McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
This evening Diane and I headed over to the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area near Rabbit Valley so we could spend the evening hiking a short section of the Kokopelli Trail. Although I have driven, hiked and even biked much of the Kokopelli Trail over the years, there are still a few sections of singletrack that I have missed. Today I thought it would be fun to hike one of those sections which descends down to Salt Creek from near the end of the Sidewinder Road on the west side. The trail then crosses a bridge over Salt Creek and connects up to the Troy Built Trail on the other side of the canyon.
As we were driving through the Grand Valley near Mack, we could see that there were scattered rain showers all around us, and it looked like it was definitely raining right in the area we were heading. The rain had stopped by the time we reached our trailhead, but as we started hiking down the trail our shoes were picking up mud and getting weighed down pretty good. Thankfully, the trail got a little less muddy as we started the descent off the mesa towards Salt Creek.
This was the starting point for our hike near the end of the Sidewinder Road.
We followed the Kokopelli Trail to the edge of the mesa with rain off in the distance.
Beginning our descent with the Colorado River coming in to view.
This was our first view into Salt Creek as we rounded the corner.
Diane hikes ahead of me into the bottom of the canyon.
Eventually the trail reaches a bend in Salt Creek and then starts to cross to the other side.
We followed the trail along the creek under the railroad bridge.
Then we crossed the bridge on the trail over Salt Creek.
A view over the creek from on the bridge.
Diane waited near the bridge while I climbed up to the junction with the Troy Built Trail.
After I returned to the bridge we started hiking back the way we had come. The sun came out a little more during our hike back which made for some beautiful conditions.
Diane climbs a rocky section of the trail ahead of me.
As we climbed back up the switchbacks toward the top of the mesa the sun broke free of the clouds and cast a beautiful golden light across the landscape.
There was a grand view over the mouth of Salt Creek into the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness on the other side of the Colorado River.
Can you see Diane on the trail? The good news is that the mud was completely dried up for our hike back up, which was nice.
One last view over Horsethief Canyon with nice clouds in the sky above.
We enjoyed watching a great sunset as we returned to my Jeep and then started the drive back home.
The total round trip distance of this hike was about 5 miles and we didn’t see another person on the trail. It turned out to be a beautful evening to hike this short section of the Kokopelli Trail and a great way to spend a couple of hours after work!