Colorado National Monument Things to Do

  • View of a nearly closed box canyon
    View of a nearly closed box canyon
    by BruceDunning
  • CAnyon sprawl out in terrain
    CAnyon sprawl out in terrain
    by BruceDunning
  • Main visitor center at north entrance
    Main visitor center at north entrance
    by BruceDunning

Best Rated Things to Do in Colorado National Monument

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo

    Visitor Center is Helpful and Gifts There

    by BruceDunning Updated Dec 22, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Main visitor center at north entrance
    3 more images

    This seems like a "little" Grand Canyon with the steep crevices and sheer walls of color. The 23 mile Rim Drive road is the main one going through the park, and winds up the mountains about 2,000 feet. The views are fabulous, both overlooking the park colors and valleys, but also the panorama view of the valley below. Visitor center is at the north end of the park, and has a gift shop and NPS people to answer questions. The is a road form Grand Junction that loops to both ends of the park; so you can start either direction. There are 14 trails that can be taken and around 11 overlooks along Rim Rock Dr. The greenery and foliage are the main feature here, besides the steep drops into the valley floor, if you get that far.
    The park also connects with McInnis CAnyons that is managed by Bureau of Land Management. It is much more rugged and remote for sites and adventures, but there are trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding. Adjacent to that is the Black Ridge Canyon Wilderness, an even more remote NCA, and no roads to enter; only foot or horseback.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo

    Devil's Kitchen Trail-Serpents Trail

    by BruceDunning Updated Oct 11, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Terrain map of the trial-left
    3 more images

    This is a supposed to be 3/4 miles each way hike. My calculations off the pedometer was 1.2 miles one way and I took a long route back for a 1.5 mile trek. The first half was easy walk through the sand and along rock base. The last half was a rather rigorous climb up a huge rock cliff and the incline was 300 feet. So, that was not that easy. I saw a lot of people turn back because they could not reach the distances between the rocks to climb up.
    The Serpent rail is an easy slower incline and is about 2 miles long one way. It connect to the other end of the road before Cold Shivers overlook. There were at lest 15 curves/switchbacks to take on. That was not bad, but takes times. The climb is nice because the view looking down to the canyon is nice.

    Related to:
    • Mountain Climbing
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo

    McInnis Canyon-Black Ridge

    by BruceDunning Written Oct 11, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    Overall these two rugged and back country areas encompass about 190 square miles. Black Ridge was dedicated in 1964 and has 75,500 acres. There are no roads into it, and horseback, hiking are the methods to access. McInnis also was dedicated as NCA -National Conservation Area in 2000 to keep it form being overrun by tourists and being ruined for the ecology purposes. Both are difficult to figure out where to go into. There is a Rattlesnake arch about 13 miles in if you want to take the risk. Maybe could even venture in by vehicle, but it is said to by hard to do.
    I started to drive in-but got set back a short distance because the road sucked. I did walk in for a ways, but too big for me.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Mountain Climbing
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo

    Big-Bold Grand Canyon

    by BruceDunning Updated Dec 22, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    View of a nearly closed box canyon
    2 more images

    Monument canyon is the monster of the three main canyons. It also has a creek running down the middle. You can hike down to the bottom and back up--IF YOU want. I did not. The trail looked steep to start out and switched back and forth a lot.; like about 20 times, so the go is slow. May not have been too steep, but the distance of 6 miles one way would take a long time-I did not have, nor the energy.

    Related to:
    • Mountain Climbing
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo

    Coke Ovens trail

    by BruceDunning Written Oct 11, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Ovens in a row
    3 more images

    This is a nice, but watch your footing trail down toward the oven range. They are about a dozen rock formation eroded to a point that now leaves only pinnacles with balanced rocks standing out from the valley. The hike was 1/2 mile, to get the view, but you can/I did take the other trail too down the cliff face a ways. It is steep.

    Was this review helpful?

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo

    Roads are an Adventure

    by BruceDunning Written Oct 11, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Rock hang precariously on the edge of road
    1 more image

    The Rim Rock Road is steep in some areas, and many 10-20 MPH curves in others; or both at once in spots. Many switchbacks need to be overtaken. The CCC built most of the roads in 1930's with nothing more than hand tools for a lot of it. John Otto, who started the park designation and stayed here 1906-1930 also carved and dug out many trails and roads. He was dedicated to the park and in 1911 is was dedicated as one.

    Was this review helpful?

  • annk's Profile Photo

    View from the Visitor's Center

    by annk Updated Oct 28, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    view from behind Vistor's Center

    The visitor's center is typical of the National Park service providing information, exhibits, slide shows a gift and book store. Rangers or volunteers are on hand to answer any questions. There's a covered viewing area of the surrounding mountains out the back door. A few hiking trails commence here as well.

    The visitor's center is located 4 miles into the park from the west entrance. During the off season, your National Park fee is to be paid here since the west entrance gate is not staffed.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • annk's Profile Photo

    Grand View Right

    by annk Updated Oct 25, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Grand View Right

    The view to the right includes the rock formation in the foreground of the "Kissing Couple" and further back Monument Mesa. On the valley floor is Monument Canyon Trail traversing 6 miles of Monument Valley where most of the major rock formations can be seen.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • annk's Profile Photo

    West Entrance

    by annk Updated Oct 25, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    western entrance

    The west entrance of the park ascends rather quickly up the Rim Rock Drive which is 23 miles in length. There are many hairpin curves and steep drops so watch your speed. In my opinion the most dramatic viewpoints are on the west end yet the eastern section has views from the highest points.

    If you fly into Grand Junction, CO there are some outstanding views of the Rim Rock Drive from the left side of the plane.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • annk's Profile Photo

    Independence Monument

    by annk Updated Oct 25, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Independence Monument

    The free-standing monolith was once a massive rock wall separating Monument and Wedding Canyons. Through the forces of nature the wall eroded and collapsed leaving the rock monument standing on its own.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • Tom_Fields's Profile Photo

    Rim Rock Drive

    by Tom_Fields Written Aug 1, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Ute Canyon
    4 more images

    Follow Rim Rock Drive from the eastern end, near Devil's Kitchen, or the western end near Redlands View. Either way, you'll be treated to the same awesome views. Along the way are a number of relatively short hiking trails; most can be explored in a few minutes.

    Keep an eye out for storms, which can appear quite suddenly. Also watch for wildlife.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • goingsolo's Profile Photo

    Another viewpoint

    by goingsolo Updated Aug 1, 2004

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Colorado National Monument

    Another photograph taken near the visitor center. In the distance, the mountains are seen, serving as a reminder that you are still in Colorado. With all this flat scenery and red rocks, its easy to get confused.

    Was this review helpful?

  • goingsolo's Profile Photo

    Other observation points

    by goingsolo Updated Sep 15, 2004

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Colorado National Monument

    The deep canyons are perhaps the most striking feature of Colorado National Monument. The canyons were formed by the uplifting of an ancient Rocky Mountain range, millions of years ago. Today, the canyon's depths are places of solitude, as few venture that far into the region. Unfortunately, these canyons amplify the traffic and other noise from neighboring cities and, while its possible to hike without seeing another person, the presence of man is made well known and quite audibly.

    Was this review helpful?

  • goingsolo's Profile Photo

    Stunning vistas

    by goingsolo Updated Sep 15, 2004

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Colorado National Monument

    Rim Rock drive climbs about 2,000 feet in a series of hairpin turned switchbacks. From the road's summit near the Visitor's Center, the town of Grand Junction is visible below, and far off on the distant horizon, the San Juan Mountains form the backdrop of this otherwise seemingly endless plateau.

    Was this review helpful?

  • goingsolo's Profile Photo

    Sandstone formations

    by goingsolo Updated Sep 15, 2004

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Colorado National Monument

    Like most wilderness areas, Colorado National Monument was created by the patient yet powerful forces of nature. The monuments' sandstone landscape was created by an evolutionary process which began 300 million years ago.

    The once mountain range uplifted, probably due to the shifting of plates beneath the Earth's surface, the sediment eroded and the area became a broad flat plain. Red sand washed through the plain in the wake of the rivers and winds swept even more sand on the surface. This process continued for tens of millions of years, creating the layers of sandstone which are now visible today.

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Colorado National Monument

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

106 travelers online now

Comments

Colorado National Monument Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Colorado National Monument things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Colorado National Monument sightseeing.

View all Colorado National Monument hotels