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Snow Day at The Monument

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.

Sunday Afternoon Drive

Following the snow-packed road into Fruita Canyon.

Snow-Packed Road

A quick stop at Balanced Rock which was partially obscured by low clouds at this time.

Balanced Rock Sign

Driving back into the snowstorm on the other side of the tunnel.

Back Into The Storm

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.

Road Closed

Can you see Independence Monument? Not today…

Can You See It?

We returned to the Visitor Center parking lot so we could hike the Alcove Nature Trail.

Alcove Nature Trail Sign

Diane hikes ahead of me through the powder on the trail.

Alcove Nature Trail

Into The Canyon

Hiking Into The Alcove

Entering the very short little slot canyon at the end of the trail.

Snow Slot

A view inside the alcove at the end.

The Alcove

A pair of small holes in the sandstone of the canyon wall.

Sandstone Holes

Leaving the alcove and headed back to the trailhead.

Narrowing Canyon

Following our tracks in the snow through the pinyon and juniper forest.

Leaving Tracks In The Snow

The Visitor Center was closed because of the government shutdown.

Government Shutdown 2018-2019

Check out that view!

Check Out That View!

Looking over the edge of Wedding Canyon from the overlook behind the Visitor Center.

The Edge

Stopped below Saddlehorn before starting our drive back down.

Driving Below Saddlehorn

Not much of a distant view today…

Distant View

Driving back through the tunnels again.

Leaving The Tunnels

Under the clouds in Fruita Canyon.

Fruita Canyon

Balanced Rock was a bit more visible as we drove past this time.

Balanced Rock In A Snowstorm

Looking up at one of the tunnels on the other side of the canyon.

Tunnel View

We had a good view of this tower from the other side when we hiked the Wedding Canyon Loop on New Year’s Day.

Wedding Canyon Tower

Rim Rock Drive

Rim Rock Drive

Leaving the snow-covered canyons of the Colorado National Monument.

Snow Day at The Monument

>> Snow Day at The Monument Photo Gallery

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