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A popular and beautiful trail traversing the length of this red sandstone canyon.

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7,117' 2,169 m


4,738' 1,444 m


2,440' 744 m


62' 19 m



Avg Grade (2°)


Max Grade (7°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Commonly Backpacked · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Dogs must be leashed in the lower 5 miles of Big Dominguez and lower 3 miles of Little Dominguez to protect desert bighorn sheep. Read signs at trailhead for possible changes in policy. Bicycles or mechanized equipment of any kind are NOT allowed in wilderness areas.


Dominguez Canyon Wilderness offers scenic canyons and mesas carved in sandstone, cascading streams, waterfalls, spectacular geologic features, desert bighorn sheep, Native American rock art and historic structures from early mining settlements.

The Big Dominguez Trail accesses some of the most popular areas of the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness, including waterfalls and rock art. The most common access is from the Bridgeport Trailhead or from the Gunnison River at the mouth of Big Dominguez Canyon (if you are arriving by boat). The upper end of Big Dominguez Canyon can be accessed from a trailhead at the Big Dominguez Campground which is 11 miles off CO-141 on a good dirt road. When it is dry I've driven my Honda Civic to the upper trailhead without problems. The road to the Bridgeport trailhead is also a good dirt road but should be avoided when wet. The outhouse and parking lot are set back from the river and the run starts with a run down the road towards the river to the road beside the railroad. Follow this road to the 2nd bridge (the first bridge is private property).

This run is fairly easy, whichever end of the canyon you start at. It maintains a mostly steady low gradient with occasional very short steeper parts. There are no crossings of Big Dominguez Creek the entire length from Bridgeport to Dominguez Campground.

If you are lucky you may spot some desert bighorn sheep along the canyon slopes.

As cattle are sometimes being moved through this area it is important to remember to leave gates as you have found them, namely closed if it was closed and open if it was open.

Backcountry camping is permitted in parts of the canyon. Camping by the river is limited to boaters from May 1st through Labor Day. Camping is not permitted in the lower 5 miles of Big Dominguez canyon and 3 miles of Little Dominguez canyon. Many backpackers make a multi day loop around Big and Little Dominguez canyons.

Flora & Fauna

Look up at the cliff sides to see if you can spot a desert bighorn. Look down at the ground to see lots of small lizards. Birds also abound in the canyon and make a very pleasant soundtrack to the run. You'll see hawks soaring overhead. In the spring to early summer there are wildflowers of many kinds all around.


Shared By:

Janice Shepherd

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 20 votes


  4.7 from 20 votes
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in Colorado


36 Views Last Month
10,433 Since Apr 23, 2015



One of several nice watering holes in Big Dominguez Canyon.
Jun 1, 2022 near Whitewater, CO
Red cliffs, blue sky and beautiful fall colors.
Apr 23, 2015 near Clifton, CO
Bighorn Sheep abound in Big Dominguez Canyon.
Jun 1, 2022 near Whitewater, CO
Nice water sources in Big Dominguez Canyon.
Jun 1, 2022 near Whitewater, CO
Interesting Petroglyphs in Big Dominguez Canyon.
Jun 1, 2022 near Whitewater, CO



Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 65 days ago
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Nov 12, 2021
Walter Powers
Sep 29, 2020
Atsuko Ohtake
Aug 4, 2018
Martha Schoppe
May 19, 2018
Levi Tudor