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
39.105298, -108.72659
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
39.100602, -108.734229
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
39.101055, -108.735169
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
39.095956, -108.732736
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
39.095232, -108.72458
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
39.075427, -108.723505
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
39.025521, -108.631355

View Colorado National Monument in a larger Google Map
Or explore hikes around Colorado National Monument on the Hike Finder Map
hikespeak
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 CanyonThere are a pair of junctions along the way, and the path gets... Read more.
    OK! Add to trails I’ve hiked
    OK! Add to trails I want to hike
Tagged with: | |
Distance: 1.2 miles – Elevation change: 225 feet
By: hikespeak Last updated: July 20, 2014
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.
    OK! Add to trails I’ve hiked
    OK! Add to trails I want to hike
Tagged with: | |
Distance: 7 miles – Elevation change: 850 feet
By: hikespeak Last updated: July 21, 2014
hiking Colorado National Monument Canyon Coke Ovens Trail
Coke Oven's Trail shares a trailhead with Monument Canyon Trail and the collection of rock domes can be visited as their own destination or as a side attraction on a longer trek into Monument Canyon. The hike to Coke Ovens is one-mile round trip with 180 feet of elevation loss. From the pullout along Rim Rock Drive, begin hiking east into the canyon. After... Read more.
    OK! Add to trails I’ve hiked
    OK! Add to trails I want to hike
Tagged with: | |
Distance: 1 mile – Elevation change: 180 feet
By: hikespeak Last updated: July 19, 2014
Otto's Trail Colorado National Monument
Otto's Trail is one of the shorter hikes along Rim Rock Drive in Colorado National Monument. Like Window Rock Trail, this 0.75-mile stroll descends gradually to a cliff overlooking Monument Canyon. The view showcases Independence Monument, the tallest freestanding formation in the canyon, and a point of fascination for visitors dating back to the first park supervisor,... Read more.
    OK! Add to trails I’ve hiked
    OK! Add to trails I want to hike
Tagged with: | |
Distance: 0.75 miles – Elevation change: 85 feet
By: hikespeak Last updated: July 21, 2014
Alcove Nature Trail in Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction Colorado
Across the road from the park visitor center (and Canyon Rim Trail) is Alcove Nature Trail. This track is set back from the canyon rim, which limits views of the great landscape. What this trail offers instead is an informative hike with numbered markers that coincide with entries in a guide booklet. The entries describe plants and animals in the park as well as the... Read more.
    OK! Add to trails I’ve hiked
    OK! Add to trails I want to hike
Tagged with: | | |
Distance: 1 mile – Elevation change: 175 feet
By: hikespeak Last updated: July 19, 2014