Colorado National Monument is easily one of the most scenic places in the state, home to gigantic, towering monoliths. There are two main entrances to the park, one to the east in Grand Junction and the other west in Fruita. The 23-mile Rim Rock Drive connects the two. The auto tour is generally open year round, weather permitting.
Colorado National Monument is a stunning natural landmark located only minutes from downtown Grand Junction. The main attractions are gigantic sandstone rocks that tower out of the ground along the whole park. Pets are allowed in the Monument but are restricted on trails. They are permitted in Saddlehorn Campground and most paved areas.
Biking, Camping, Hiking, Rock Climbing, Auto Tour
The drive itself is a quite the engineering accomplishment, as it winds up, down, around, and through Colorado Plateau Mountains. Striking vistas occur non-stop with plenty of scenic viewpoints to pull your car or bike over.
Aside from a car, biking and hiking are the two other methods of transportation inside the park. Numerous scenic hiking trails exist throughout the park, with plenty of easy and short ones for a quick hike. Pets aren’t permitted on any trails, but are permitted in the campground and in parking lots.
Make sure you stop by each of the scenic overlooks. Several of them contain nifty little hikes through various landscapes. The drive takes about an hour by itself, but plan to spend at least a few hours, so you can enjoy all the stops. Some of the favorites are Ute Canyon Overlook, Independence Monument and The Highlands.
Saddlehorn Campground is the only campground in the park, located on the western end near Fruita. Campsites are fairly primitive, with a table, fire ring and tent pad. They overlook the town of Fruita. The Colorado River State Park has a Fruita section, located near the western start of the monument. Campsites here have electric hook-ups and river access.
Backpacking: Hiking and camping in the backcountry is permitted. Pets are not permitted in the backcountry.
Biking: The 23-mile Rim Rock Drive is popular for biking.
Camping: Saddlehorn Campground is located near the Visitor Center. $20 per night; Open Year Round; 80 sites; First-come, first-serve; RVs permitted up to 40 feet; Wood fires are not permitted anywhere in the Monument. No electric hookups or showers.
Hiking: There are several short hikes available at most of the scenic points along Rim Rock Drive.
Rock Climbing: Permitted. Independence Monument is a very popular climb. See regulations.
Address: 1750 Rimrock Dr, Fruita, CO
Season: Year round
Entrance Fees: $10/vehicle, $5/motorcycle/individual (good for 7 days)
Pets: Yes, on-leash (in some areas)
Maps: Colorado National Monument (PDF)