Three Grand Junction Hikes for the Evening and After-Dark Crowd
Have you ever enjoyed an evening or late-night hike in Western Colorado? You should. While not necessarily the safest thing in the world, they are good for the soul. Here are three nearby trails you might consider.
About a month ago I enjoyed a 2:30 a.m. hike on Gunny Loop just off Little Park Road. Why at 2:30 in the morning? I have issues.
For your consideration, here are three trails relatively free of any hazards, cliffs, weirdos, or any other obstacles you probably want to avoid.
Lunch Loop Trailhead
Lunch Loop is not just for lunch anymore. If you want to enjoy a special treat, take a hike on lunch loop as the sun prepares to set. This particular trail may be a little too dangerous to walk when it's pitch black out. Sunset, though... no problem.
Lunch loop offers several great trails, tons of them as a matter of fact, for walkers, cyclists, dog walkers, and horse riders. One of the consequences of a great trail system would be its tremendous popularity. People love it, and as a result, it tends to be busy.
What about in the evening hours? Now that's a different story. Again, you might want to avoid this one after dark. A recent 6 p.m. hike, however, was nothing short of perfect.
With the evening hours comes smaller crowds. The trailhead just off Monument Road is typically packed during the early hours. At roughly 6:30 p.m. the parking lot is all but empty. HEADS UP - over the years, there have been a number of vehicle break-ins at this parking lot. Don't leave valuables in your car.
Two more trails, both located on Little Park Road, come to mind when considering an evening hike: Tabeguache and Gunny Loop. The trail heads to each are located in the same general area.
You can set out from a pullout on the east side of Little Park Road and make your way to this trail. Keep in mind, there are several portions of this network. I enjoy hiking to the point where several trails converge, and then head south up Widowmaker Hill, and back to the trailhead. Please note: one dangerous element to consider is Widowmaker Hill. It can be dangerous under any conditions. I hate to admit it, but I did a face plant the last time I walked this trail in the dark. Estimated round trip = 1.5 hours.
This is an excellent trail, well maintained, and free of any hazards. The trailhead is excellent, and the path is well marked and easy to follow. Estimated round trip = 1 hour
Again, a degree of caution is warranted. There are weirdos out there. Hikers have even been known to encounter wildlife. I grew up on Little Park Road, and in my lifetime, have seen only two mountain lions in the area. In both cases, I encountered them in the daytime.
Don't let a lack of sunshine dissuade you from enjoying a great hike. It's going to be a while longer before we see the sun setting at 9 p.m. Pack a flashlight, water, and a little extra caution, and enjoy a fantastic evening hike.