Friday, July 4, 2008
Mounument Canyon Trail, Colorado National Monument
Monument Canyon Trail
Colorado National Monument
Date Hiked: July 4, 2008
Distance: 7 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain/Loss: 850ft
Managing Agency: National Park Service
Colorado National Monument Hiking Brochure (NPS)
Directions: This hike starts from the Upper Monument Canyon Trailhead located 3.8 mi east of the Colorado NM Visitor Center on Rim Rock Drive.
This is a wonderful trail and takes you into the heart of Colorado National Monument. For the first mile, you descend down along the high cliff wall to the bottom of Monument Canyon. This part of the hike is steep but phenomenal. Once you reach the canyon floor the next 2.5 miles weaves you through red rock formations including the Kissing Couple and takes you to the base of Independence Monument (the park's main attraction). The hike along the canyon floor is relatively flat and it gets very hot, bring lots of water. Once you reach the monument you can continue for another 2.5 miles to the lower trailhead or head back the way you came. The climb out of the canyon is steep so save some energy.
This hike just may be the best way to experience the grandeur of Colorado National Monument and it is well worth the effort.