I love camping and backpacking whenever I can and fortunately there are some short, scenic day hikes close by for weekends when I just can’t get away. One area filled with trails and views is the Devil’s Canyon area. This area, along with nearby Flume and Pollock Canyons, is part of the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area and is maintained by the BLM. Along with being well-signed, these trails are strictly for hikers and horseback riders. People often bring their dogs out for long romps in the desert here as well.
A few weeks ago, in preparation for an upcoming backpacking trip, I set out to do the six mile Devil’s Canyon main loop. On the map below (taken from blm.gov) my route was basically the D3 trail, although I did take D1 to D4 to D3 to start my hike. I like this route because it travels through a few different ecosystems – from higher desert terrain to the moist, sandy wash below – and it takes you out to a great overlook by an old miner’s cabin.
There is a section of steep rocky terrain as well – great for testing your new trekking poles or the grip on your boots! This is a perfect distance, for me anyway, to test out a new backpack or just prepare my legs for the longer hikes involved with backpacking.
Views from the D3 Devil’s Canyon trail
Map of the Devil’s and Kodel canyon areas
Old cave, bricked in by the BLM along the route
Approaching the miner’s cabin around mile 3
Any number of loops and out-and-backs can be made out here at the Devil’s Canyon trailhead. To get here, take I-70 to the Fruita exit and turn left. Cross the river then turn right on King’s View Court. Bear left when it turns to gravel. Shortly after this you’ll see a sheltered pavilion and pit toilet and a sign for “Devil’s Canyon” on your left. Park here and start your hike. Get out and explore!