One of the main geological features of the Grand Valley is the Bookcliffs, a dirt-covered mountain range extending 200 miles, beginning where the Colorado River flows through DeBeque Canyon near Palisade, all the way to Price Canyon, which is near Helper, Utah.
The most noticeable landmark of this range is Mount Garfield, which is located in Grand Junction. This mountain is only a two-mile hike up, but the elevation change is 2,000 feet, making it a very challenging climb. The crusty dirt on the trail can be slick at times, so hiking poles are recommended, especially on the way down.
Getting to Mount Garfield
To reach the trailhead, take Interstate 70 to the Palisade exit, No. 42. At the bottom of the exit, turn right onto 37 3/10 Road, cross the canal, and take another right turn on the first paved road, G 7/10 Road. Travel until this road turns to dirt and takes a sharp right. Then travel through a narrow tunnel under I-70. The road ends on the north side of the highway at the parking lot and trailhead.
Two trails lead to the top of Mount Garfield: the two-mile Mount Garfield Trail and the 2.5-mile Gearhart Mine Trail. Both trailheads are accessed from the same parking area at the bottom of Mancos Shale hill. The Mount Garfield Trail goes up the middle of the hill on the north side of the parking area, and the Gearhart Mine Trailhead can be accessed by the east side of the parking area.
These trails are steep and challenging, and sturdy hiking shoes are recommended due to the rocky terrain and unstable footing. Despite the strenuous climb, however, hikers attest to the spectacular views at the top, making the trek well worth the effort.