Tabeguache Trail

The place where snow melts first, the Tabeguache Trail runs for 142m from Montrose to Grand Junction in western Colorado. Traversing along isolated and remote mountain roads and trails on the 10,000ft Uncompahgre Plateau, the route weaves through mazes of canyons and mesas including Big Dominguez Canyon, eventually ending in the mountain bike famous Lunch Loop Trails near the Colorado National Monument. This diverse route, normally used by mountain bikes and 4x4 vehicles, goes from alpine environs with aspen and firs sprouting up high to pinyon and juniper forests in lower elevations. Views abound of the Colorado plateau and the massive San Juan range, the West Elks and the La Sal ranges, Grand Mesa and the Book Cliffs surrounding Grand Junction. 

The Tabeguache Trail combined with the Kokopelli and Paradox Trails form the Grand Loop, a grueling 360 backcountry mountain bike route. However, any one of these trails are a perfect Fall mini-thru hike. I particularly enjoy these as Fall hikes due to the cool temperatures, the lack of crowds, somewhat easy navigating, and having the ability to 'lengthen the stride' and hammer it out. Water is more plentiful on the Tabeguache as compared to the Kokopelli and temperatures are downright frigid on the Uncompahgre Plateau. So, dress accordingly, bring a headlamp, and enjoy the magnificent vistas and isolation of this trail. If a summer of thru-hiking needs some reflection then this trail affords the lonesomeness and views to sate the reflecting heart and mind.

Some useful information on the Tabeguache Trail, which is well-marked, please visit the BLM and COPMOBA sites. Below are pics from my November 2015 hike.

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