Saturday, January 17, 2015
After spending a lazy morning at home we decided head over to the Colorado National Monument in the late afternoon to get some hiking in. Last year when scouting for a connecting trail between Monument Canyon and the Precambrian Bench Trail, we came across a faint trail that went into Monument Canyon below Mushroom Rock that we wanted to explore further. We decided to follow that trail this afternoon to see if it would eventually connected to the main Monument Canyon trail. We started at the White Rocks trailhead and climbed the steep trail into Gold Star Canyon onto the Precambrian Bench and hiked around the point of Monument Mesa under Mushroom Rock. The trail got pretty hard to follow once we were in Monument Canyon, but we managed to keep on track with a few minor detours. Unfortunately, we ran out of time and had to turn around before reaching the end of the trail. We never did find a connection to the main Monument Canyon trail, and we had continued well past the point where the main trail went up a side canyon. We will have to return another time to find out where this trail goes and explore more of the upper reaches of Monument Canyon.
View from the bench in Gold Star Canyon.
Scenery along the way as we hiked around the point of Monument Mesa.
Nice view across Monument Canyon to The Island.
Mushroom Rock above the trail.
A cool alcove above the trail near our turnaround point.
Looking into the upper reaches of Monument Canyon.
Hiking back towards the East Entrance.
View across the Grand Valley to the Book Cliffs as the evening shadow creeps along the valley floor.
We made it back to my Jeep at the trailhead just before it started to get dark out. It was a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon.