Monument Canyon Trail

Page Type
Route
Location:
Colorado, United States, North America
Route Type:
Hiking
Season:
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Time Required:
Half a day
Difficulty:
Hike

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Monument Canyon Trail
Created On: Apr 22, 2016
Last Edited On: Oct 27, 2017

Overview

Monument Canyon Trail starts on Colorado National Monument’s Rim Rock Drive at an elevation of 6130 ft. It immediately begins to twist and turn going down the red walls of the canyon. After 1.1 miles, the trail drops 650 vertical feet to reach the bottom of the canyon. For the next 5.3 miles, the trail meanders at the bottom of the canyon dropping an additional 750 vertical feet to end at Monument Canyon Trailhead in a suburb of the city of Grand Junction. Along the way, the trail gives you good views of some of the park’s most iconic rock formations including Coke Ovens, Kissing Couple and Independence Monument.

See this page for rock climbing and general information about Independence Monument, a 450 ft tall rocky tower.








Getting There

Upper Trailhead:
This signed trailhead sits on the park’s main road (Rim Rock Drive) roughly 7 miles from the western entrance of the park.

Lower Trailhead
From the junction of Monument Road and Route 340 (Broadway) in Grand Junction, drive 7.3 miles west and turn left onto Fawn Lane. Parking area is a short distance at the end of Fawn Lane.

Route Description

This is a description of the trail from the upper trailhead on Rim Rock Road to the lower trailhead on Fawn Lane.

Place
Elevation
Distance
Upper Trailhead
6130 ft
zero miles
Wedding Canyon Junction
5250 ft
3.90 miles
Lower Trailhead
4700 ft
2.50 miles
Total One Way
-
6.40 miles


At the upper trailhead, the rocky formations known as Coke Ovens can be seen.

Coke OvensCoke Ovens


Below you, walls drop 650 vertical feet to the bottom of the canyon. The trail twists and turns going down the walls.

Upper parts of trail
Monument Canyon
Upper parts of the trail
Upper parts of the trail


View of the canyon half way down the walls.

Monument CanyonMonument Canyon


More walls.

Upper parts of the trail
Upper parts of the trail
Upper parts of the trail
Upper parts of the trail


A closer view of the Coke Ovens.

Coke OvensCoke Ovens


After 1.1 miles, the trail reaches the bottom of the canyon and heads east at the base of a wall.

On Monumet Canyon Trail
On Monument Canyon Trail
On Monument Canyon Trail
On Monument Canyon Trail

On Monument Canyon Trail


Looking up the other branches of the canyon.

Monument Canyon


Continuing down the trail.

On Monument Canyon Trail
On Monument Canyon Trail
On Monument Canyon Trail
On Monument Canyon Trail


Kissing Couple can now be seen.

Kissing CoupleKissing Couple
Kissing CoupleKissing Couple

Kissing CoupleKissing Couple


Independence Monument can now be seen. From this angle, it appears broad.

Independence MonumentIndependence Monument


Looking back at Kissing Couple.

Kissing Couple on the leftKissing Couple on the left


At the base of Independence Monument the trail reaches the junction with Wedding Canyon Trail. You can go either way to reach the lower trailhead. This description continues down the Monument Canyon Trail.

Independence MonumentIndependence Monument


The trail continues downhill. The city of Grand Junction with Grand Mesa rising above it comes to view.

Grand Mesa & the city of Grand JunctionGrand Mesa


Looking back at Independence Monument.

Independence MonumentIndependence Monumet
Independence MonumentIndependence Monument


Interesting rock near the trail.

On Monument Canyon Trail
Grand Mesa & the city of Grand Junction



Looking back up the canyon.

Monument CanyonMonument Canyon


At the end of the canyon, a sign directs you toward a fence at the edge of the park. The trail parallels the fence with homes sitting right on the other side of the fence. After a short distance, the fence goes away and you reach the lower trailhead.

Near lower trailheadNear lower trailhead

Essential Gear

Hiking boots.






Monument Canyon Trail

Route
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Geography

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Parents

Colorado National MonumentRoutes