Posted by Jeff on Feb 10, 2021 @ 6:30 pm in Canyon Hikes, Colorado, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Photo Essays | 0 comments | Last change: February 10, 2021
L.The McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area is located in high desert canyon land in western Colorado and consists of approximately 123,430 acres of BLM-managed land near Fruita, Colorado. Originally known as the Colorado Canyons National Conservation Area, the NCA was established by Congress on October 24, 2000. During more than a century of excavation, fossils of international importance were discovered. Pictographs and petroglyphs abound, and the Old Spanish Trail, once referred to as “the longest, crookedest, and most arduous mule route in American history,” runs through the NCA.
25 miles of the Colorado River meander through the NCA, attracting boaters and rafters who value a relaxed swimmer through spectacular multi-colored sandstone canyons. The NCA is a recreational destination that attracts visitors to world-class mountain biking on Mack Ridge and along the 142-mile Kokopelli Trail, which extends to Moab, Utah. Its unique natural resources include the Black Ridge Canyons’ 75,000-acre wilderness area, which includes the second largest concentration of natural arches in North America.
McInnis surrounds the Colorado National Monument, leading to speculation that this entire area could one day achieve national park status. Hiking trails are abundant everywhere, with separate trailhead areas including Devils Canyon, Fruita Paleontological Area (FPA), Rustler’s Roost, and Horsethief Canyon, among others. Paula fell in love with the diversity of McInnis during her stay in Loma. I would have to agree upon my arrival. I’d been to the nearby CNM a couple of times over four decades before but somehow missed McInnis. I am so happy that she took me with her and shared her love for the canyons with me.
In the week leading up to Christmas 2020, Paula and I explored these trails several times, a nearby destination for evening exercises after work. The paleontological area of Fruita, a small square made of bentonite just minutes from Fruita, appealed to us in particular. This tiny spot between the Colorado River and the towering peaks of the McInnis Canyons preserves a diverse slice of prehistoric life from the Jurassic period that dates back 150 million years. The terrain looks beyond the world and generally leaves us in awe. A feature of the FPA is the Skinner Cabin, built in 1909.
Devils Canyon is an extremely varied section of McInnis that offers miles of hiking trails through beautiful canyons and to the river. We followed arroyos along pockmarked canyon walls and discovered red rock hoodoos that looked like the natural architecture of the earth. A lot of “miracles where this is going” happened. Keep hiking.
This gallery contains images of Devils Canyon and the FPA taken during several trips in the area. Have fun with the photos and please comment.
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