The Colorado National Monument rises over 2,000 feet above the Colorado River and provides a grand backdrop to the city of Grand Junction. The Colorado National Monument consists of 32 square miles of rugged, up and down terrain with towering, brilliantly colored rock. Yep, school is back in session….a little geography can’t hurt!
The Monument is part of the greater Colorado Plateau which also embraces geologic wonders like the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Arches national parks. It is a semi-desert landscape and home to a multitude of wildlife such as; mountain lions, mule deer, antelope, bobcats, lizards, and snakes just to name a few.
Folks from around the world travel to this part of Colorado for the hiking and biking availability. Exploring by trail is a great way to see The Monument, and that’s exactly what Al and I did several times during our month long stay in Grand Junction.
For the first time visitor, we would recommend starting off with a scenic drive. Rim Rock Drive offers 23 miles of beautiful views with numerous overlooks along the way. This road is also very popular with cyclists, my brother being one of them. The road climbs from the Grand Valley of the Colorado River to the park’s high-country, then winds along the rim of the plateau. Quite the workout via a bicycle! I think I’ll stick with a motorized form of transportation….thank you 😎
One of my favorite days hiking The Monument was the day we hiked the Devil’s Kitchen trail. This is an easy 2 mile round trip hike that did require a little agility at the top. The trail leads to a rock room formed by huge upright boulders.
My brother and sister-in-law, who are very familiar with this trail, tagged along as tour guides. In the above photo, the trail is in the center and our destination are the boulders. We’ll be climbing up in there.
The hike was filled with plenty of laughter, good company, and gorgeous scenery. This was the perfect hike to get Al and me back on the trails. We climbed, and climbed, and at times lost sight of the trail, but amongst the four agile hikers, we easily found our way.
Just a little further……
We hang around at the top taking in the beautiful scenery surrounding us and contemplate “whatever shall we do for lunch”. With today’s million dollar question answered, we start the hike back to the vehicle.
What goes up, must come down! 😆
With camera in hand and wanting to capture the agile hikers on their descent, I quickly scramble down before the gang. I had no intention of trying to climb back down the huge boulder that my brother helped pull his wife and me up onto. Thus, I found, what I thought to be an easier way down.
I quickly scramble down just in time to watch my brother forge his own way. His wife, in a questioning tone, asks, “Why aren’t you going down the way your mountain goat sister went? While glancing around and with a slight hesitation he responds, “Oh man, I didn’t see where she went. I wondered how she made it down so fast”.
Sister-in-law opts to follow MY trail with the aid of her husband. Al pulls up the rear. I sure was glad to have started the journey down the trail first so I could capture all of today’s exciting antics.
We were laughing and teasing my brother on the entire hike back to the vehicle about his trail blazing abilities and he, of course, was a good sport about it.
We really enjoyed this hike and it was exactly what we needed to pique our interest in the trails. Thanks to my brother and his wife for the tour followed by a fabulous lunch. Here’s to a lot more fun hikes in our future!