Mike’s Hikes #7: Potter Canyon

By Alaina Geibig 5 months agoNo Comments

Potter Canyon: Monday, October 12th

Overview: Join John Zachman on Monday, October 12th for an archeology-themed hike. The canyon walls rise about 500-800 feet above the canyon floor. Geologically, the lower layer is the Morrison Formation and the top layer is the Burro Canyon formation. On a previous Mike’s Hike up a neighboring canyon, Geologists, Dr. Noe, mentioned that both of these rock geological layers were very promising for finding dinosaur tracks. The Morrison formation, especially on the front range of the Rockies, is known for its extensive dinosaur tracks discoveries. Hopefully, we will find some evidence of historical artifacts as we travel up this canyon!

Potter Canyon is located in Camel Back Wilderness Study Area (WSA), a remote spot that provides nothing but solitude. This WSA was inventoried by the BLM in 1980 because of its Wilderness characteristics, but it has not been officially designated as Wilderness by Congress.

This WSA is characterized by a series of deep canyons and extensive mesa, sculptured by streams that cut canyons with massive cliffs, talus slopes, and isolated mesas and buttes. Vegetation consists of cactus, cottonwoods, and pinyon-junipers.

Trail Description: We’ll hike about 2 1/2 miles up Potter Canyon, in a healthy Pinon-Juniper high desert terrain with very large Rabbit Brush and Sage Brush. We come to a turnaround point marked some impressive Ponderosa Pines.

COVID-19 Protocols: Our community is still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we will be following all necessary protocols to ensure a safe hike for everyone involved. The following restrictions will be followed at all times throughout the hike:

  • We will have no more than 10 people total on this hike. Please RSVP below.
  • Maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from members of other households at all times, except in cases where it is unsafe to maintain that distance. Social distancing (6 ft apart) will be followed at all times with hikers not of the same household
  • Separate cars must be taken to the trailhead
  • Masks must be worn when not actively hiking. Please bring a mask with you on this hike.
  • Hikers will all bring their own equipment, including water, hand sanitizer, and food/snacks. Please aquire all equipment and supplies you might need for the trip prior to arriving for the hike.
  • Do not come on the hike if you feel sick or have symptoms
  • We will follow all Safer at Home and Leave No Trace guidelines

Trip Leader: Archaeologist, John Zachman, will provide expert insights along the hike.

Where: Potter Canyon

Difficulty: Moderate.  Starting elevation – 5,200ft with minimal elevation gain. The trail crosses Potter Canyon Creek a few times, but in this late, dry summer, these crossings will likely be dry or low-flow.

When: Monday, October 12th. We will meet at the WSCC office (204 Poplar Ave.) at 8:00 am OR meet at Safeway Grocery Store in Delta at 8:45am. Please differentiate in the RSVP form below where you plan on meeting us.

We will need to take separate cars – one per family. The drive to the trailhead is roughly an hour, and you can expect 3-4 hours of hiking.

What to bring: Good boots, lots of water, sunscreen, extra layers, hiking pools, snacks, and lunch.

How to get to the trailhead: From Paonia, it is approximately a 1 hour drive. Just west of Delta we drive into the eastern low desert country of the Uncompahgre Plateau.  The last 6 miles of the drive is along the Roubideau Canyon dirt road, which is a little bumpy and rocky but not too rough.


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Only one person per registration entry, please!

I'm sorry, this hike is full! To be put on the waitlist, please email Ben at ben@theconservationcenter.org
  Events, Public Lands
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