Colorado National Monument

The Colorado National Monument is a major contrast to the well known Rocky Mountains of Colorado. This red rock desert landscape is a beautiful area filled with rock formations, canyons and stunning plateaus.

This is truly a little known secret in Colorado tourism. Follow our guide to plan your Colorado Monument trip.


The monument is located between Fruita Colorado and Grand Junction Colorado. Get out your Colorado map and you cannot miss it. The Grand Junction Airport offers easy access to the area and Grand Junction lodging is hard to beat.


The Colorado National Monument offers numerous activities including scenic driving, hiking, and cycling.

Rim Rock Trail

The Rim Rock Trail is a 23 mile drive or bicycle ride that exposes you to some of the best scenery in the monument. Viewing areas and trailheads are well signed. Take your time on this road.

Best Monument Hiking

Window Rock is the most scenic short trail at only .50 miles this allows views of Independence Monument and other rock formations. The 12 mile Monument Canyon Hike is our favorite route into the backcountry. It is a steep route into the canyon but the views looking up at high reaching rock formations are worth the effort.

Other backcountry routes include black ridge trail, old gordon trail, liberty cap, ute canyon, and the rugged no thoroughfare canyon.

Best Rock Climbing

There are many adventurous rock climbing opportunities in the Colorado Monument but Independence Monument is the most popular. The top of the monument offers panoramic views of the unique area. This may be the best of rock climbing Colorado.


Camping at the Saddlehorn Campground is a first come, first serve system and is open to RV's but does not have any hook-ups. Free backcountry permits are available but you must pack enough water to last the entire trip.

Leave Colorado National Monument and return to National Parks