Coal Gulch

4.5/5 (6 reviews)
Fruita, Colorado (Mesa County)
Last Updated: 05/01/2021

Trail Information


Coal Gulch is a picturesque drive down a scenic canyon through the Book Cliffs north of Grand Junction, Colorado. Several side canyons offer wonderful hiking and mountain bike trails along the way. Natural Gas wells and pumping stations are scattered throughout your drive as you make your way up out of the canyon, across Ross Ridge, and ending with spectacular views of the Grand Valley. This trail is ideal for any 4wd vehicle in dry conditions but can become extremely treacherous and impassible when wet.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

4.5/5 (6)
Rated 5/5
Visited: 06/07/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder

First off, this was a fun trail. The views through the gulch are great, and as you near the top, it opens up to beautiful, wildflower filled meadows. As you get to the end of the trail, the views of the valley stretch on for miles and miles. Absolutely breathtaking. The first 10 miles or so are easy, just a dirt road with some rough spots. Then the last 2 miles or so get a little trickier, but manageable. We actually bailed at the last 1/4 mile, there's a rocky, descending shelf section that's pretty steep, and we just weren't comfortable with our Jeep Commander with a 2.5" lift and 31" tires. We'll come back to finish it when we get 33"s and a little more experience. Oh, and the top camping spot is as good as it gets, stunning views and meadows of wildflowers... BUT there is a grave with a headstone at it... so we opted for one of the lower campsite in the canyons.
Visited: 06/01/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Ran this in a 2020 Ram Power Wagon. No issues, well marked, really a 2 wheel drive service road trail except for a few short section in the last mile. Great views, nice day trip.
Official Crew
Visited: 05/01/2021

Coal Gulch is now officially reopened entirely. There is still a few small fire related closures nearby, but it does not affect this trail any longer.
Official Crew
Partially Open
Visited: 09/29/2020

As of today, 9/29/20, Coal Gulch is only open to the fire edge, which is right around waypoint 9. The current closure will likely remain in effect through winter, with the exception of a possible opening of the entire Coal Gulch area. The local BLM office will update their pages when updates occur. Closure Map: Info:
Official Crew
Temporary Closure
Visited: 08/16/2020

Trail is currently closed due to the Pine Gulch Fire

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