Located between Grand Junction and Fruita is a series of six canyons which make up the Colorado National Monument. The monument offers stunning, colorful, epic views.
Park Ranger Michelle Wheatley said many visitors enjoy the solitude the monument offers in the winter, a chance to contemplate what she calls the “Parade of Monoliths.”
“At one time these rock formations were connected to the ridges in the distance and the softer rock materials eroded away, leaving behind these natural skyscrapers,” she explained.
“If you gaze down into the canyon, you can actually go back and look at 1.7 billion years of geological history.”
And the monument is full of wild creatures. “You see a lot of raptors up here, you see the desert bighorn on occasion,” said Wheatley. “You’ll see a coyote, you’ll see bobcats.”
At times there is enough snow in the area for cross country skiing and snowshoeing, but most visitors visit the monument either in their cars or on their bicycles.
The usual path is for visitors to travel along the 23-mile Rim Rock Drive that runs through the monument. There are also plenty of trails winding away from overlooks which allow hikers to get up close and personal with the canyons.
It’s a journey most say is well worth the effort.
“When people come here, they’re just in awe of this landscape,” Wheatley said.
Reach the Colorado National Monument by taking Interstate 70 through Grand Junction to Fruita and follow signs to the west entrance and the visitor center. You can also visit the monument’s Web site.
Plan your next visit to the Grand Junction area by logging on to VisitGrandJunction.com or call the visitor and convention bureau toll free at (800) 962-2547.