Colorado National Monument, CO

Colorado National Monument, September 2020

Colorado National Monument—named for the river, not the state—is a marvel of winding canyons, prominent spires, and multi-hued cliffs, Colorado’s closest rival to the canyon parks of Utah, such as Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef. Here the power of erosion has carved deep gorges in the eastern flank of the Uncompahgre Plateau, revealing Jurassic-era sandstones and shales and Precambrian basement rocks, including gneiss, granite, and schist. The monument sits high above the bustling city of Grand Junction, Colorado, which can be viewed in its entirety from the sweeping vistas along Rim Rock Drive, the main, winding track through the park. Four main canyons cut through the park—Monument, No Thoroughfare, Red, and Ute—while a flurry of others can be explored by car or by foot. Hiking trails range from short jaunts to overlooks (such as Otto’s Trail and Window Rock) to lengthy, rugged traverses (like No Thoroughfare Canyon, Ute Canyon, and Liberty Cap). All told, the park makes for an excellent destination for at least 2-3 days of hiking and sightseeing.

Ute Canyon
Monument Canyon from Artist’s Point
Coke Ovens from Artist’s Point
Bighorn sheep along Rim Rock Drive
Fruita Canyon from Saddlehorn Campground
Monument Canyon from Window Rock Trail
Sunrise over the Book Cliffs and Grand Junction from Window Rock
Sunrise illuminating the Wingate Sandstone cliffs
Monument Canyon from Otto’s Trail
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4 Responses to Colorado National Monument, CO

  1. harpiytravel says:

    Beautiful pictures ! Which county this place is in ? will add in my list.

  2. Pingback: Otto’s Trail (Colorado National Monument, CO) | Live and Let Hike

  3. Pingback: Dinosaur Hill Trail (McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, CO) | Live and Let Hike

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