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Dominguez Canyon Wilderness

Posted: Mar 26, 2013 by Sam Szarka

dominguez-canyon

The Dominguez Canyon Wilderness protects a series of slick-rock desert canyons and mesas in western Colorado. A pair of creeks, named the Little and Big Dominguez carved a pair of parallel canyons into the Uncompahgre Plateau, an area of geologic significance in the canyon lands of western Colorado. The wilderness area protects the Sonoran pinon-juniper ecosystem at the lower elevations, and ponderosa-aspen forests in the upper elevations to the west. Designated a wilderness in 2009, the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness is entirely managed by the BLM.

Frequented by the Ute Indians, several petroglyphs (rock art) are easily found in the Dominguez Canyons. The petroglyphs as well as other archeological artifacts are a special feature of this wilderness area.

When to Visit

It is best to visit Dominguez Canyon in the fall, winter, spring seasons. During summer temperatures skyrocket into the triple digits.

How to Get Here

Access is not excessively difficult, but somewhat complicated by the geography and it’s proximity to the Gunnison River where few bridges limit the number of roads penetrating the area. The nearest cities and towns are Grand Junction and Delta, Colorado.

Regulations

  • Overnight camping is not permitted near the confluence of the Big and Little Dominguez Creeks. See map below.
  • Do not touch or disturb petroglyphs and do not remove archaeological artifacts. Please leave them for others to enjoy.
  • Please do not create fires, however if you do create a fire, fire pans are required.
  • Special regulations apply for camping near the Dominguez creeks.
  • Other regulations may apply. Please check with BLM Grand Junction office.

Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Map

Dominguez Trailhead Map - Click to enlarge

Dominguez Trailhead Map – Click to enlarge

Hiking Trails

Dominguez Creek Trail – A popular hike is to park at the Bridgeport trailhead on the east side of the Gunnison River. Hike south and cross the railroad tracks and further on the path crosses a footbridge over the Gunnison River. Continue south to the Dominguez Creek Trail. A longer loophike is possible by connecting the Big Dominguez Creek trail to the Little Dominguez Creek trail via Dry Fork and Poison Canyon.

Backpacking

Backpackers: There is water in the Little and Big Dominguez Creeks. Stay on and trail and use low impact camping techniques. No camping is allowed the first few miles into Big and Little Dominguez canyons. There is limited firewood in Dominguez Canyon and fires will char the landscape for a long time. Do not create fires. Use camp stoves instead. If camping near the creeks, follow the special regulations for human waste disposal (backcountry toilets are required).

Nearby Wilderness Areas

Black Ridge Canyon, Gunnison Gorge Wilderness, Black Canyon of the Gunnison Wilderness