"Colorado National Monument" Colorado National Monument by goingsolo

Colorado National Monument Travel Guide: 30 reviews and 94 photos

Colorado National Monument is actually a plateau surrounded by canyons and monolithic structures of sandstone and shale. The rocks were created 65 to 225 million years ago, according to geologists. It was declared a national monument in 1911 due largely to the efforts of John Otto.

Colorado National Monument is located west of Grand Junction, near the town of Fruita, off the Co 340 exit on I70. It is near the Utah border. Many of the cliffs have a red coloring similar to the formations found in Utah. But it is the size of these cliffs that makes them so remarkable, especially in comparison to Utah, whose landscape is characterized more so by the unique formations of the red rock hoodoos.

Rim Rock drive is the only road circling around the monument. Like most park roads, it has several pullouts to provide a view of the best scenery. Monument Canyon and Independence Monument Views are some of the most striking, again due to the height of the sheer vertical walls rising into the Colorado sky.

Colorado National Monument has a great trail system. Many of these trails lead to the bottom of the canyons. Trail descriptions and locations are available in a pamphlet which can be obtained at the Rim Rock Visitor's Center. There are also camping facilities and backcountry camping is also permitted. Perhaps its due to its out of the way location, but this area doesn't draw large crowds. It is a beautiful spot to drive, photograph and hike, and all in relative solitude.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Stunning scenery and uncrowded conditions
  • Cons:Fairly remote location
  • In a nutshell:An excellent day trip from Grand Junction or Fruita
  • Last visit to Colorado National Monument: Nov 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (14)

Comments (2)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Jul 10, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    Like you, I found a lot of places in the middle of nowhere out there, desolate and remote, and my car got stuck in sand a bit. I really enjoyed the area, and the beauty. You did a great job of showing the sties.

  • annk's Profile Photo
    Sep 29, 2004 at 6:11 AM

    Excellent info on one of the lesser known parks. Thanks!


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