Hiking in Colorado National Monument - Grand Junction/Fruita, Mesa County, Colorado
Updated: Aug 4
You can get most of your experience in the park when you hike down in the canyons. There are many trails in the Monument, from easy short hikes to longer and strenuous ones. Down in the canyon is a different experience all together, you can get an idea of the scale of these rock formations as you get near them. You can choose your trail depending on your time and capabilities. Even casual hikers can do some of these easier trails.
Short Hiking Trails includes: Window Rock Trail (0.25 mile), Canyon Rim Trail (0.5 mile), Alcove Nature Trail (0.5 mile), Otto’s Trail (0.5 mile), Coke Ovens Trail (0.5 mile), CCC Trail (0.75 mile), Devils Kitchen Trail (0.75 mile), Serpents Trail (1.75 mile).
Backcountry Hiking Trails include: Black Ridge Trail (5.5 miles), Monument Canyon Trail (6.0 miles), Liberty Cap Trail (7.0 miles), Ute Canyon Trail (7.0 miles), Old Gordon Trail (4.0 miles), No Thoroughfare Canyon Trail (8.5 mile), Corkscrew Trail Loop (3.3 mile). All distances are one way.
MONUMENT CANYON TRAIL/WEDDING CANYON TRAIL – 5.0 to 7.2 miles
We hiked here in winter when the red canyons are dusted, if not covered, with snow. There are two trailheads on this trail. The Lower Trailhead is located off of Hwy 340/Broadway and the Upper Trailhead is located on Rim Rock Drive 3.8 miles east of the Visitor Center. We did the former in this hike.
To get to the Lower Trailhead from Broadway, turn left on Fawn Lane, it's about 0.12 mile to the trailhead. Following the Monument Canyon Trail/Wedding Canyon Trail, you will pass behind some houses for about a mile and then you will be in the canyon.
This is an easy hike and an interesting trail. You will see rock formations such as the Kissing Couple, the Pipe Organ and Monolith Spire and many others. You can make this hike short or longer, some trails are connected to other trails so there are a lot of possibilities, if you have time and energy and if the weather is ideal.
Near the base of Independence Monument is where Otto married his wife. Isn't that romantic? Their marriage did not last unfortunately, but the occasion did, hence the name the Wedding Canyon and Wedding Canyon Trail.
Our hike ended at the base of the Independence Monument, the tallest free-standing monolith in the park, rising 450 feet from the canyon floor. The trail splits at this point; to the left is the Monument Canyon Trail and to the right is the continuation of the Wedding Canyon Trail that loops around the big rock called The Island. Instead of taking the loop, we turned around here.
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For more information about the park's fees, activities and campsites check the link: https://www.nps.gov/colm/index.htm
Colorado National Monument in Winter. Take a glimpse.