Hiking The Colorado National Monument
The 60th most popular hiking trail in Colorado.
Sunday 3 July 2016 05:30 GMT
West of Grand Junction, the Colorado National Monument has a variety of hiking trails to explore.
By Car Westbound: Take Highway I-70 to Grand Junction, and take Exit 31 (Horizon Drive). Follow signs through Grand Junction to the east entrance. Eastbound: Take Highway I-70 to Exit 19 (Fruita) and go south on Highway 340 to the west entrance, which is approximately four miles from Fruita.
Old Gordon Trail (4 miles): Steadily ascending trail that follows the path of historic lumber and cattle drive road. The park's geologic story is told almost in its entirety through the layers of rock naturally exhibited along this largely undeveloped trail route.
Black Ridge Trail (5.5 miles) - Highest trail in the park with far-reaching views west to Utah canyonlands, east to Grand Valley, and south to the San Juan Mountains. Follows up-and-down terrain of Black Ridge. Trail crosses Bureau of Land Management Lands.
Monument Canyon Trail (6 miles) - Steep 600-foot descent from the plateau into Monument Canyon where many of the park’s major rock sculptures-Independence Monument, Kissing Couple, and the Coke Ovens-tower overhead.
Ute Canyon Trail (7 miles) - Rigorous descent into narrow Ute Canyon from the plateau follows a maintained trail. The route then follows streambed with seasonal stream and pools bordered by cottonwoods and willows. A few arches may be seen.
Liberty Cap Trail (7 miles) - Trail winds across gently sloping Monument Mesa through pinyon-juniper forest and sagebrush flats for 5.5 miles to Liberty Cap rock sculpture. Ideal for horseback riding. Last 1.5 miles drops steeply to Grand Valley.
North Thoroughfare Canyon Trail (8.5 miles) - Ascent on maintained trail followed by undeveloped route through remote No Thoroughfare Canyon. Canyon walls rise more than 400 feet above floor. Steep terrain!
Overall, Colorado National Monument is the 60th most popular hiking trail of all 66 hikes in Colorado.