Of the multitude of adventures to be found in the Grand Valley, a Mount Garfield hike has always been high on my list and maybe yours as well. Dominating the view to the North East of Grand Junction, Mount Garfield is a prominent outcrop in the Little Book Cliff mountains just to the north of interstate 70 between Grand Junction and Palisade.
I hiked Garfield twice in 2016 and knew it was important to get an early start. The hike is strenuous and on a hot day I would not recommend being on the mountain in the afternoon. Getting on the trail around 7:30 am made it possible for me to reach the summit and be back at the parking lot before noon.
The beginning of the Garfield climb is the steepest and most difficult of the entire hike. You literally climb the backbone of the Little Book Cliff mountains up from the valley floor to a series of ledges and on to the Garfield summit. Once I achieved the initial steep pitch to the first of 4 or 5 shelves (where the terrain levels with short steep sections between each ledge) the hardest part was behind me and it was easy to pace myself for the short steep pitches and gradually work my way to the summit. Once on top, the view is spectacular. You can see all over the valley including the Grand Mesa, the Monument and south toward Mount Sneffels. I enjoyed the spectacular sights as I rested, hydrated and snacked before heading back down.
Recommendations: Take plenty of water-snacks-sunscreen-shoes with good traction.
Stats found at www.gjhikes.com : Round trip 4 miles-Strenuous-Elevation 4810-6780 feet