OverviewBangs Canyon is a popular recreation destination just south of Grand Junction, Co and just east of the Colorado National Monument. It is a BLM Recreation Area. Though this area is not part of the Colorado National Monument, it is still home to many spectacular opportunities to explore this area’s unique, desert-sandstone country. The fact that it is not part of the Colorado National Monument, ultimately, makes this area more appealing, as the routes, canyons, and climbs within Bangs Canyon have drawn far less attention and traffic over the years. There is much to offer back here in the way of first ascents and forgotten corners.
Getting ThereBangs Canyon Trailhead: Follow Grand Avenue in downtown Grand Junction west until it turns into Broadway and crosses the Colorado River. Just after the river crossing turn left on Monument Road (note: the traffic light says "Power Rd"). Follow Monument road for .2 miles. Turn left on D Road. Follow this road as it courses through a few houses for 1.2 miles until you come to Little Park Road. Turn right on Little Park. Now follow Little Park for 5.5 miles as it winds its way through sandstone canyons and platforms. Turn left at the Bangs Canyon Trailhead.
Ribbon Trailhead: Another trail of interest in the Bangs Canyon Area is the Ribbon Trail. Although more famous for its mountain biking, the Ribbon Trail does offer some access to good canyoneering and scrambling/climbing opportunities. Continue up Little Park past the Bangs Canyon TH for another 1.5 miles. This inconspicuous trailhead is on the right side of the road.
Lower Ribbon Trailhead: This unmarked access point is on the right (west) side of Little Park Rd. 2.7 miles before the Bangs Canyon turn. This access point connects nicely with the bottom of the Ribbon Trail and provides good access to canyoneering, climbing, and scrambling in the Echo Canyon and surrounding areas.
HikingYes, there is plenty for the casual day-hiker as well. Many of these trails are good for even the least ambitious hikers. The Mica Mine and Rough Canyon trails are both accessible to hiking. The Tabeguache Trail, popular mostly for bikers but with hikers as well, & the Ribbon Trail, which provides access to some of the quietest parts of the Bangs Canyon BLM Resource Area, are both part of this area too.
Technical ClimbingThe climbing in the Bangs Canyon area is, for the most part, a bit raw. Most the the established climbs see very little use. Expect a lack of established anchors, a lot of frustration, and plenty of choss. If you are wiling to put up with some of these obstacles, however, there really is some potential for some new and high quality lines.
The most established climbing in this area is the Bangs Canyon sport wall, which is accessed from the Mica Mine trail. Numerous sport lines have been established just past the mine itself, rating from 5.10b up to 5.13c.
Although Rough Canyon is particularly chossy, it does have some interesting trad opportunities including several established routes on the Rough Wall as well as the 3-pitch, 350-foot Tabeguache Tower (5.9+ A1 II).
Scrambling/BoulderingThere are many excellent places to scramble/scamper in the Bangs Canyon area. A long-running passion of ours has been to find new places we can explore back here without ropes. Rough Canyon and the Micah Mine trails have compelling scramble options. The Ribbon Trail and Echo Canyon also provide access to class 3 and 4 scrambling.
The Lunch Loop trail accesses a very large field of boulders, some of which have established boulder problems on them from VB and VO to V10. There are also many, many boulders available to those with an adventurous spirit that might have never been climbed. Build your own adventure.
Though the Lower Tabeguache Trail isn't really in the Bangs Canyon area, it is close enough to mention that the popular Dynamite Shacks and Bullet Hole Rock areas on the northwest side of the road are easily accessed from this trailhead.
Red TapeThe Bangs Canyon area is an official BLM Recreation Area and the BLM has some special restrictions for the area. To find out more please check with the BLM:
BLM Grand Junction Field Office
2815 H Road
Grand Junction, CO 81506
External LinksMountainproject.com page on the climbing at Bangs Canyon
Mountainproject.com page on the climbing at Rough Canyon
Bouldering in the area