Visit to Fruita, CO

Fruita, CO

We left Torrey, UT last Sunday and drove west through Capitol Reef NP on UT-24.  Our plan was to stop at the little crossroads town of Hanksville for a visit to Goblin Valley State Park.  But the forecast was for rain the next couple days so we decided to move on to Fruita, a small community west of Grand Junction, CO.  If you have to spend a day or two in the rain, it is certainly better to be in an area with some stores nearby.

We were able to secure a reservation in Monument RV Park.  We would have preferred a spot in James Robb State Park, just across the street, but no sites were available.  Monument RV Park is nice, but it is typical of most  commercial parks, with narrow sites.

The sun did shine one afternoon during our stay, so we headed a bit west for a hike in the Kokopelli Loops section of the nearby McInnis Canyon National Conservation Area.  To get there we drove one exit west on I-70 (exit 15) and followed the signs to the Kokopelli Loops.  After turning on to a nicely maintained dirt road near the Port of Entry, we drove three miles for our hike.  At that point we turned left and went just a short way up a side road to the trailhead for Mack’s Ridge.  If you don’t have high clearance you may want to park at the open area and walk up the side road (about a tenth of a mile) as it is a bit “bumpy.”

We read about this hike on the Lowes RV Adventures blog.  Steve and MonaLiza visited a couple weeks ago and must have left quite an impression with the locals.  Apparently the locals were so impressed with Steve’s hiking prowess that they re-named a couple of trails in recognition of his skills!  After all, the trail signs appeared to be very new, a sure indication of a name change.

What an honor!

Parking area with a view (and no people)

We began the hike on a section of Mary’s Loop (apparently no one recognized MonaLiza’s skills).

After about a half mile we came to the marker for Steve’s Loop.  We stayed to the right at the first “Y” as we read that it is best to hike the loop in a counter-clockwise direction.

As we hiked around a deep canyon we could see the return section of the loop trail down below us.

 

As we rounded the loop, we enjoyed some great views of the Colorado River below us.

Looking west

Looking east

The trail was fairly flat and smooth, but it did get a bit more interesting as we moved deep into a couple of canyons.

Lunch with a view

The next morning we experienced some heavy rain, but the skies cleared a bit in the afternoon so we headed up into the Colorado Monument.  There was still a chance of some rain so we limited our hike to a two mile round trip on the Canyon Rim Trail, which begins behind the visitor center.

As the trail name suggests, we hiked along the edge of a steep cliff along Wedding Canyon.

Looking north we could see Window Rock with the town of Fruita in the distance.  The “window” is just below the railing in the center of the photo below.

We continued out to that viewing area and took a close-up photo of the window.

Looking back to the south we could see some of the named rock formations in the distance.  In the photo below Praying Hands is the near pinnacle.   The Pipe Organ is behind and to the right of the Praying Hands, while Independence Monument is farther behind it and to the left.

From Grand Junction we intended to move south to Delta and Ridgway, but the weather forecast has rain most of next week.  So we will bypass that section of Colorado and schedule it for a return visit in the future.  We’ll now circle back into Utah, go through Moab, and head to Cortez, CO.  Steve and MonaLiza are also in the area so we’ll be meeting them for dinner.  Perhaps they will share the secret of how to get a trail named for you!

More on that later . . .

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29 Responses to Visit to Fruita, CO

  1. Jeff Pierce says:

    Another great hiking opportunity for you, and your vicarious readers. It’s been awhile since we’ve been in the area. Are you heading farther east? Take a thought of doing Hanging Lake, it’s an uphill, ALL uphill, but IMO worth the effort. Fran has a different opinion 🙂

    • placestheygo says:

      No, Jeff, we aren’t going any further east. I’ve heard of Hanging Lake, and we’ve driven by but never hiked it. Thanks for the suggestion. I think maybe Fran has the right opinion!

  2. Laurel says:

    Such beautiful, interesting hikes! We really need to get back to Fruita for more exploring. You two and ML and Steve are enticing us there. Glad you’re getting some good hiking weather in between the rains. We’re starting to feel ready for some red rock and desert time. 🙂 By the way, you look great in your new sun hat, Pam!

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Laurel! Actually Ingrid had it on her blog. It is a great fit and so light which helps me wear it all the time. A must for southern Nevada. We have managed a couple hikes but the rainy weather days far out numbers the days we can hike.

  3. georgeyates says:

    Some amazing scenery there, love your pictures.

  4. You guys do find the best trails and scenery!

  5. Jodee Gravel says:

    Glad to be back in the desert with you guys! You sure spent a lot of time on those ridges though 🙂 Love seeing the monuments – great shot to catch so many. Hope the snow stays away for your next route. I’m thinking they really meant Mona Lisa when they wrote Mary because it would fit on the sign!

  6. You’re right about being in an area with stores when it’s raining. Poor Jim endured a couple hours at the outlet mall in Park City yesterday, but he did buy some clothes he needed.
    We’ve camped at CO NM both times we were in the Fruita area and just did hikes up there. Looks like we need to check out McInnis Canyon next time.
    When will you be in Moab?

    • placestheygo says:

      It’s probably good thing we didn’t find an outlet mall! I’m sure I would have needed something. You and Jim would really enjoy the McInnis Canyon. So many trails to choose from that making a hike of any distance is so easy and most of it is in the rocks.

  7. Sherry says:

    I suspect they just got MonzLiza’s name wrong on the sign. And after reading their recent post about getting separated, I’m not surprised at the sign showing one trail going one way and the other another. Love the looking east picture of the river and the lunch with a view. Wonderful to see your pictures of the Colorado Monument. It sure brings back great memories of a beautiful place.

  8. Such a cool area that we need to really explore. You got rained on while we got overheated there. Perhaps spring is the better option for visits? I guess we’ll have to try that one. I am impressed by Steve’s ability to get things named after himself. Surely that cannot be a coincidence! Good work, Steve! Speaking of which, I’ll second the comment above – LOVE the lunchtime and “looking east” photos. Really nice captures!

    • placestheygo says:

      Thanks, Laura! The weather was beautiful shortly before we arrived. We just happened to hit this area during a bad weather pattern. Hopefully we only have two more days and then the sun reappears.

  9. Love that empty parking lot! It’s great you are able to change plans on a dime to avoid more weather!

  10. Steve can have his trail, I already have a famous portrait in my name …ha ha ha. But I can share you the secret when we see you tonight for dinner.
    Nice hat Pam, you are officially a hat person now 🙂

  11. LuAnn says:

    You and John and MonaLiza and Steve have left me wanting to get back to the Colorado Monument area. Those hikes look wonderful! Glad to see you are already meeting up with friends along the way.

  12. pmbweaver says:

    Love the header photo!
    I am sure Steve appreciates the shout out….lol Your photos are absolutely gorgeous! When they say hike along the rim, they mean it literally! Wowsie. Love the scenery along the hikes. Sorry the weather wasn’t better.

  13. geogypsy2u says:

    Sure glad you got some between the rain days to get out and hike. More wonderful country to add to my every growing, and currently not shrinking, list.

  14. Thank you so much for sharing fantastic photos and wonderful experience with us keep posting.

  15. Nancy says:

    Great hikes! We were just in. Colorado and did the Durango to Silverton Train! Beautiful country!

    I have a. Omit strip named after me! Lol!

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