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Colorado National Monument: A hike for all levels

A short drive from Grand Junction, the Colorado National Monument is a breathtaking region of land that you certainly don’t want to miss.  Whether you started hiking last week or have miles of trail under your belt, there’s a trail for everyone in the park. Pick one of our suggested hikes below and enjoy a wonderful day in the National Monument.


Beginner Hike: Otto’s Trail

Distance: 0.75 miles

Elevation Gain/Loss: 85 ft

Named after the beloved park ranger, John Otto, who built more than thirty trails in the park at the turn of the century, Ott’s Trail is an epic hike for those who prefer a short stroll.  Measuring no more than 0.75 miles, the trail slowly descends a meager 85 feet to a spectacular overlook. From this point, hikers can view Independent Monument, Praying Hands, Sentinel Spire, and the Pipe Organs.  Additionally, an informational panel at the end of the trail offers a look into the Monument during John Otto’s days. Hikers of any level will enjoy this hike.


Moderate Hike: Serpent’s Trail

Distance: 3.9 miles

Elevation Gain/Loss: 790ft

Built as the road prior to the construction of Rim Rock Road, the Serpent’s Trail used to be known as the “Crookedest Road in the World” due to its sinuous nature.  On your way out, the trail winds upwards through countless switchbacks. Don’t be deterred by the elevation gain. Even if you need to take a few breathers on the way up, the scenic panoramas of impressive sandstone creations along the trail will rejuvenate your body and soul.  


Advanced Hike:  Liberty Cap Trail

Distance:  14 miles

Elevation Gain/Loss: 1100ft

Sheer distance and aggressive climbs make this hike an advanced rating.  If you’re feeling up to the challenge, however, the Liberty Cap Trail will show you a complete and diverse picture of the Monument.  Fascinating prairies, aromatic pinyon-juniper forests, and sweeping views will give you the chance to see every angle of the landscape.  To complete the hike, an ancient, compressed sand dune awaits you. Dubbed the Liberty Cap, this incredible rock formation overlooks the Monument from the top of the Ute Canyon.  This hike will be so epic, you don’t even realize you logged double digit miles.

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