Located in Fruita, Colorado, this stunning landscape isn’t what comes to mind when you think of Colorado, but it’s giant red rock formations and exploring possibilities make this area a must-do on your Colorado bucket list.
When you’re driving into Fruita, it’s hard to miss the rugged, red landscape towering above you just off the interstate. One of Colorado’s best-kept secrets, the Colorado National Monument is a beautiful place to spend your day or overnight and lucky for you, there are many ways you explore this incredible landmark.
Rim Rock Drive Hosts Some Awesome Views
Drive this only if you want to witness the stunning features of this National Park. You can enter the canyon via Rim Rock Drive at either the Grand Junction or Fruita entrance. This 23-mile road winds its way through the park and isn’t for the faint of heart, as it features narrow sections with tight corners and hills. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of viewing areas to stop and catch the view.
At some point, you’ll probably find yourself asking “what caused this awesome canyon to form?” Get the low-down at the Saddlehorn Visitor Center near the Fruita entrance and check out interactive displays, browse the gift shop and attend entertaining Ranger Programs about geology, wildlife or even Astronomy.
Hop Out of Your Car – Hiking the Monument
Without a doubt, hiking in or along the plateau is the best way to truly feel the scale and detail of the Monument.
- For an easy hike for all levels, we recommend Otto’s Trail, a 1 mile round trip out-and-back trail to an overlook of Sentinel Spire, Pipe Organ and Praying Hands features.
- Devil’s Kitchen Trail is an awesome choice for families. The moderate hike leads to a cove of boulders perfect for those who want to interact with the canyon’s features.
- Challenge yourself on the Monument Canyon Trail, an 11-mile trek where you’ll get to soak up the many perspectives of the canyon, and even find yourself at the base of Independence Monument, the canyon’s tallest free-standing formation.
Pedal Through History
Hands down, this is a road cyclist’s dream ride. We all know Fruita is famous for its pedaling culture, so why not explore the Monument by bike? A favorite for road cyclists, Rim Rock Drive is a challenging yet well maintained road so beautiful you won’t even notice the elevation changes! Cruising through the canyon is an experience you won’t soon forget.
Kick Off Your Shoes – Camping in Colorado National Monument
Can’t get enough? Cozy up at Saddlehorn Campground or hike into the monument for a star-studded night in the backcountry. Located on the rim of the canyon, Saddlehorn Campground ensures you’ll get a perfect spot to watch the sunset. Reservable sites are available as well as walk-ins.
Colorado National Monument may not have been on your radar, but it should be now! No matter how you choose to explore it, find all the info you need to know about your time on the western slope at gofruita.com.