Corkscrew Loop Hike – Colorado NM

Fruita, CO (outside Grand Junction)

As with most of Colorado,  the weather has been rainy here in Grand Junction with showers and thunderstorms often in the forecast.  But Wednesday dawned with sunny skies predicted to last into the late afternoon, so we set off to hike the Corkscrew Trail Loop.  This hike begins at the Wildwood Trailhead, about six miles south of the west entrance to the Colorado National Monument.  The loop begins on the Lower Liberty Cap Trail, which goes along a flat area for about a quarter mile, then sharply up 700 ft. for another three quarter mile.

The beginning of the Lower LIberty Cap Trail

A steeper part of the Liberty Cap Trail

After about a mile the trail reaches a junction with two options.  Turn left and you head toward the Corkscrew Trail for the return loop.  But turn to the right and you can continue to climb up for another seven tenths of a mile to the Liberty Cap.  This trail is a bit steep in places but is not difficult.

One of the steeper sections headed up to LIberty Cap

While much of this trail is rocky, parts are fairly flat over packed soil.

At one point we came to the only water crossing on this hike.  But with our vast hiking experience  we didn’t have any difficulty crossing it.

The water crossing

Soon we arrived at the trail junction at Liberty Cap.  From here you can continue for another five miles on the Upper Liberty Cap Trail, but our plan was to return back down to the last trailhead and join the Corkscrew Trail.

LIberty Cap trail junction

Liberty Cap, with a young hiker enjoying the view

At Liberty Cap we enjoyed great views to our east and west.  The view to the east was of the city of Grand Junction and surrounding communities.  We could even see the Starbucks we frequented in the distance!

The view to the east. Can you see the Starbucks below the arrow?

The view to the west looked right acrosss Ute Canyon to the mesa that is the main part of the Colorado National Monument.

Lunch with a view

After lunch it was time to head back down the seven tenths of a mile hike to the junction point.

Returning to the junction point we continued on to the Corkscrew Trail.  This is one of the oldest trails and was built with pick and shovel by John Otto, one of the first settlers to see the beauty of what is now the Colorado National Monument.

Different types of rocks are found on this part of the trail.

The trail “corkscrews” down from the mesa

Once down and back on the flat part of the trail near the trailhead we turned back and could now identify Liberty Cap in the distance.

Later that afternoon we met up with Ingrid and Al (Live Laugh RV), fellow full-timers who we met for the first time earlier this year in Apache Junction, AZ.  We enjoyed a cold glass of Porter, some good food, and great conversation at the Suds Brothers Brewery here in Fruita.

After dinner the skies cleared, so we headed up into Colorado National Monument to check out the views.  From the west entrance to the monument the road (build with pick, shovel, and blasting powder by the CCC) winds up a thousand feet to the top of a wide mesa.

As we rounded a curve going up, some sharp eyes in the passenger seat spotted the tell-tale white markings on the rear end of a Bighorn up in the rocks.

See the white spot in the center?

It’s very difficult to spot these animals unless they move their butts since the rest of them blends into the surroundings.  Fortunately, this fellow turned around just after we spotted him.

It was beginning to get dark so we didn’t drive very far up the scenic road.  But we were able to get a great view of Independence Rock below us.  We posted an earlier blog describing our hike to the base of this cool monolith.

Independence Rock

We only have a few more days here outside Grand Junction and are hoping the weather clears a bit so we can enjoy all the beauty in the area.  There are a number of hikes and drives we want to complete before we move to the east.

More on that later . . .

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15 Responses to Corkscrew Loop Hike – Colorado NM

  1. Nancy says:

    That water crossing was tough! What a view you got to see. And Bighorn too! Very cool. Glad you got to meet up with Ingrid and Al.

  2. Ingrid says:

    It was a fun time meeting you guys at the brewery. Looks like a great hike…. Now if only this weather would clear.

  3. debbiemc14 says:

    More great hikes to keep in mind! Always love it when you can spot a bighorn in the wild! Glad you were able to safely make the river crossing!

  4. Becky says:

    Great to see you enjoying the Monument. We love it there. From Grand Junction, will you head over to Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Montrose area? Highly recommend it.

  5. Jean Liopy says:

    Beautiful photos, as usual! I had lunch with Arlene Keeney this week, and she asked if I knew what you were doing. Of course, I told her about your blog, and that you and Pam were in Colorado. She quipped, “tell him not to partake of any of that recreational cannabis.” LOL!

  6. Jean Lippy says:

    That would be Jean Lippy!

  7. Erin says:

    Glad you managed to clear that water safely! LOL. I know I sound like a broken record … but gorgeous scenery.

  8. heyduke50 says:

    looks like people all over the USA are looking for the weather would clear – glad to see you escaped out for a nice hike…

  9. Janna says:

    Rain again yesterday but looks like we will have sunshine this morning!

  10. Mary says:

    Looks like a very nice area. And you had enough sunshine to hike that day, always a good thing. It’s been such a weird rainy spring.

  11. Laurel says:

    What gorgeous views from that trail! You were very brave to attempt that dangerous water crossing, hehe! Glad the CCC and early settlers were willing to build trails with a pick and shovel so that we can enjoy them today. Hope your weather clears for more hiking. We’ve never been in that area and I’m interested to see what you guys find. 🙂

  12. LuAnn says:

    More territory that you are blazing for us! This one looks like a wonderful hike, although I am not sure that I would be confident enough to tackle that water crossing hehe! Always good to meet up with fellow RV bloggers.

  13. I have seen bighorn sheep in Colorado and Nevada, but I grew up in Grand Junction and never saw a bighorn in that region, so what a lucky sighting! I read the article text before the images all loaded, and thought you were serious about the water crossing. It reads quite differently that way — then the picture loaded. You’re hilarious! Thanks for the laugh.
    If you haven’t been up to the Grand Mesa National Forest on the other side of town, do go for the drive. Lots of hikes up there and it’s so beautiful. Take a lunch and hike around the many lakes.

  14. Gay says:

    Now, that’s my kind of hike…beautiful photos of awesome views! Dang! You always see the long-horn sheep…I have yet to see one!

  15. Oh yeah! I am so doing this hike in the fall! Love the trail on the shelf of the rock!

    Big horns are ALWAYS a pleasure!

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