Friday, June 09, 2017

Colorado National Monument, CO

Over Memorial Day Weekend, we headed off to Western Colorado. The purpose of this trip was to head to Montrose and the Gunnison National Park. Unfortunately when we started looking I couldn't find any place to stay. So we decided to check out Grand Junction. When I Googled Grand Junction, Colorado National Monument was the major attraction there.

Drew and I love the National Parks Services! Our new goal is to see at least one in every state!

Colorado National Monument preserves one of the grand landscapes of the American West. But this treasure is much more than a monument. Even though it's small, this 31-square mile reserve boasts a concentrated version of Colorado's redrock expanses, deep canyons and sandstone towers that draw millions to the more popular parks in nearby southern Utah. Best of all, since it sees much less traffic, it's easy to have most of the monument to yourself.

Colorado National Monument was established on May 24, 1911. It contains spectacular canyons cut deep into sandstone, granite–gneiss–schist, rock formations, and extensive areas of igneous rock. It is an area of desert land high on the Colorado Plateau, with pinion and juniper forests. It hosts a wide range of wildlife, including red-tailed hawks, golden eagles, ravens, jays, desert bighorn sheep, and coyotes. Standing on the canyon rim, you can identify over 1.5 billion years of geologic history in nine distinct rock formations that remain neatly arranged by age.

We started off at the North entrance in Fruita, you could enter the park in Grand Junction, but since we were headed South after words, we decided it was a better idea to go North to South, instead of South to North, than back down South. If you are an avid hiker you could hike the whole canyon. I hear it's better to start off in Grand Junction if that is your plan.

If you're not an avid hiker- and more like me who would've love to stay in the hotel's hot tub for most of the day. You can take a beautiful drive through the National Monument. I've read books and articles calling it Colorado's "Grand Canyon". It is one of the most spectacular places I have ever seen. Although the Grand Canyon is more impressive.

Unlike the Grand Canyon, you are able to drive through it, and have amazing views while driving. There are many over-looks that allow you to jump off the "busy" road so you can take pictures. make sure you clear your camera memory. I had forgotten to do it and was so mad when I ran out of room. Luckily I had already moved the older pics over so I didn't feel bad deleting them.

This was the perfect little trip to take. At the time I was still in my first Trimester and had little to no energy, so we took it easy. We ventured off the "path" for a bit, so we could get some cute pictures, and let Rylie work out some energy. Did I mention it's pet friendly too? National Parks are amazing because of that!

Because the monument is open year round, there is always something to do. Whether it be nice hikes through the park, enjoying scenery and wildlife on a nice drive. Cross-country ski during the winter. Or rock climb in the beautiful summer. No matter the group you are with, the season you visit, or your interests, Colorado National Monument has something for you.

1750 Rim Rock Drive, Fruita, CO 81521
Pets allowed on Paved trails only
Cost: $15 per vehicles / Free with NPS Pass