The Mica Mine trail is a well-known and well-loved trail in the Bangs Canyon recreation area near Grand Junction, Colorado. Named for the old (now defunct) mine at the end of the hike, the Mica Mine trail is a great, short hike for kids and a great leg-stretcher for adults.
Adelle and I hiked this trail recently with her dogs; it was a great trail to just amble along without much hurry. The dogs played in Ladder Creek (or the pools that remain in it this time of year) and we wandered through Ladder Canyon, enjoying the views of cliffs high above us. Though it’s only 2.6 miles long (round trip), you can do quite a bit of scrambling and exploring in this canyon or, for a longer trip, take the lefthand fork to Rough Canyon from the same trail head.
In the spring, Ladder Creek can make this hike even more fun, or possibly treacherous. People wade through the creek and dogs play in it, but flash floods can occur quickly with little warning. Still, this is a very popular hiking area for families. The only “technical” or difficult portion is right near the entrance where the entrada sandstone has left some pretty large steps to scramble up and down. They’re easy enough to navigate, though.
Bangs Canyon can be reached by driving up Little Park Road for several miles. You can’t miss the sign for the parking area on the left and, from here, there is access to several hiking trails and ATV trails as well. The next time you’re in the area, be sure to check it out!