Hiking the Four Corners  by JD Tanner and Emily Ressler-Tanner

Hiking the Four Corners Guide Book

by JD Tanner and Emily Ressler-Tanner (Falcon Guides)
Hiking the Four Corners  by JD Tanner and Emily Ressler-Tanner
The Four Corners region is a vast physiographic and geologic highland region located in the southwestern United States. The region includes much of southeastern Utah, southwestern Colorado, northwestern New Mexico, and northeastern Arizona. The boundaries of these four states intersect in a remote area of the Navajo Nation. The Four Corners gets its name from this quadripoint, which forms four right angles and is unique in that it is the only place in the United States where you can be in four states at the same time. The Four Corners Monument, one of several parks managed by Navajo Parks and Recreation, marks this distinctive landmark.

© 2015 JD Tanner and Emily Ressler-Tanner/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Hiking the Four Corners" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 35.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 35.

The highlight of this hike is the supposed alien UFO crash landing site. Hikers will enjoy a beautiful walk along the northern rim of Hart Canyon on their way to the crash site and then make their way across the high plains desert landscape on the return portion of the loop. Be sure to obey the directional travel rules that apply to the trail as it is primarily a mountain biking trail. The counterclockwise travel directions apply to all hikers and bikers.
Spring Lake, NM - Hiking - Trail Length: 8.6
This 3.3-mile loop hike strolls out to a beautiful amphitheater-like enclosure. Don’t let the start of this hike fool you as you struggle to route-find a bit and walk across a shrubby desert area that seems like nothing will come of it. Once you enter the Amphitheater, the scenery changes completely, rock spires appear, and a large butte rises high from the ground.
Moab, UT - Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 3.3
ADD TO BOOKSHELF
New Mexico is not as well-known for its arches as nearby Utah. However, arches like Anasazi Arch are nothing to shrug your shoulders at. The very short hike to the arch requires a drive out into the New Mexico oil fields, some rock scrambling, and even a little route finding. What seems like a short and sweet hike requires a little effort that is well worth it. Hikers with an adventurous spirit can explore for hours after locating the arch.
Cedar Hill, NM - Hiking - Trail Length: 0.5
Discover the mystery of the Angel Peak Scenic Area and the Four Corners’ version of the badlands. The beauty of the landscape will amaze hikers visiting this magical area. This 1.6-mile out-and-back hike takes hikers along a narrow ridge and out into badlands for amazing views of Angel Peak. Photographers should consider an evening/ sunset hike to capture the perfect picture. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Angel Peak Scenic Area is approximately 10,000 acres of rough and rugged desert landscape ripe for exploration. Hikers and photographers alike will find this little-known area quite exciting. While there are very limited established trails, there are plenty of hiking options along the canyon rim. Located near Bloomfield, New Mexico, and rising up nearly 7,000 feet, Angel Peak is considered a landmark in the area.
Bloomfield, NM - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.6
ADD TO BOOKSHELF
The Animas Mountain Trail is a convenient 5.8-mile loop for which the trailhead is located within the city limits of Durango. Popular with locals, this trail offers a quick getaway from the city without the long drive to and from the trailhead. Because of its great access, beautiful Animas Valley views, and gradual uphill grade, this 5.8-mile loop on the Animas City Mountain is a local favorite and ideal warm-up for visitors to the area before hitting the big peaks. The trail travels along the eastern rim through a pinyon-juniper and scrub oak forest for the first section of the hike, offers spectacular views of the San Juan Mountains, and then snakes its way through a ponderosa forest on the western side of the mountain before returning to the city.
Durango, CO - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.8
The Animas River Trail stretches nearly 7 miles through Durango and continues to develop as the city develops. This 7-mile out-and-back section is a great family adventure and offers several access points to the many attractions in downtown Durango. The city of Durango offers everything you’d expect to find in a Colorado mountain town and more. Tourist attractions include things like the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, the Durango Mountain Resort, and of course a historic downtown Main Street.
Durango, CO - Hiking - Trail Length: 7
ADD TO BOOKSHELF
Follow this out-and-back “trail” through some of the most unique scenery that New Mexico has to offer. The Bisti Badlands do not have designated trails. They are an adventurer’s dream! This 6-mile out-and-back hike gives a good sampling of what the area has to offer and should be considered as a starting point to however long you’d like to make your adventure in the area. Don’t expect to see too many other hikers.
Farmington, NM - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 6
This 4-mile out-and-back hike in the Bisti De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area will have you wondering, “How did I get here?” The Bisti is full of mystery and wonder and will keep hikers, adventurers, rock hounds, and history buffs busy for hours and even days. The area is a hidden treasure in northwestern New Mexico that locals have been able to keep to themselves for many years. Be sure to take plenty of water for your trip.
Farmington, NM - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
ADD TO BOOKSHELF
Welcome to the southern terminus of the Colorado Trail! This 5.4-mile out-andback section of the trail will give all the thru-hike dreamers a small taste of what the trail has to offer. The trail travels along Junction Creek and offers numerous areas to enjoy the nice cool mountain runoff during the warm mountain summer days. The Colorado Trail is an idea that was conceived back in 1973 by Bill Lucas and Merrill Hastings. Since that time the trail has become an established, marked, and mostly non-motorized trail open to hikers, horse riders, and bicyclists. From Waterton Canyon near Denver, the trail makes its way for almost 500 miles from the Front Range over the Rockies, through the state’s most mountainous regions, to the outskirts of Durango. Thru-hikers taking on the entire trail will pass through eight mountain ranges, six national forests, and six wilderness areas.
Durango, CO - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.4
This spectacular hike is a 2.2-mile out-and-back that leads to a very recognizable and well-known arch in the Moab area. The hike requires some rock scrambling in a couple of areas but is still an ideal hike for families. Hikers will also get to see a second arch on this hike, Pinto Arch (Bowtie Arch), that tends to be overshadowed by the size and beauty of Corona Arch (known by some as Rainbow Arch). So many hikes in the Moab area culminate with a big “wow,” and the Corona Arch Trail will not let you down if you’re expecting that wow factor at the end. However, because of its proximity to Arches National Park, Corona Arch tends to be a little less known. This 2.2-mile trail travels over a slickrock landscape that has been well marked with cairns, making it easy to follow. From the trailhead the trail gains over 400 feet in elevation.
Moab, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.2
ADD TO BOOKSHELF
It doesn’t seem right to not include a hike at the Four Corners Monument in a guide to hiking the Four Corners, so here it is. The 1.5-mile round-trip Dancing Horse Trail at the Four Corners Monument offers a short and fairly easy hike in New Mexico and Colorado to a mesa that offers great views of the San Juan River as well as the surrounding area. What would a guide to the Four Corners be without a hike at the actual Four Corners Monument? The Four Corners Monument marks the quadripoint in the southwestern United States, and the only place in the United States where four states meet at such a point, where the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet. The monument also marks the boundary between two Native American governments, the Navajo Nation reservation and the Ute Mountain Tribe reservation.
Teec Nos Pos, AZ - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.5
This 3.4-mile out-and-back hike in Arches National Park is considered a classic and is probably the most popular hike in the park. Delicate Arch sits 1.7 miles from the trailhead and attracts numerous park-goers because of its sheer beauty and the uniqueness of the arch. The hike includes a long section of slickrock hiking in the middle and at the end, which makes for a fun hike. It may not be the largest, widest, or most remote arch in Utah, but Delicate Arch is arguably one of the most beloved and unforgettable arches in the region. Its shape graces the state’s license plate, and thousands of people of all ages and nationalities make the 3.4-mile round-trip trek to see this remarkable feature each year. If you’re seeking a bit of desert solitude, you might still find it at Delicate Arch very early in the morning, on a weekday, in the off-season. Otherwise, be prepared to share the trail.
Moab, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.4
ADD TO BOOKSHELF
The residents of the city consider the 2.2-mile trail system along the Animas River in downtown Farmington a treasure. The trails make their way along either side of the river, offer great views of towering cottonwoods, go past the whitewater park, offer access to the downtown area, and even go to a fun little nature center that is nestled quietly in the woods just off the river.
Farmington, NM - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.2
This 4-mile out-and-back trail is located just south of Moab, Utah, and truly lives up to the name “Hidden Valley Trail.” After a steep hike up the canyon wall, hikers will find themselves high above the city of Moab just before entering into a hidden valley. The beautiful valley offers access to a network of trails to the south and west of Moab and provides beautiful views of the nearby mountain ranges. Moab, Utah, is considered by many people to be the home of adventure. Adventure is literally within minutes of town, where you will find yourself surrounded by the red rock landscape that Moab is known for as well as national parks like Arches and Canyonlands. Dead Horse Point State Park is just a short drive from Moab and offers amazing views of the Colorado River as it meanders through the river corridors 2,000 feet below.
Moab, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
ADD TO BOOKSHELF
It’s not hard to see why the 4.4-mile out-and-back Honaker Trail is one of the coolest hikes in southeastern Utah. Switchbacking down nearly 1,200 vertical feet from the canyon rim to the San Juan River, the trail offers amazing views of the river-carved canyon. From the rim this picturesque location offers gorgeous views of Monument Valley to the south, and it is located not too far from Cedar Mesa and just down the road from Goosenecks State Park.
Monticello, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.4
This pleasant, easy day hike follows the course of upper Mule Canyon, one of the most accessible canyons in the Cedar Mesa region. The 2-mile out-and-back hike travels past great bulging cliffs of Cedar Mesa sandstone that embrace the canyon, which supports an interesting mixture of pinyon-juniper and montane forest environments. The trail in Mule Canyon is sandy but well worn and easy to follow, with few obstacles, making it passable even to novice hikers. You will see several well-preserved Anasazi ruins should you continue to hike farther into the canyon, most of them grain storage structures. The description for this hike leads directly to some of the ruins that are a very popular site for photography—please respect these fragile ancient structures.
Monticello, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
ADD TO BOOKSHELF
This 4-mile out-and-back hike through a classic Utah canyon offers a great experience for families. The canyon requires no technical skills other than hiking and can be as long or as short a hike as you’d like. The quick access to the trailhead and parking area along with the beautiful scenic drive to get there make this an ideal option for visitors to the area. Watch for mountain bikers, hikers, and runners along the road as they make their way to other trails in the area.
Moab, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
This series of trails that connect together to make a 4-mile loop through Mancos State Park make a great morning or afternoon hike. Mancos State Park is known more for the boating opportunities it offers, but many of the locals know how great the hiking and cross-country skiing can be as well. The network of trails even offers access to the Colorado Trail. The great thing about Mancos State Park is that it is home to many of the outdoor recreation activities that surround it. The park is home to the Jackson Gulch Reservoir, which is the water source for Mesa Verde and the Mancos Valley. Kayaking, canoeing, and limited motorized boating are all allowed on the 216 surface acres of water. The reservoir also provides great fishing, including yellow perch and rainbow trout.
Dolores, CO - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
ADD TO BOOKSHELF
The 4.6-mile round-trip Negro Bill Canyon Trail is another gem located very close to downtown Moab. As if the drive to the trail along the Colorado River wasn’t enough, the trail takes hikers to the 243-foot-long Morning Glory Natural Bridge. The bridge is the sixth-longest in the United States. During early spring hikers might consider a pair of sandals or water shoes as the trail crosses the year-round stream numerous times along the hike. This 4.6-mile round-trip hike starts just above the banks of the Colorado River east 243-foot-long natural bridge, the sixth-largest natural rock span in North America. Remember, the bridge is located in the second side canyon on the right, not in Negro Bill Canyon.
Moab, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.6
A scenic drive on Bridge View Drive in Natural Bridges National Monument leads past dramatic vista points and several trailheads that access the monument’s excellent trail network. Here hikers can follow short, paved paths out to overlooks on the rim, take longer walks into the canyon to visit one of the natural bridges, or utilize the trail network to take loop trips ranging from a half day to all day in length. This 0.6-mile out-and-back hike is an excellent warm-up.
Lake Powell, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 0.6
ADD TO BOOKSHELF