The Canyons Trail at Jewel Cave National Monument
The Canyons Trail is located in Jewel Cave National Monument. It is named for the two canyons that it’s loop trail traverses – Hell Canyon and Lithograph Canyon. It is listed as a 3.5 mile loop trail. The route is generally hiked in a counter-clockwise direction, starting at the Visitors Center and traversing in a mostly westerly direction for about 1 mile to the Picnic Area, where there is an old cabin. There, the trail drops down to the entrance of Bush Cave, which is not connected to Jewel Cave, then goes on to the old entrance to Jewel Cave. The trail then drops down to the canyon floor and heads in a general southeasterly direction for about 1.5 miles to the junction with Lithograph Canyon. At that junction, the trail begins a more northerly direction and ascends upward, back to the Visitors Center. There is plenty of parking at the Visitors Center, along with restrooms and food vending. There are no fees, unless you want to do a cave tour. The loop trail changes altitude about 300 feet from the high point on the trail to the canyons junction. There are plenty of photo opportunities, and freedom to explore here. This is open year-around, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.