Unspoken Rules of Hiking in the Grand Valley
You don't know what fun is until you get out and enjoy Western Colorado's awesome trails. There's no need to become an extreme athlete in order to enjoy the area's great outdoors. There are a few tips, however, which will make a visit to the valley's trails more enjoyable for everyone.
As you can see in the photo above, the network of trails around Grand Junction has fallen victim to people who've altered the trails or created new paths in order to circumvent challenging areas. There is no need for this. The system of trails available to hikers, dog walkers, cyclists, and horseback riders is ample enough to provide paths suited to anyone's abilities.
If you're looking for a steep climb (or descent), set a course for Widowmaker Hill just off the Tabeguache Trail. Would you prefer something simpler, slower, and with a little more "eye candy"? Make plans to hike Eagle Wing.
When visiting these trails, you'll see examples of people altering the path or creating new ones to avoid difficult portions of the trail. This is ultimately self-defeating. One purpose of these hikes is to get back to nature and enjoy the undisturbed landscape.
The website Hikingdude offers a handful of suggestions regarding trail etiquette:
- Stay on the trail. Do not cut switchbacks or take shortcuts
- Stay to the right
- Pass on the left
- Whenever you stop for a view or rest, move off the trails so it is free for others.
- Hikers going uphill should have the right-of-way.
- When passing someone riding horseback, get off the trail on the downhill side (horses tend to bolt uphill). Quietly greet the rider. Stand quietly while the horse passes.
- Read trailhead guidelines - they speak volumes.
- If you pack it in, pack it out. Don't litter.
- Report vandalism. You will often find contact information on the signs at the trailhead.
Please take care of our incredible trails across Western Colorado. I've been mountain biking for years, but would still never consider riding down Widowmaker Hill. It's too difficult. I can barely walk the thing. Choose the right trail for your next adventure. Please pack out what you pack in. With a little TLC and respect, our trails will be around for generations.