Rediscovering the Colorado National Monument #2
Sunday, January 6, 2019
This weekend Diane and I stayed home and took it easy, but we did take some time on Sunday afternoon to visit the west side of the Colorado National Monument for a couple of hours during a snowstorm. We drove a snow-packed Rim Rock Drive to its closure gate at the Independence Monument Viewpoint and stopped to take a few photos along the way. We only saw a handful of other vehicles up there braving the winter road conditions. I was hoping to hike a few of the shorter trails along the rim of Wedding Canyon near the Visitor Center in the snow, but once we got up into the Monument we found that the clouds were low and there was no view into the canyons. I didn’t want to hike those trails with no views, so we decided to skip them and only hiked the Alcove Nature Trail this time. I think the last time I hiked this short trail was almost ten years ago, so it was nice to finally revisit it.
Going on Sunday afternoon drive into the Colorado National Monument during a snowstorm.
Following the snow-packed road into Fruita Canyon.
A quick stop at Balanced Rock which was partially obscured by low clouds at this time.
Driving back into the snowstorm on the other side of the tunnel.
Rim Rock Drive was closed at the Independence Monument Viewpoint. It looks like someone took the opportunity to go cross-country skiing on the snow-covered road this morning.
Can you see Independence Monument? Not today…
We returned to the Visitor Center parking lot so we could hike the Alcove Nature Trail.
Diane hikes ahead of me through the powder on the trail.
Entering the very short little slot canyon at the end of the trail.
A view inside the alcove at the end.
A pair of small holes in the sandstone of the canyon wall.
Leaving the alcove and headed back to the trailhead.
Following our tracks in the snow through the pinyon and juniper forest.
The Visitor Center was closed because of the government shutdown.
Check out that view!
Looking over the edge of Wedding Canyon from the overlook behind the Visitor Center.
Stopped below Saddlehorn before starting our drive back down.
Not much of a distant view today…
Driving back through the tunnels again.
Under the clouds in Fruita Canyon.
Balanced Rock was a bit more visible as we drove past this time.
Looking up at one of the tunnels on the other side of the canyon.
We had a good view of this tower from the other side when we hiked the Wedding Canyon Loop on New Year’s Day.
Rim Rock Drive
Leaving the snow-covered canyons of the Colorado National Monument.