Saturday, April 5, 2014

Colorado National Monument: Canyon Rim Trail

I was surprised at the impressive sights and magnitude of Colorado National Monument when I first visited it. The idea of it being a national monument rather than a national park led to significantly lesser expectations of what it has to offer. In my opinion, Colorado National Monument has the "outstanding scenic feature or natural phenomena" that is part of the distinction between national park and national monument.

In this post, I include some brief text about and photographs taken from the Colorado National Monument's Canyon Rim Trail.

The previous photograph was taken very near the Canyon Rim Trail trail head which is very close to the Saddlehorn Visitor Center.

The Saddlehorn Vistor Center and Canyon Rim Trail are much closer to the Fruita Entrance (west entrance) of the Colorado National Monument than to the Grand Junction Entrance (east entrance).

The 23-mile Rim Rock Drive connects the Fruita entrance of Colorado National Monument to the Grand Junction entrance. It is described as, "one of the grandest scenic drives in the American West" that "offers redrock canyons, crisp blue skies, and glorious views along the way for motorists and bicyclists." I also agree with that page's assessment that "the road is inseparable from the identity of the Monument."

Many of the trails at Colorado National Monument are short and easy and many are easily accessible from Rim Rock Drive. Canyon Rim Trail is very accessible, especially from the Fruita entrance, and provides spectacular views of some of the canyon's most notable features.

There has been recent renewed interest in making this a national park as described in the 2 April 2014 Denver Post article Colorado National Monument in new effort to become national park. The current proposal is to name it Rim Rock Canyons National Park.

Colorado National Monument is located near Grand Junction and Fruita in western Colorado off of Interstate 70. Photographs are not nearly as dramatic as seeing Colorado National Monument firsthand.

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