TABEGUACHE TRAIL

Tabeguache Trail

Dry Creek (Shavano Valley to Transfer Road)

Transfer Road (Cushman Mesa to Powerlines)

Pool Creek (Transfer Road to E. Bull Road)

Roubideau Trail (Divide Road to 25 Mesa)

Cottonwood Road (25 Mesa to Divide Road)

Central Divide Road (Love Mesa to Dominguez Trail)

Dominguez Trail (Plateau Crest to Dominguez Campground)

Cactus Park (Dominguez Campground to Hwy 141)

Grand Valley (Hwy 141 to Monument Road)

The Tabeguache (pronounced TAB-a-watch) Trail crosses public land for 142 miles, connecting Montrose and Grand Junction, Colorado.  The trail begins in Shavano Valley and weaves through the canyons, mesas, and highlands of the Uncompahgre Plateau before ending in No Thoroughfare Canyon, a few miles west of Grand Junction.  The trail is marked by brown fiberglass posts approximately every mile, and at all intersections.

Most of the trail is on remote lands administered by the U.S. Forest Service and BLM.  The adventurous nature of this trail requires users to be cautious, personally responsible, and self-sufficient and have a working knowledge of backcountry survival.  The use of topographic maps, a compass and/or GPS unit is strongly recommended.  Carry plenty of drinking water as it is not readily available along the trail.

When wet, all unpaved roads and trail segments may be impassable to both mountain bikes and vehicles.  To reduce damage to the resource, you are encouraged to avoid the area when wet conditions exist.  It is difficult, but not impossible, for high-clearance 4-wheel drive vehicles to travel all but single-track sections of the trail.  Users are urged to respect all property rights by closing gates, being watchful for livestock, and camping only in approved camping areas.

Users should also be aware that the Uncompahgre Plateau is a nationally renowned hunting area, and during the hunting season, it is highly recommended that you wear orange hats and jackets.  Check state hunting dates with the Colorado Division of Wildlife before beginning your trip.

For more information on the Tabeguache Trail, please contact the BLM Uncompahgre and Grand Junction field offices, or the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association (COPMOBA), which has produced a brochure for the entire trail.  Map


TABEGUACHE TRAIL LOG - MONTROSE TO GRAND JUNCTION 

 Dry Creek Section - Shavano Valley to Transfer Road

  • Distance:  13.5 miles
  • Rating:  Moderately Difficult

To get to the Shavano Valley Trailhead, drive 6.0 miles west of Montrose on Spring Creek Road. Turn right at 58.75 Road and continue for 2+ miles to Kiowa Road.  Turn left and cross the valley to Shavano Valley Road.  The Tabeguache Trail begins as a jeep road near the north end of the Shavano Valley Road.

Initially the trail follows the Dry Creek Rim road as it steadily climbs for 3.0 miles.  Turn right, go through a gate, then ride down into Dry Creek Canyon.  At mile 4.1, bear left to cross a small arroyo then bear left again to access the Dry Creek bridge. After crossing the bridge turn left on the two track and start to climb.  At mile 5.3, take the right fork and follow a two track into a narrowing canyon.  At mile 7.0, the two track gets steep and rocky.  A single-track sector soon leaves the 4WD road and ascends to the rim of Cushman Mesa through a gap in the canyon rim.  The single track continues west and merges with a two track at mile 7.4.  At mile 8.0, turn left and begin a gentle ascent up Cushman Mesa.  At mile 9.0, bear right.  Be sure to close the gate at mile 9.2.  The trail passes through a long meadow dotted with pine trees between miles 10 & 11.  At mile 11.0, pass through a gate and bear right.

Between miles 8.0 and 11.0, notice the gradual change from pinyon pine, Utah juniper and serviceberry to scrub oak and ponderosa pine.  The trail winds through a stand of ponderosa pine, and bears right at several inconspicuous forks.  At mile 11.7, pass through another gate which marks the USFS/BLM common boundary.  The trail continues as a 4WD road until at mile 12.3, it deteriorates into an abandoned logging road. The road intersects a single track that drops into Cushman Creek, climbs out to the west rim, then merges with a jeep road at mile 12.6.  Turn right at the jeep road, then bear left at the next three forks.  The trail intersects Transfer Road at mile 13.5.

 Transfer Road Section - Cushman Mesa to Powerlines

  • Distance:  7.2 miles
  • Rating:  Moderate

Rock ArtThis section begins as the trail merges with Transfer Road.  At mile 14.5, views of the wild and rugged Roubideau Canyon dominate the trail-side scenery.  Scenic vistas of Grand Mesa, West Elk Mountains and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison are evident to the north and northeast as the rider ascends on the Transfer Road.  At mile 20.7, turn right onto a jeep road that parallels the powerlines.

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 Pool Creek Section - Transfer Road to E. Bull Road

  • Distance:  7.2 miles
  • Rating:  Moderately Difficult

Continue on jeep road until mile 21.5, then turn right onto a single track.  Continue on mostly rolling single track (with one big drainage) through aspen groves, dark timber and meadows.  At mile 27.9, intersect E. Bull Road and turn right.  This section connects several abandoned logging routes.

 Roubideau Trail Section - Divide Road to 25 Mesa

  • Distance:  21.3 miles
  • Rating:  Very Difficult

This trail section is one of the most challenging, negotiating 15 drainages.  Criswell, Potter, and Monitor Canyons are the deepest.  Descents are “white knuckle” affairs and ascents are steep, requiring portage.  The section begins as the rider turns right onto E. Bull Road.  Follow the dirt road and bear right until Gray’s Cow camp is reached at mile 28.7.  Roubideau Pack Trail No. 105 merges with the road at this point and the trail continues along a two-track.

The trail quickly climbs, then descends steadily until at mile 31.1 the Roubideau Trail and Coalbank Trail intersection is reached.  The next 13 miles are rugged and intersected by a maze of 4WD roads, so keep your topo map handy.  The trail turns left and crosses East Bull Creek at mile 32.5.  At mile 33.3, the two-track merges with a logging road.  Bear left, then cross Beach Creek at mile 33.5.  Continue to follow the logging road to Long Creek at mile 34.3.  The trail takes a hard, steep right turn just across Long Creek.  The Payne Mesa Road intersection is at mile 35.3.  Continue straight ahead.  One of the highlights of this section is its variety of vegetation and wildlife.  Aspen, spruce, fir, ponderosa pine, scrub oak, sagebrush, and several riparian species are well represented along the trail.  Deer, elk, bear, mountain lion, wild turkey, and blue grouse have all been seen along the trail.

On Traver Mesa, the trail intersects Traver Trail at mile 36.9.  It bears right, then left to the rim of Criswell Canyon at mile 39.4.  The trail along Criswell Canyon is a single track.  Once on the west rim of Criswell Canyon, the trail bears left and immediately turns right, and continues straight through an intersection to 7N Mesa at mile 40.7.  The trail continues across 7N Mesa and onto the east rim of Potter Canyon at mile 41.4.  Cross Potter Canyon to Monitor Mesa at mile 44.2.  Negotiate Monitor Creek and gain the east rim of 25 Mesa at mile 45.2.  Continue another 0.3 miles and turn left onto a single track that circumvents private land.  At mile 45.7, go over a fence crossing and ride to the Delta-Nucla Road at mile 47.7.  Turn right at the Delta-Nucla Road and continue to its intersection with Cottonwood Road at mile 49.

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 Cottonwood Road Section - 25 Mesa to Divide Road

  • Distance:  18.8 miles
  • Rating:  Moderate

This section begins at the junction of the Delta-Nucla Road and Cottonwood Road.  Between 25 Mesa and Cabin Bench, the trail follows a maintained gravel road.  Pedal across 25 Mesa and then in and out of upper Cottonwood Creek.  The Sawmill Mesa Road intersection is at mile 51.3.  At mile 52.5, bear right and ride across Iron Spring Mesa.  At mile 54, you will encounter a three-way intersection.  The right fork accesses Sawmill Mesa Road to Delta, CO.  Take the left fork along Cabin Bench and cross the East Fork of Escalante Creek at mile 56.9.  In another 0.5 miles, the west rim of East Fork is reached.  Stop for a moment to enjoy the spectacular scenery.

BluebirdAt mile 57.6, turn left and begin a steady climb up Love Mesa.  Numerous side roads split from the main jeep road, but the trail is well marked.  At mile 63.5, the trail continues right and climbs through conifer forests and aspen groves.  The trail tops out on the crest of the plateau at mile 66.5.  Panoramic views to the south begin at this point.  As the road descends, it contours around the shoulder of some red sandstone cliffs, and then intersects with Divide Road at mile 67.  Lone Cone is the main feature of the scenery from the crest.

 Central Divide Road Section - Love Mesa to Dominguez Trail

  • Distance: 14.7 miles
  • Rating:  Easy

Divide Road is the main access road along the crest of the Uncompahgre Plateau and is not easily mistaken.  The road rises and falls through meadows and groves of aspen.  The LaSal Mountains are the dominant feature to the west of road throughout this section.  The trail passes Monument Hill at mile 71.  At this point, Lone Cone becomes the prominent feature to the southeast.  The Campbell Point road turns to the left at mile 74.6.  The San Juan Mountains and the Sneffels Range come into view briefly to the southeast.  The road goes around the shoulder of Uncompahgre Butte at mile 76.3.  Mesa Creek Road turns left at mile 79.3.  About 1.5 miles past the Mesa Creek Road turnoff, the Dominquez Trail intersects Divide Road.

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 Dominguez Trail Section - Plateau Crest to Dominguez Campground

  • Distance:  13.8 miles
  • Rating:  Difficult

From Divide Road, the trail descends for 3.8 miles and then parallels Dominguez Creek.  The trail crosses the creek at mile 84.8.  For 2.2 miles, the trail winds across rolling meadows covered with sage and wildflowers.  The trail goes steadily uphill until the top of the ridge is reached and the LaSal Mountains come into view to the southwest.  Bear left at the two intersections at miles 87 and 88.  There is a good view of the Bookcliffs above Grand Junction at mile 88.6.  At the top of this ridge at mile 91, the Winter Camp Road branches off to the right from this point, but the rider should bear left in this whole section.  The trail is downhill for much of this stretch, leveling off briefly for a view of Dominguez Canyon just prior to a steep descent to the campground along Dominguez Creek at mile 94.5.

 Cactus Park Section - Dominguez Campground to Hwy 141

  • Distance:  25.2 miles
  • Rating:  Moderate

At mile 94.5, the trail crosses Dominguez Creek and begins a steep climb up through the red sandstones forming the canyon walls.  After reaching the canyon rim, the road climbs slightly and turns right at 96.4 miles.  The trail then follows a dirt road through a young pinyon forest. The trail takes a left fork at mile 99 and almost immediately passes over a cattle guard.  The road gradually bends east to parallel a ridge and reaches another fork at mile 99.7.  Take the right fork towards some low hills.  The trail climbs into a saddle in the hills and then takes a left fork at mile 101.5.  It climbs up the hillside to overlooks of the Grand Mesa and Grand Valley.  The road begins to descend at 103.9 miles into a broad drainage called Cactus Park.

After reaching Cactus Park, another road enters from the left at 105.6 miles.  Stay right at this and the next junction.  The road reaches the trailhead of the Dominquez Canyon Trail at mile 106.4.  Take the left fork and continue through Cactus Park.  The road crosses a cattle guard and fence line at mile 108.7, then turns right and heads up into some low hills, where it gradually becomes a very rough 4WD road.  It reaches the rim, then begins to descend at 109.6 miles.  The road bends left and follows the rim until it reaches the rim of East Creek at mile 112.2.  Turn right as the road joins a well maintained gravel road and go to the microwave tower at mile 133.5.  Follow the gravel road down the ridge to where it reaches a short section of pavement, then turns left and makes a short descent to intersect Highway 141.  Turn left on the highway and follow it to mile 199.8, where a single-track begins on the west side of the highway.

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 Grand Valley Section - Hwy 141 to Monument Road

  • Distance:  22.4 miles
  • Rating:  Moderately Difficult

Rock ArtThe single track ascends the slope of East Creek and intersects a 4WD road at 120.2 miles.  The trail turns left on this road and begins a 9-mile ascent called “No Mas Hill” by the locals.  At mile 123.2, the trail passes a fenced area covered with green, corrugated steel, then continues to parallel East Creek reaching a fence and gate at mile 124.5.  The trail climbs steadily up onto the Uncompahgre Plateau following the high ground between two small drainages.

You reach the crest at mile 128.9, then begin a descent into Bangs Canyon.  A notch in the canyon wall on the right allows a nice view of Grand Mesa and Valley.  The trail reaches the bottom of the drainage at 129.6 miles and immediately begins a steep climb.  This short section of the road is very rough and is impassible for most 4WD vehicles.  The trail reaches the top at mile 129.8 and begins a more gradual descent into a small park at the head of another drainage.

The road winds along this small canyon for several miles, with red sandstone rising on the left. At mile 132.7, you pass a spring and galvanized stock tank on the left and begin dropping into Rough Canyon. The road begins a steep descent and reaches the bottom of Rough Canyon at mile 134.76. At this point, the trail begins a long climb along a bench formed of Kayenta sandstone. The trail reaches Little Park Road at mile 137. Turn right on the paved Little Park Road, which climbs around a large grey hill on the right and then begins a long descent into the valley below. Follow the pavement to mile 139.9 and take a 4WD road to the left. This road is closed to motorized vehicles. At mile 140.6, the road reaches the top of a descent called “Widow-maker” by locals, and continues to descend until it reaches the pavement at Monument Road at 142.1 miles.

To reach the Grand Junction trailhead, go west on Grand Avenue to Hwy 340 and turn left on Monument Road.

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