#52HikeChallenge Roundup: spring hiking in Rifle, Colorado

Where has this month gone? Much of March has been spent at work, pouring over academic library journals for homework, and my personal favorite, sleeping. We managed to sneak quite a few hikes in here and there as Spring temperatures have started peeking through. Early spring hiking in Rifle, Colorado is proving to be quite ideal: not too muddy, moderate temperatures, and no one else wandering around.


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Hubbard Mesa

Hubbard Mesa is a large swath of BLM land located just outside the city limits of Rifle, making it the perfect spot for quick after work, weeknight exploration. From the BLM: “The Hubbard Mesa OHV Open area is designed for multiple use recreation. Hubbard Mesa was designated as an Open Area in June 2007 in the Roan Plateau Management Plan. It is the only designated open area in the Colorado River Valley Field Office and offers 2,460 acres with 50 miles of single track, ATV, and jeep trails.”
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It’s an incredibly unique area that, unfortunately, many people choose to turn into a dumping ground for appliances, trash, and other unwanted items that have been shot to bits. It’s a popular area and on the weekends, it can get busy (and loud) with ATVers, Jeeps, and dirt bikers. Yet, there’s such potential for hikers and mountain bikers interested in really getting off the beaten path. My dear husband is a geek for maps, especially the topo kind, so his efforts pouring over them have paid off in the way of finding unique, slightly bliss-inducing areas that are unexpected. Who knew we had hoodoos?

Researching interesting areas to explore takes some time and motivation to look through the BLM’s website and their multitudes of documents. A good place to start is your local BLM office’s website (for us, this is the Colorado River Valley Field Office). From there, get a cup of coffee and hunker down; BLM websites are notoriously hard to navigate and finding what you want will take some time. Fair warning: the documents and maps are strangely worded (oh, Colorado River Valley Field Office Approved Resource Management Plan Appendix A? Of course that’s what I was looking for…) Hubbard Mesa, like many other BLM areas, provide some pretty amazing areas to explore with a little bit of research.
We’re so looking forward to more spring hiking in Rifle–as long as the temperatures warm up soon!