McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area

McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area 

McInnis Canyons NCA (Photo by Bob Wick)

The McInnis Canyons NCA encompasses a diverse landscape of salt brush desert and the dramatic, red rock canyons of the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness - an area that includes the second-largest concentration of natural arches in North America.

Approximately 25 miles of the Colorado River wind through this area. The NCA is located on the flank of the Uncompahgre Plateau, which rises like a giant, rolling wave over the Grand Valley in western Colorado. Rugged canyons descend to the Colorado River and contain some of the most spectacular landforms found anywhere in the country, including Rattlesnake Canyon, Dinosaur Hill, Devils Canyon, and Mee Canyon.

Internationally, important fossils have been uncovered here during more than a century of excavation. Pictograph and petroglyph sites are abundant here-the Old Spanish Trail runs through this NCA, as well.

Total Area:
122,750 acres (117,180 Colorado; 5,120 Utah)
Elevation Range: ~4,300 to ~7,130 feet
BLM Field Office: Grand Junction
Designated: 2000 (Colorado Canyons National Conservation Area ... Wilderness Act)

Location: The McInnis Canyons NCA is located in Mesa County, approximately 15 miles west of Grand Junction. The NCA extends an additional 5,120 acres into Utah. The Black Ridge Canyons makes up 75,550 acres of this NCA.

Flora & Fauna: Vegetation consists mainly of pinyon-juniper, wildflowers, Colorado hookless cactus, native grasses, cottonwood, willow, and box elder. Fauna includes desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, elk, mountain lion, river otters, golden and bald eagles, peregrine falcons and various other raptors, and the collared lizard.

Recreation: Activities include hiking, backpacking, camping, canyoneering, rock climbing, horseback riding, hunting, and photography. For more information, visit the Recreation page. Please note that though recreation is encouraged in national conservation areas, specific types of recreation may be barred from a specific area to prevent degradation of natural conditions.

Click here for additional information about the McInnis Canyons NCA.

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Grand Junction Field Office  |  (970) 244-3000  |  2815 H Rd., Grand Junction, CO 81506