Colorado Canyon Country – Little Bookcliffs WSA

Edit 2017: I made this post even vaguer than before.  Please don’t use my reports as a trip guide. It is a balance between making an area known but not so connect-the-dots that it is overrun. Please,  see my Bread Crumbs article for more details.

After a particularly hectic April, I really wanted an overnight trip.

A chance to sleep under the stars, relax in the quiet of nature and to get back to what I love: The simple act of walking.

Desiring something new, I found a spot in my atlas : The Little Bookcliffs WSA.

The highlights of this area are four distinct canyons, desert wildflowers in full bloom and wild horses.

After dropping off someone at the airport for 5 AM (!), I made the drive towards the Utah border.

By 9:30 AM I was the trailhead. Even before I hoisted my pack, I spotted the first group of wild horses.

Of course, other local residents would make an appearance, too.

After a brief climb, I started my descent into a canyon.

The cactus wildflowers were blooming rather nicely.

I soon spotted another group of mustangs. A stallion, on the trail, let me know rather directly he did not appreciate my presence.  I walked around him and his herd…

I continued my walk in a canyon. The seasonal stream was still flowing..but I suspect for not much longer.

I would continue to walk the canyon bottom by myself. No one around. Just me and the brilliant display of claret blooms.

I soon took a turn for another canyon. One that I would be climbing above. I could tell I was gaining elevation.  The pinyon-juniper forest became thicker.

An expected spring along this trail provided fresh, clear and delicious water.

Properly hydrated, I could enjoy the scenery. The views from the canyon rim to the scenery below was fantastic.

I soon reached the Monument Rocks. The ravens flying about the main rock, with the warm and silent desert air, gave the scene an almost ethereal appearance.

Not long after, I made camp for the night. I was rather content with my spot. Looking to the Bookcliffs themselves and in a sheltered P-J forest, it was bliss.

The following morning, I made my way to another canyon and enjoyed the rugged, but picturesque trail.

I soon made my final descent into the canyon floor.

I also saw my first people in over twenty-four hours.

The trip was coming to an end.

I paused to enjoy the interesting rock formations….

..and one last view of the more desert blooms.

I soon reached my vehicle and made my way home.

A wonderful trip and just what I needed.


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Susan Delisle-Shorey
Susan Delisle-Shorey
8 years ago

Would this area be novice backpackerable, in late March?
Thank you for any info.
And, thank you for all the info you get out there for all levels of backpackers.

6 years ago

Hi! Which trailhead did you start at?