PLEASE ONLY RESPOND IF YOU ARE ATTENDING. All information and photos for this hike are the courtesy of gjhikes.com. The map of the Colorado National Monument is courtesy of the National Park Service.
The Black Ridge trail is located on the Colorado National Monument just west of Grand Junction, Colorado. The trail stretches from the Visitor Center, south, to a point just beyond Black Ridge which is the high hill seen that is covered with communication towers. This trail, like several others on the monument, has two trailheads. One trailhead is across Rimrock Drive from the Visitor Center; the trailhead on the opposite end (5.6 miles away) is across the same road as the Upper Liberty Cap trailhead.
As we begin out hike the elevation starts at 5791 ft. and quickly increases. The first two tenths of a mile of the trail is up a gravel road. It takes no time at all to gain the first 100 feet of elevation. The views from this point are already making the hike worth the effort.
We will continue hiking as the trail traverses above the Alcove Natural trail. The elevation begins rapidly increasing as we will make our way up a series of switchbacks until we reach the boundary fence between the NPS and BLM.
The next half mile of trail bends around the upper reaches of a canyon and then begins climbing again along the side of a hill through a stretch of gray and purple mudstone. The top of this ridge puts us at about 1.2 miles from the Colorado National Monument Visitor Center. Continuing for another half mile or so and the trail will begin paralleling a line of power poles.
At the two mile mark we will come to a rock bridge - which is a rocky ridge about 10 feet wide separating two canyons. The views here (in either direction) are breathtaking.
After hiking for another mile once again we will come to a boundary fence that will take us back on NPS property. There should be a nice step ladder on the north side of the gate that is easy to manage.
From here the trail bends around the east side of Black Ridge. Another half mile of hiking and the trail reaches the junction of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) trail. It is only two miles to the end of the trail from here. Continuing for another half-mile will bring us to the highest point of the trail at around 6740 ft. - that is almost 1000 ft higher than where we began. This also may be considered the crux of the trail. From here the trail descends towards the second trailhead which is at an elevation of 6530 feet. There are several sections of climbing along the way as the trail moves up and down various ridges. The Organ Pipes in Wedding Canyon will come into view as we reach the last leg of the trail.
What To Bring: sturdy hiking shoes/boots, hiking poles, plenty of water, light lunch/snack, sunscreen
Donna King (973)[masked]