Backpack along the Gunnison River in the Dominguez-Escalante NCA

3.4 Miles Round Trip - Out-and-Back Trail

Bridgeport Road - Search Nearby - Added by Jon Mattrisch

Down in the canyon along the Gunnison river, looking up to the high cliffs above, the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area is one of the most amazing hidden gems in Colorado.

If you're looking to take your first backpacking adventure, but want something that is manageable yet thrilling, this is what you're looking for. Located along the Gunnison River in Western Colorado, the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation area is easy to access yet full of adventure and beauty.

From Grand Junction, take a drive south down Highway 50 for about 30 miles, until you come to Bridgeport Road. Pull off the highway and take this gravel road down into the canyon. After a few miles, you'll come to the Bridgeport Trailhead. You can park here and take the trail down to the train tracks, or continue another quarter mile down to the parking lot that lines the river.

From here, grab your gear, head under the car barrier, and follow along the train tracks for about a mile and a half or so. You'll first come upon an old, wooden bridge that is no longer in use. Continue past this until you see the red steel bridge that will take you across the Gunnison River.

Once across, follow the sand trail along the river to pick out your camping spot. There are several markers along the way that point out designated wilderness camping areas, but don't feel that you need to stick to these markers. One thing to note: you must be 100 yards away from the trail if not in a designated wilderness camping spot.

When you find your spot, set-up camp and get ready to head out to see more of the canyon. You can continue along the river, or head into the canyon area and see more of the terrain. There is a small waterfall to the right of the first fork that you should definitely check out.

During the night, get your camera out and capture the beauty of the night sky. You're in a very good area with zero light pollution. The stars simply pop and shine incredibly bright. The canyons tower over you and the moon and stars light your night. It's absolutely amazing to see and one of my favorite experiences that I've ever had. 

Tags

Chillin
Camping
Photography
Rafting
Backpacking
Hiking
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers

Details

3.4 Miles
Out-and-Back Trail

Stay Nearby

Grand Junction, Colorado

Grand Junction KOA

Ridgway, Colorado

Ouray KOA

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Overall rating: 

Perfect

I’ve embarked on a two week hike/camp trip and was looking for a place to stay in between Steamboat and Moab. This was the perfect place. I camped on a Saturday with my pup and we only ran into a few friendly people. Very hidden/secluded and beautiful.