Coal Gulch

Fruita, Colorado (Mesa County)

Last Updated: 05/01/2021
4 / 5 ( 1 reviews )
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Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 15.78 miles
Highest Elevation: 7206 feet
Duration: About 2 hours
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Fruita
Nearest Town w/ Services: Fruita
Official Road Name: CR V.8
Management Agency: Bureau of Land Management
District: Grand Junction Field Office


Highlight: Coal Gulch
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.


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1. Coal Gulch Start (0 mi)
The trail begins just off of 16 Road. Take a right and head east over the bridge. If you have not aired down yet, there is a small pullout just before the turn that can accommodate 3-5 vehicles.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Fruita, Colorado

Head west on US Hwy 6 to 16 Road - turn right/north on 16 Road for approximately 11.5 miles. The road transitions from paved to dirt, and after dropping down a long hill, the road forks with a bridge on the right. This is the start of the trail. Go right through a small neighborhood to the Coal Canyon entrance. From the first fork, in about 6.3 miles you will come to another fork. Left is fairly difficult while the right fork will take you up a long, steep climb. The left fork has some side roads that dead-end at some nice views. The right fork also has some side road that dead-end at well sites.



Trail Reviews (4)

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Writer Information

Ryan Boudreau

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Hi, I'm Ryan! I am a Colorado native and I've been wheeling since I was 16 years old. I grew up with a relentless passion for all things Jeep and off road related, and that passion has never died out. I am a member of the Mile-Hi Jeep Club, Patrol 16 Sasquatch Jeepers and currently own an '06 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited (LJ) nicknamed "Minion". I am a huge supporter of Stay the Trail and Tread Lightly, and have participated and even been in charge of many trail restoration projects. I have been a trail leader several times for events such as All-4-Fun, ColoradoFest, Set Them Free, 14er Fest, and other. I am also the creator of the Unlimited LJ Adventure. My rig is built for extreme offroading, but I love to get my tires dirty on any kind of trail whether it's rock crawling or just scenic high Alpine drives. I've wheeled all over the country including Colorado, Utah, Kansas, the Carolinas, AZ, and California. I love a great adventure, and love even more to share those adventures with others. If you see the "minion" out on the trail, make sure to stop and say hello.
For individual use only, not to be shared.