Enjoy a contemplative hike of Ribbon Trail in Gene Taylor’s honor

Enjoy a contemplative hike of Ribbon Trail in Gene Taylor's honor

The lower strip of the Ribbon Trail, located in the Bureau of Land Management’s Bangs Canyon Area, is a perfect place to get away from the stress of everyday life.


Contemplating Geno on Lower Ribbon Trail

Drive time and distance: 14 minutes, 5.8 miles

Length: 6-plus miles one way

Elevation: 5,600 feet to 6,172 feet

Hiking Time: 2-4 hours

Difficulty: Moderate to Tough

BILL HAGGERTY/The Daily Sentinel

The lower stretch of the Ribbon Trail, located in the Bureau of Land Management’s Bangs Canyon Area, is the perfect place to get away from the stress of everyday life.

Gene Taylor greeted everyone with a firm handshake, a broad smile and a sparkle in his eye. He was interested in you, and in everything you had to say.

I remember a long car ride through a nasty storm many years ago, Geno at my side, encouraging and keeping my mind engaged as we traveled between Denver and Grand Junction. I was working for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, and Geno was volunteering his precious time to help protect, preserve and enhance the state’s wildlife — and risking his life with me behind the wheel.

His input was invaluable that year as a new statewide sportsmen’s licensing process took hold in this state.

Gene, a long-time civic leader, father figure, mentor and friend who established Gene Taylor’s Sporting Goods in 1958, passed away earlier this month. There is a huge void in this little universe we call Western Colorado.

How can you say, “Mind your manners,” more clearly than Gene expressed in his daily words and deeds?

How does one define dedication, compassion, wisdom?

Gene Taylor.

Gene could entice you to ask yourself important questions, like “Why do things work?” not just “How do things work?”

He could do it without ever actually coming right out and saying, “Wake up, Dummy!”

Of course, there were times when he simply had to say, “Wake up, Dummy!”

At least to me.

He could make you think because he was an exceptional conversationalist.

He listened. Then, he spoke.

It’s good to remember this fine human, and any number of the trails around here can provide quiet meditation and a contemplative hike.

Geno would do the same whenever he could find the time in his busy life, especially around his property on the Uncompahgre Plateau. That’s because he gave himself permission to find his space for self-discovery amongst the trees, sky and wildlife. There, he could let go of the stress of the daily grind, yet think clearly about what was next on the agenda when he returned.

He once told me, “Billy, it’s a blessing to live here in Western Colorado.”

How true.

One such spot for a contemplative hike is the lower stretch of the Ribbon Trail. Located in the Bureau of Land Management’s 40,000-acre Bangs Canyon Area, the Ribbon Trail is not for sissies, but if you can hike it or bike it, you’ll enjoy it immensely.

Right now, temperatures are very comfortable and the trail is in great shape. In fact, it’s in better shape than me.

To reach lower Ribbon Trail from Fourth and Main in Grand Junction, go west on Main to First Street; turn right and go to Grand Avenue (Colorado Highway 340). Turn left, cross over the Colorado River and turn left at the stoplight on Monument Road, heading towards Colorado National Monument.

Turn left at D Road just past the Redlands Pet Clinic and before you cross the Redlands Canal. Stay on D Road as it turns right on Rosevale Road. Go 1.1 miles and turn right on Little Park Road.

The Little Park Trail head and Staging Area will appear on your left, 5.8 miles from downtown Grand Junction, 4.3 miles from Monument Road and D Road at the pet clinic.

It provides a large parking lot for various outdoor recreational enthusiasts. Users of the Ribbon Trail must cross Little Park Road and saunter back down the road for about two-tenths of a mile. You’ll find the spur trail leading to your left and down. At the bottom of this canyon, about .4 miles away, is the Ribbon Trail.

On your way down, you can hike through one of the coolest mud slides you’ve ever seen. Of course, if you’re scared of the dark, hike around the tip of the slide.

At the bottom of the canyon, turn left for the Ribbon Trail, or right to Andy’s Loop, a fabulous mountain biking trail that leads to the Lunch Loop/Tabeguache Trail head on Monument Road.

Turn left, at the bottom of the spur trail and hike up the Ribbon Trail, almost to Glade Park, from 5,600 feet to 6,172 in elevation. It’s somewhat strenuous, but not technical or difficult. Just steep.

You’ll actually travel down the wash for a third of a mile until the trail turns sharply uphill. Climb up the hill, then descend down a narrow trail into a valley.

Climb back up a gully to the next ridge over, and in another couple miles come to the largest slab of Kayanta sandstone you’ve ever seen in your life.

The Ribbon Trail is dog friendly and restricted to hikers, horseback riders and bicyclists. It is as good as any of the numerous trails in the Grand Valley to contemplate the good life lived by our dear friend Gene Taylor.

May he rest in peace.

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