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Maverick Canyon to Juanita Arch

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

This evening after work I headed out on a short hike to visit Juanita Arch in Maverick Canyon, which is located near Gateway, Colorado. This is a hike that has been on my to-do list for over ten years, and now that I’m stuck staying closer to home for the foreseeable future, I thought it was finally time to cross it off the list! After arriving at the trailhead, I scoped out the crossing of the Dolores River to figure out how I wanted to tackle it. I had brought along my packraft in case I needed it, but I saw a spot where it looked easy enough to cross on foot, so I decided to do that instead of dealing with the packraft. Although I had enough time to drive to the trailhead, hike to the arch and return to my Jeep just after sunset, I felt a little rushed on this hike and probably should have allotted more time to enjoy it. I guess that just means I’ll have to return another time in the future!

After crossing the Dolores River I changed into a dry pair of shoes and entered the mouth of Maverick Canyon while there were still a few nice clouds in the sky above.

Maverick Canyon

I started out following the wash for a little bit, but then found a better trail on the left side of the canyon which made the hiking a bit easier. If I had stayed in the wash I don’t think I would have finished the hike before dark because there would have been a lot more rock-hopping and scrambling to slow me down. Hiking on the trail above the wash was much quicker.

Maverick Canyon Wash

Approaching the confluence with Little Maverick Canyon on the right.

Canyon Confluence

The reflected light on the sandstone in the shadows was looking quite nice as I continued up the main canyon.

Maverick Canyon Scene

As I came around a sharp bend in the canyon I got my first glimpse of the massive natural bridge.

Approaching The Bridge

Here’s a view of Juanita Arch, partly in the sun and partly in the shadows. I’ll have to return another time for some better light!

Juanita Arch

I walked underneath the bridge to the other side for a different perspective.

Juanita Natural Bridge

The view from below reminded me of the bridges in Natural Bridges National Monument.

Under The Bridge

The sun was getting closer to setting as I started my hike back down the canyon. I didn’t really want to have to cross the Dolores River in the dark, but the scenery was just too nice not to stop for a couple more photos along the way.

Canyon Color

Maverick Water

Maverick Canyon Exploring


On my way out of the canyon I searched for some dinosaur tracks that are supposed to be in the area, but I was running out of light and didn’t find them this time.

Headed Back

Once I was back across the Dolores River I took this one last shot over the river at dusk. It had been a nice way to spend a couple hours after work.

Dolores River at Dusk

>> Juanita Arch Photo Gallery


  1. Beth
    Beth May 5, 2020

    Hello! Thanks for sharing this hike! how long was it once you crossed the Dolores? google earth shows approx 3 miles one way

    • Randy Langstraat
      Randy Langstraat May 6, 2020

      I don’t recall the exact mileage, but I don’t think it was more than 2.5 miles each way.

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