Black Ridge and CCC Trails

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Colorado, United States, North America
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Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
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Half a day

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Black Ridge and CCC Trails
Created On: May 10, 2016
Last Edited On: Oct 27, 2017


Black Ridge Trail

Unlike most other trails in Colorado National Monument, Black Ridge Trail does not go down into the canyons. It follows a 6 mile path on top of the juniper covered plateau going from park visitor center to Liberty Cap Tail’s upper trailhead. Along the way, at times, it provides you with views of the canyons as well as the cities of Grand Junction and Fruita far below. A series of eroded mountains known as Book Cliffs can also be seen to the north of the cities.

Civilian Conservation Corps Trail

CCC is a 0.8 mile long trail that goes from Monument Canyon Trail’s upper trailhead to a spot roughly half way along the length of Black Ridge Trail.


Visitor Center Trailhead
Visitor Center is located on park’s Rim Rock Drive 4 miles from the west entrance of the park.

Liberty Cap Upper Trailhead
Liberty Cap Trailhead sits on the park’s Rim Rock Drive 11 miles from the west entrance of the park and 12 miles from the east entrance.

Monument Canyon Upper Trailhead
This trailhead is found on park’s Rim Rock Drive roughly 7 miles from the western entrance of the park.

Black Ridge Trail

This is a description of the trail from Park Visitor Center to Liberty Cap Upper Trailhead.

Visitor Center Trailhead
5760 ft
zero miles
Fruita Dugway Trail Junction
6030 ft
0.80 miles
CCC Trail Junction
6520 ft
2.70 miles
High Point
6730 ft
Liberty Cap Upper Trailhead
6500 ft
2.30 miles
Total One Way
5.80 miles

At the Visitor Center, cross the road and find the sign for Black Ridge Trail (Don’t confuse this with the nearby short Alcove Nature Trail). Follow the trail uphill.

Near Visitor Center

As you go higher, park road, red/orange walls and parts of the town of Fruita come to view.

Park Road and city of Fruita

The trail goes through a barbed wire fence and actually exits Colorado National Monument. You will soon reach the signed junction with Fruita Dugway Trail which turns right and goes downhill. Turn left and follow Black Ridge Trail uphill.

On Black Ridge Trail

The trail takes you through a juniper forest. Beautiful meadows open up every now and then.

On Black Ridge Trail
On Black Ridge Trail

The trail then reaches a “neck”, a narrow area where steep slopes drop down on both sides.

The NeckThe Neck

Views of canyons, meadows and Book Cliffs.

On Black Ridge Trail
On Black Ridge Trail
The distant Book Cliffs
The distant Book CliffsBook Cliffs

At a gate, you will go up steps on a log and enter Colorado National Monument again.

Where the trail re-enters the park

At a signed junction, you will reach the junction with CCC Trail on the left. Continue straight going slowly uphill. The glare of the city of Grand Junction in the early morning sun. Grand Mesa also seen.

City of Grand JunctionGrand Junction & Grand Mesa

The trail slowly reaches its highest point in an area covered with colorful bare slopes.

Near the high point
Near the high point

You will then slowly go down in elevation to reach Rim Rock Road near Liberty Cap Upper Trailhead.

Near Liberty Cap Upper Trailhead

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Trail

CCC Trail starts at Monument Canyon Upper Trailhead at an elevation of 6130 ft and continues 0.8 miles to end at the junction with Black Ridge Trail at 6520 ft. Near trailhead, you will have good views of Monument Canyon including the slick-rock formations known as Coke Ovens.

Coke OvensCoke Ovens
On CCC TrailMonument Canyon