The Crag Crest Trail is located in Grand Mesa National Forest, one hour from Grand Junction, CO. It is a popular area in the summer for hiking, fishing, and camping; in the winter, for snowmobiling and cross country skiing. The Crag Crest trail is well known for its 2 mile long "crest" or ridge that provides great views of Colorado's Highest Mesa, hence the name, "grand mesa". There is nothing technical about this hike, and even older kids and dogs can do this trail. On the weekend we chose to come here, there were fires all in the West, so we didn't have great views. However, on a clear day you can see all the way to the San Juan Mountains, the LaSal Mountains in Utah, and more! The best time of year to hike this is typically late June through September when the snow is gone and the trails are dry.
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is located near Crawford, Colorado for the North Rim, and near Montrose, Colorado for the South Rim. To drive from the South to North rim in one day is about a 2-3 hour drive. It's best to pick one that you are more interested in seeing, so you have more time to explore that one area and fit in a hike. We chose the North Rim because it has the longest trail along the rim - the North Vista Trail. This trail follows the mesa as you get to peer down into the canyon, and also leads to Green Mountain (8,563 ft).
Handies Peak (14, 048 ft) is located near Silverton, Colorado and just happened to be my first "14er" I've summited! If you aren't familiar with that term, it just means you've hiked a peak that is over 14,000 ft in elevation. There are 96 "14ers" in the US, and Colorado has the most at 57! One down, 56 to go!
Ice Lakes Basin is located near Silverton, CO, a mecca of hiking, backpacking, and camping! Ice Lakes Basin sits at an elevation of 12,500 ft, and the trail begins at 9,900 ft. Because of this, some people get elevation sickness or have a hard time breathing on this hike, especially since it's somewhat steep the entire way. This popular hike offers several lakes, stream crossing, peak viewing, and gorgeous overlooks that can't be beat.