Colorado National Monument

Location: Grand Junction, Colorado
Date: August 17, 2011

Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument in far western Colorado near the Utah border encompasses steep canyons cut from the red sandstone of the Colorado Plateau.  This monument is just west of Grand Junction and is easily accessed from Interstate 70.

A 23 mile park road travels from Grand Junction to Fruita via several viewpoints and facilities atop the plateau overlooking the canyons.  Both ends of the road begin in the valley and rapidly ascend to the plateau.  The vegetation here is the classic pinyon-juniper woodland of the Colorado Plateau where bighorn sheep, coyotes, ravens, lizards, and jays are common.

Coke Ovens
There are several different features that have been carved out of the plateau, including the Coke Ovens, Pipe Organ, Window Rock, and Balanced Rock.  The most popular canyons, including Monument Canyon, are in the northern part of the park.  Several trails provide access to the canyons as well as upland areas, and many people bike the park road.  There is very little water in the park, and temperatures can get quite hot as it was over 100 degrees when I arrived around 5:00 pm in August.

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