Located in Western Colorado and extending into eastern Utah, the Book Cliffs are a range of desert mountains and cliffs. This geological feature near Grand Junction and Palisade spans more than 200 miles across both states, allowing photographers to capture unique shapes and textures under the right lighting conditions.
From where the Colorado River enters the Grand Valley in De Beque Canyon near Palisade, the Book Cliffs continue west through Price Canyon. These cliffs are also one of the most well-known places for studying sequence stratigraphy, and they got their name because they seem like a pile of books lined up against a shelf.
The Uncompahgre Uplift pushed up this relic of the Mancos Sea bottom, forming the shale and Cretaceous sandstone cliffs.
Underneath this natural wonder, you can hike, camp, raft, and see beautiful sights all year long. It passes through gorgeous desert scenery and parallels steep gorges and wild rivers.
Camping – Along the Book Cliffs, there are several suitable campsites. Fruita Campground and Island Acres Camping at G rand Junction’s James M. Robb—Colorado River State Park are fantastic places to stay.
Read about the camping near Palisade, Grand Junction, and Fruita.
Hiking – You may stroll around the cliff’s base, or if you have more time, climb the 2,000 vertical feet to Mt. Garfield on the rim for awe-inspiring panoramas. This 3.6-mile out-and-back route may be completed in three to five hours.
At the trailhead off Interstate 70, hikers may enjoy breathtaking vistas of the Grand Mesa and the town of Palisade, known for its vineyards and orchards. Wild horses are a common sight for hikers.
Horse Reserve – Just a few protected places in the western United States are home to wild horse populations, including the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Reserve, which also offers cliff views. From eighty to one hundred and twenty mustangs wander the more than thirty thousand acres of rough valleys and plateaus northwest of Palisade.
The region is accessible by car, bike, horseback, and foot, although it is not ideal for any of these activities due to the lack of paved roads and the rustic nature of the streets that are there. From May till September, horseback riding and hiking are at their peaks.
Wildlife – Coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, mule deer, pronghorn, elk, black bears, antelope, and American bison are just a few of the large species that call the Book Cliffs home. Many birds, including the golden eagle, blue grouse, and peregrine falcon, have also been seen. Black-footed ferrets are sometimes spotted in this region and a wide variety of trout may be found in the miscellaneous little streams.
Passes through these CO towns: (east to west)
Hours: 24 hours