OverviewRough Canyon is a smaller sub-canyon of the Bangs Canyon area. Of the two major trails accessible from the Bangs Canyon Trailhead (the other being the Mica Mine Trail) Rough Canyon is more challenging. With some class 2+ terrain, mild exposure, and a short section that demands class 3 skills, Rough Canyon is probably not as good of a route for a casual hiker as the Mica Mine.
Getting ThereRough Canyon is accessed of the Bangs Canyon Trailhead. To get there, 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.
From this trailhead follow a gully down into the canyon. At the bottom you will encounter a sign that points you either right to the Mica Mine, or left to Rough Canyon. If Rough Canyon is your destination, then turn (you guessed it) left.
Rough Canyon Trail (class 2+)
From the trailhead hike/scamper down the creekbed into Rough Canyon for half a mile until you get to a small, ten-foot waterfall. Circumnavigating this is the biggest challenge you will face on the trail. The usual route is to downclimb a short cliff to the left the waterfalll. A sneak route far left, up and around this whole section is available, but the short class 2+/3- scramble is not difficult. Just after this move the trail turns away from the streambed to avoid another, bigger waterfall. The section that follows is narrow with some exposure to hiker’s left (when headed downstream). After this point the canyon opens up. Another half mile or so downstream brings you to the lower waterfall. Off to your right in this area you can see the Tabeguache Tower against the right edge of the cliffs.
ClimbingRough Canyon is not a popular climbing area, but there is some potential for trad exploration on some of the walls in Rough Canyon. There are several established routes in Rough Canyon, including at least one sport route. Almost all of the climbs in Rough Canyon are on the canyon's east wall (the left side as you are hiking downstream). Several of the routes established do not have bolted anchors and it might feel as if you are doing a first descent. The Tabeguache Tower (III 5.9+ A1) also offers some desert tower multi-pitch off the Monument (for a full discussion of the trad climbing in Rough Canyon, check out Mountain Project link in the External Links section).
Some photos of climbing routes in Rough Canyon