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Bench Trail
Route

Bench Trail

 
Bench Trail

Page Type: Route

Location: Colorado, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 39.09083°N / 108.69011°W

Object Title: Bench Trail

GPX File: Download GPX » View Route on Map

Route Type: Hiking

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Time Required: Half a day

Difficulty: Hike

Route Quality: 
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Page By: nader

Created/Edited: May 21, 2016 / Oct 27, 2017

Object ID: 972520

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Page Score: 80.49%  - 12 Votes 

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Overview

This is an unmaintained trail that does not appear on the official park map. It connects White Rocks Trailhead on South Broadway Street to a spot on Liberty Cap Trail about a mile from its lower trailhead. Except for where it connects with Liberty Cap Trail, I found the rest of the trail well defined.

“The Bench” refers to a shelf halfway up the walls of Colorado National Monument. It sits at an elevation of 5200-5300 ft, roughly 500 ft above the nearby suburbs of the city of Grand Junction and 600 ft below the top of the walls.

Bench Trail can be done by itself as an 11.8 mile roundtrip hike or combined with Liberty Cap or Ute Canyon Trails to create one way day hikes from the top of the cliffs down to the suburbs of Grand Junction.



Black line shows the approximate location of Gold Star Canyon Shortcut.

Getting There

From the junction of Broadway and South Broadway in western Grand Junction, drive south on South Broadway, go around the 45 degree turn and find the White Rocks Trailhead on the right (southwestern) side of the road (0.75 miles from Broadway).

Route Description

Place
Elevation
Distance
Junction with Liberty Cap Trail
5500 ft
zero miles
White Rocks Trailhead
4800 ft
5.90 miles






This is a description of Bench Trail from its junction with Liberty Cap Trail to White Rocks Trailhead. The junction is hard to see. I found no trace of a trail for the first 100 ft or so. Use GPS or find it a short distance uphill from the junction of Liberty Cap Trail with Corkscrew/Ute Canyon trails. Once I went in the right direction, the trail appeared and remained well defined for the rest of the way.

The trail remains on a bench below red/orange walls.

On Bench Trail
 
On bench Trail
 
On Bench Trail
 
On Bench Trail
 


Suburbs of the city of Grand Junction and the mountains to the north of it (book cliffs) can be seen below.

Grand Junction and the mountains to the north of it
Grand Junction


The trail will then go around the first of three canyons that cut into The Bench. While the rocks above The Bench are red/orange, the ones below appear black. The color transition supposedly marks the geologic boundary between the lower Precambrian and upper Chinle Formation zones.

First side canyon
 


Some of the subdivisions appear so close.

City so close
 


Continuing on the trail.

On Bench Trail
 
On Bench Trail
 


The second canyon is pretty broad.

Second Canyon
 


More impressive walls.

On Bench Trail
 
On Bench Trail
 
On bench Trail
 
On Bench Trail
 


You continue to get views of Grand Junction and Grand Mesa.

Grand Junction and the mountains to the north of it
Grand Junction
Grand Mesa & Grand Junction
Grand Mesa


The third side canyon is Gold Star Canyon.

Gold Star Canyon Area
Gold Star Canyon


The trail drops into a wash at the bottom of the canyon and goes a short distance to reach the junction with another wash on the left. It then follows this wash uphill and finally exits it. Look for cairns to find the path.

Gold Star Canyon
 
Gold Star Canyon
 


I then saw an unsigned trail branching on the right. Later I realized that was a short cut down the west side of Gold Star Canyon. This description follows the left branch.

On Bench Trail
 


The trail makes a broad 180 degree turn going down a steep slope at the base of a wall.

Descending to White Rocks Trailhead
 


You will then reach flat ground where a fence separates the park from the nearby homes. Follow the trail parallel to the fence 0.6 miles to reach White Rocks Trailhead on South Broadway Road.

Near White Rocks Trailhead
Near White Rocks Trailhead


Essential Gear

Hiking equipment.

Images

Descending to White Rocks TrailheadOn Bench TrailOn Bench TrailOn Bench TrailGold Star CanyonOn Bench TrailOn Bench Trail
On bench TrailOn Bench TrailGold Star CanyonSecond CanyonOn bench TrailGrand Mesa & Grand JunctionNear White Rocks Trailhead
[ View Gallery - 8 More Images ]