Hikes in Colorado National Monument

Below is a collection of trails in Colorado National Monument listed from north to south. The table may also be sorted alphabetically or by distance to help you pick your next adventure. Each trail links to its own report complete with photos, maps, directions, and all the other information needed to locate and enjoy these hikes. You can also view hikes around Colorado National Monument on the Hike Finder Map.

Independence Monument
Independence Monument

Hiking Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument protects 32 square miles of wilderness near Grand Junction, Colorado. The reason for this area’s preservation is Monument Canyon, which runs north to south through the park and houses sandstone formations that have inspired names like Window Rock, Praying Hands, and Kissing Couple. Most notable is Independence Monument, a 450-foot spire at the heart of Monument Canyon. “The Monument” has one campground and numerous hiking trails. Rim Rock Drive is the main road through the park. The scenic drive features several well-positioned viewpoints. Temperatures in the park range from below freezing in the winter to mid-nineties in July. There is a $7 fee to enter Colorado National Monument.

The foremost advocate for the protection of this land was John Otto, a man who moved to Grand Junction at the turn of the last century. He fell so in love with the area’s picturesque geology that he dedicated his life to its preservation. Through his efforts, Colorado National Monument was formed in May of 1911. That same summer, John Otto began a tradition that has remained to this day. On the fourth of July, he climbed to the top of Independence Monument and planted the American Flag. This tradition has been renewed each year for the last hundred years.

In 1911, John Otto became the first park custodian for Colorado National Monument. He held the position for thirty years, working for $1 per month. John Otto constructed and maintained many of the trails that serve the park today.

Trail
Description
Distance
Location
Colorado National Monument Window Rock Trail100Window Rock Trail
This out and back hike ends at a distinct point on the wall of Monument Canyon where a natural window appears just below the top of the cliff.
0.35 miles
60 feet
39.105,
-108.727
Colorado National Monument Canyon Rim Trail200Canyon Rim Trail
This out and back hike begins at Saddlehorn Visitor Center and travels along the cliffs edge overlooking Monument Canyon.
1 mile
100 feet
39.1006, -108.73423
Colorado National Monument Alcove Nature Trail300Alcove Nature Trail
This out and back hike is less scenic than others in the park but offers information about the plants, animals, and geology of the park.
1 mile
175 feet
39.101, -108.735
Colorado National Monument Otto's Trail Trail400Otto’s Trail
This out and back hike visits an overlook near the Pipe Organs with an excellent view of Independence Monument and Monument Canyon.
0.75 mile
85 feet
39.09596, -108.73274
Colorado National Monument Monument Canyon Trail500Monument Canyon Trail
This out and back hike (or through trail) travels down into Monument Canyon to visit the tallest freestanding rock formation in the park.
7 - 12 miles
850
39.07777,
-108.72802
Colorado National Monument Coke Ovens Trail600Coke Ovens Trail
This out and back hike visits a line of sandstone domes decorating the rim of Monument Canyon.
1 mile
180 feet
39.07777,
-108.72802
Colorado National Monument Devils Kitchen Trail700Devils Kitchen Trail
This out and back hike crosses the bottom of No Thoroughfare canyon to a rock grotto surrounded by tall boulders.
1.2 miles
225 feet
39.03175,
-108.63066
View Colorado trails and campgrounds in a larger map
Or explore hikes around Colorado National Monument on the Hike Finder Map
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Emerald Lake Trail Nymph Lake Dream Lake Emerald Lake Rocky Mountain National Park Bear Lake to Emerald Lake Hike Colorado
Emerald Lake Trail visits a trio of beautiful mountain lakes in Rocky Mountain National Park, easing past Nymph Lake and Dream Lake on the way to Emerald Lake, which is cradled below 12,000-foot peaks along the Continental Divide. This three-lake hike is 3.6 miles round trip with 650 feet of elevation change. This scenic hike begins from Bear Lake Trailhead, where a fourth... Read more.
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Tagged with · Continental Divide · Lakes · National Parks · Rocky Mountains
Distance: 3.6 miles · Elevation change: 650 feet
By: Published: Last updated: October 29, 2016
Bear Lake Nature Trail Rocky Mountain National Park Bear Lake Loop Hike Colorado Bear Lake Trail
To explore an area of lake-filled basins below the Continental Divide, follow Bear Lake Road into the center of Rocky Mountain National Park. Several trails leave from Bear Lake Trailhead, including a three-lake trek to Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, and Emerald Lake. For something shorter, the 2/3 of a mile long stroll around Bear Lake has lots of appeal. Bear Lake Nature Trail... Read more.
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Tagged with · Lakes · National Parks · Nature Trails · Rocky Mountains
Distance: 0.65 miles · Elevation change: 60 feet
By: Published: Last updated: October 29, 2016
Rattlesnake Gulch Trail hike Eldorado Canyon State Park Boulder Colorado
Eldorado Canyon State Park preserves a truly golden section of the Rocky Mountain Foothills near Boulder, Colorado. Its pointed cliffs framing South Boulder Creek are a playground for climbers. Hikers have a lot to enjoy as well, like Rattlesnake Gulch Trail, which is scenic and attraction-packed, covering 3.8 miles on a lollipop loop. The hike takes a moderate route up... Read more.
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Tagged with · Boulder · Colorado State Parks · Eldorado State Park · Ruins
Distance: 3.8 miles · Elevation change: 985 feet
By: Published: Last updated: October 29, 2016
Devils Kitchen Trail is located near the south end of Colorado National Monument at the bottom of rugged No Thoroughfare Canyon. This 1.2-mile hike ascends 225 feet to visits an intriguing rock formation on the side of the canyon where tall boulders have enclosed a rock grotto
Devils Kitchen Trail is located near the south end of Colorado National Monument at the bottom of rugged No Thoroughfare Canyon. This 1.2-mile hike ascends 225 feet to visits an intriguing rock formation on the side of the canyon where tall boulders have enclosed a rock grotto. No Thoroughfare Canyon Two junctions are along the way and the path gets faint toward the end,... Read more.
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Tagged with · Desert Canyons · Fruita · Grand Junction
Distance: 1.2 miles · Elevation change: 225 feet
By: Published: Last updated: June 27, 2016
Monument Canyon Trail to Independence Monument in Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction Colorado
Monument Canyon Trail is six miles long in one direction, dropping from Rim Rock Drive across Monument Canyon to a second trailhead on the eastern edge of the park. Three and a half miles (and 850 vertical feet) from the top, the trail passes Independence Monument, the largest freestanding rock formation in the park. A popular hike along Monument Canyon Trail is a 7-mile... Read more.
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Tagged with · Desert Canyons · Fruita · Grand Junction
Distance: 7 miles · Elevation change: 850 feet
By: Published: Last updated: June 27, 2016