We had just done the first river crossing on the Dolores River trail and we were all set to really explore the Dolores Triangle. We were ready to put on a lot of miles and see a lot of scenery, but otherwise we didn't know what to expect.
We did the tail end of the Buckhorn Mesa trail in order to get up to Hotel Mesa. We did the overlook section of the trail first. We only saw one other person the whole day, a guy on his bicycle, and we saw him here.
The overlook wasn't well-traveled but it was pretty easy to find. And it was definitely worth the short trip! The view of the intersection of the Colorado River and the Dolores River was breathtaking, and we stayed there for quite awhile. We broke out the maps, trying to figure out what we were seeing. You could see many trails, and you could see for many miles. It was definitely a sight to see.
After the overlook, we went back to the Buckhorn Mesa trail. We were on that easy, graded road for just a bit but then we veered off of the trail when the Hotel Mesa trail left it. From then on, it was very remote.
Trail finding wasn't too difficult, though we did find some spurs along the way that would have made things confusing without the GPS. We were out in the desert for awhile, with no trees or anything taller than a bush for awhile. It felt very isolated, and it was pretty cool.
The hill climbs and descents were also a lot of fun. It got especially interesting when we were coming down off of the mesa near the true trailhead. We got out to take a look first, unsure if we should proceed. The trail was fairly eroded and tippy in spots, but we decided it was fine. Once we were actually in it, it wasn't bad at all. Still, it would be slick and dangerous if it was wet.
After coming down off of the mesa, it was a pretty mellow trail. It traveled through the sand and soft dirt all the way to the trailhead.
We had done DS Road a few days earlier, and we took it yet again for a short time to get to Scharf Mesa East. Of course, we though that trail went all the way through when we started it.
Hotel Mesa was definitely a different experience, and one we'd like to do again.