Colorado National Monument Trails
Perched on the northern lip of the Uncompahgre Plateau, Colorado National Monument envelopes visitors in a world of red-walled slickrock canyons and screeching raptors. The monument’s main road, the Rim Rock Drive, climbs precipitously up cliff faces via tortuous switchbacks. From atop the plateau’s edge, visitors peer down from dizzying heights into the city of Grand Junction, which lies 2,000 feet below in the Grand Valley. Colorado National Monument offers both solitary canyon refuges and an unforgettable introduction to the earth science of geology. A half-dozen steep, short canyons cut directly down into the uplifted sedimentary beds before resistant metamorphosed bedrock slows the action of water and wind. Some of the West’s most bedazzling color combinations result from this juxtaposition of black Precambrian schist crumbling in the canyon bottoms topped by searing vermilion mudstone and sandstone, all of which lie beneath a cobalt-blue sky dotted with white cumulus clouds. In noonday summer sun, rising heat waves cause the landscape to deceptively shimmer and writhe. In winter, shady alcoves remain frozen for weeks on end. Remarkably adaptable creatures have evolved to survive and thrive in this inhospitable environment. This trail guide includes descriptions of Monument Canyon, Liberty Cap to Ute Canyon, Serpents Trail, no Thoroughfare Canyon, and Black Ridge Trail.
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Directions to: Colorado National Monument Trailsprint directions
Trail Statistics & Information
|Nearby City||Grand Junction|
|Skill Level||Easy to Strenuous|
|Season||Best Spring through Fall|
|Trailhead Elevation||4,700 ft|
|Top Elevation||6,800 ft|
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