damage is possible.
Highlights: A rock crawler’s paradise. An optional 4 foot ledge awaits you at the end. Rollovers are possible.
Minimum requirements: 37” tires, winch, locking differentials. A tow rig is recommended.
Dolores Point is a mild trail but the views from along the mesa will blow you away. Looking over South Beaver Mesa are sights like Beaver Creek Canyon, North Beaver Mesa, Polar Mesa, Cottonwood Canyon (where Rose Garden Hill is), Sevenmile Mesa, and the Top of the World Trail. Looking north you see Steamboat Mesa, Sheep Creek, the Dolores River Valley, and the Palisade WSA. Requirements: Most stock vehicles will make this with little trouble.
Dolores Triangle & Steamboat Mesa
The Dolores Triangle area has many trails to choose from. Trails like Sheep Creek, Granite Creek, Cow Creek, Steamboat Mesa, Coates Creek, Fish Ford and Sharf Mesa are the highlights. Others will take you into some great country too. Finding your way here can be difficult as maps are rare. Requirements: Most stock vehicles will make this with the exception of Granite Creek. Granite Creek- 33” tires.
Dry Creek - Speers Access
Suitable for stock 4x4 vehicles, this is a scenic trail that travels through wild horse country, climbing a mountain for views of the surrounding area. Watch for "goblins" and "hoodoos".
Gateway to Glade Park
Starting in Gateway and going up to Glade Park, the trail follows the Dolores River for several miles and then leaves the river to make the climb. The climb features several switchbacks as it makes its way up side of the cliff to an old cabin. It then travels over the top of the mesa on old jeep roads, crossing Granite Creek and ending up at the Utah/Colorado state line, then back across Glade Park. This is a very scenic route. There is one moderately difficult section along the shelf road where a couple of the switchbacks may require backing up. If you are not a fan of shelf roads, this trail may not be for you.
Rangely Rock Crawl Park
The Rangely Rock Crawl Park is maintained by the Rangely Rock Crawlers Club. The park features many steep rock faces, with “waterfall” obstacles and exposed climbs suitable to longer wheelbase, low center-of-gravity vehicles. Body damage and rollovers are likely. Not for the faint of heart.
It is approximately 90 miles from Grand Junction to Rangely on Highway 139 over scenic Douglas Pass. A tow rig is highly recommended. The group will caravan to the park and then unload at the staging area within the park. From there, the trip leader will choose which trails to lead, usually with input from the group.
Highlights: Big adrenaline-inducing climbs will test your skill and your nerve
Minimum Requirements: 38” tires, winch, locking differentials, full cage.
This trail is in the popular Bangs Canyon Special Recreation Area close to Grand Junction. It follows the rim of Rough Canyon along a sandstone fin, with an optional stop at the “playground area” that offers a range of ledges to try. From there on out, it features several rough rock areas mixed with some smooth hard pack sandy areas.
Another classic Montrose rock crawling trail, this is a little less difficult than Die Trying, but still not to be taken lightly.
Highlights: The first major obstacle is a large ledge spanning the width of the canyon. It has multiple lines for those that are more adventurous. The second obstacle is a narrow climb up a rock “waterfall”. The trail narrows toward the end with large rocks to crawl and trees on either side, with damage to hardtops likely.
Minimum requirements: 37” tires, winch, locking differentials. A tow rig is recommended.
This trail loops through the popular Bangs Canyon Special Recreation Area close to Grand Junction. It follows the rim of Rough Canyon along a sandstone fin, with an optional stop at the “playground area” that offers a range of ledges to try. This area has seen some new post & cable and signage, with the Grand Mesa Jeep Club and several other local motorized clubs pitching in to help the BLM. It’s mostly dirt from there on out, with the rockiest sections being the climb back up from the Rough Canyon crossing.