𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗥𝗲𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗚𝗿𝗮𝗽𝗲 𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗸 / Canon City - 𝗨𝗽𝗱𝗮𝘁𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝗻 𝗖𝗿𝗼𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗢𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗱𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 (𝗮𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝟭𝟬/𝟭𝟴/𝟮𝟯) Grape Creek, a renowned trail in southeast Colorado, offers equestrians a picturesque and unique yet challenging riding experience. Situated in the BLM's Royal Gorge region, the trail is accessible to horses, leading riders to the Temple Canyon about 4 miles from Ecology Park Trailhead in Cañon City. According to RMBCH work crews and riders, the trail is fairly easy to follow for at least 12 - 14 crossings if you aren't familiar with the ride and WOW-EEEE the fall colors are perfection! Now defunct, the beaver dam at crossing #4 no longer creates a deep pool to navigate... but it does go straight up a hill instead of along the creek since that old section is filled with dangerous post holes and was only getting worse last year. You'll want to look for some temporary pink flagging near the old "double crossing" (#14) that used to squeeze through a little island, but now rides up the creek a bit before coming out in a new spot. That island is now deep deep mud and unsafe for equines to traverse, so keep your eyes open here. Approximately 2.5 miles into the trail, a recently constructed beaver dam has caused a significant flooding situation for crossing #16, making getting through challenging for inexperienced riders or horses. Access points on both sides of the water are now quite muddy, so use your best judgement in deciding to proceed or not. After that area, our work crews spent a full day opening up several crossings that had become so overgrown that horses had a difficult time knowing where to walk. If you frequently ride Grape Creek, you will know exactly the spot... one year we brought machetes and just hacked away for hours to make it even look remotely like a trail! We expect that after crossing #21, the trail is fairly open and easy to navigate with riders reporting a couple downed trees that may eventually cause problems. Bringing a pair of garden shears or loppers is always recommended, as the willow brush and yarrow have become overgrown and may obstruct the trail in places as you try to reach the Temple. You don't have to commit an entire day to working on the trail, even just taking a few minutes to widen one water entry/exit point, or cutting back some brush that makes the trail invisible to horses, is a huge help to the next users that head out there. Plus, the grass is so delicious, your horses won't have any problem waiting for you! 😋 If you are new to Grape Creek, it is advised to ride with an experienced member of RMBCH who has worked on the trail, as they can guide you to the safest crossing points. You will probably have the trail to yourself other than a couple people in waders looking for great fishing holes. Remember to be safe and enjoy the trail, ensuring it remains a cherished legacy for everyone to experience.
June 24 - Grape Creek (Temple Trail) Work Ride & Trail Report (Canon City)
The Public Lands Committee sponsored a work ride at Grape Creek near Canon City. A full 8 hour day of work! It was about 90 degrees but the water was nice and cool with plenty of opportunities to get in it and cool off. The beavers have been at it again and really changed up the landscape.
Many trees were down across the trail. We cleared a few of the horse stoppers but left the rest for now while we try to get the trail open. Due to the recent rains, the trail is very overgrown. This also makes it really beautiful and lush. The meadows are full of lush grass and easy to let your horse graze while you trim willows. RMBCH cleared willows in many areas, some of the bigger cholla off the trail so that it would minimize getting stuck in the horse (and hikers) legs, and trimmed back the grass to make water crossings safer.
Crossing #4 beaver dam is no longer an issue and is much lower/safer for horses to cross.
NEW HAZARD Crossing #14 The beavers have complete rerouted the river. On that day it was 2 full flowing rivers now. There is also a new MASSIVE hole in the middle of the river where the old trail used to cross between the 2 streams. It looks fine and shallow until you step in it as you try to use the path.
We recommend entering the water - turning right and walking UP the river about 50 feet to the 'V' where the river splits into 2. Go around the V to the other side of the V, and then back down that side of the river to your exit point. This will avoid that middle, old trail crossing between the 2 streams where the big hole is.
NEW WATER CROSSING Crossing #17 We had to find a way to enter slightly up from the regular crossing - against the cliff rock wall, and we trimmed back some willows to this new safer spot. Who knows what it will be if the beavers keep at it, but for now we have a new shallow entry place.
There is still a ton to do. We did not make it past crossing 17.
Trail Info: Grape creek has 32 water crossings (for a total of 64 there and back!). It is a great way to train your horse on any type of water crossing and condition. Park at the Ecology Park trailhead just outside of Canon City. The parking lot is huge with multiple entry and exit points, gravel, and fits any type of rig. Weekends can have more people but there is still plenty of trailer parking. Please remember to clean up after your trailer (pack out manure from the parking lot) because this is a multi use lot. We are trail ambassadors!
Special Note: if you ride all the way to 'The Temple' on this trail, please remember to NOT cross into the mountain bike path. It is marked and is NOT for equines. There is a way you can cross the river and continue on the horse trail without crossing and riding the mt bike path.