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The Island

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I’ve seen The Island sticking up between Wedding Canyon and Monument Canyon for many years while photographing the Colorado National Monument from the overlooks along Rim Rock Drive. You can see The Island across the canyon in the photo below taken earlier this year from Grand View.

Personal Rainbow by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

For a long time I’ve wanted to hike up there but never seemed to get around to it. I decided to change that this weekend. I was originally planning on hiking up there this morning with my friend Jackson, but when I woke up it was raining pretty hard out so we cancelled the hike. Later in the afternoon the rain had stopped for a while and I was ready to get out of the house and get some hiking in, so I decided to hike up there on my own. There was still a good chance of rain, but I only got sprinkled on a few times during the hike. The heavier rain managed to miss me. There is no trail up to the top of The Island, so I was on my own as far as route-finding went. I stayed along the rim on the Monument Canyon side so I could enjoy the views and the hiking along the edge was pretty easy most of the way. It was a very enjoyable off-trail hike close to town.

Following the rim of The Island as I hiked to the top. You can see the Monument Canyon trail below.

Hiking the Rim by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

As I followed the rim I could hear the normally dry wash flowing down below from all the rain we’ve been getting recently.

Flowing Wash by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Nice light on the sandstone cliffs that make up the face of the Monument.

Face of the Monument by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The view up Monument Canyon with water flowing down the wash.

Monument Canyon by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

As I neared the point of This Island I was treated to views down into Wedding Canyon on the other side.

Wedding Canyon by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Nice view of Monument Mesa across the canyon. If you look closely you can spot Mushroom Rock.

The Highlands by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The very point of The Island overlooking Independence Monument.

The Point by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Looking back from the end of the point.

On the Point by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s a quick panorama I made showing the top of The Island. Wedding Canyon is on the left, Monument Canyon is on the right, and the Grand Valley and Book Cliffs are straight ahead. Click on the photo for a larger version on Flickr.

The Island Panorama by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

One more view of Monument Mesa and Monument Canyon as I started my hike back down.

Island View by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I followed the rim most of the way back down.

The Edge by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I really enjoyed this hike since there were some nice but different views of familiar canyons and it was great to find plenty of solitude close to home.

>> The Island Photo Gallery


  1. Steve Obser
    Steve Obser September 16, 2013

    Randy, I always enjoy seeing your work and this is by far the best photo album I’ve seen of “The Island”. I first went up there in mid-April on a ranger-led hike with Annie Runde, then my group “Grand Junction Hike-N-Bike” went on the 4th of July to watch the Colorado Technical Rescue Team raise the flag. It was pretty cool!

    I’ve gone a couple of other times to look for ways to come down the Wedding Canyon side but the only one I found was too hairy to take a group.

    I really like that you were able to catch the wash flowing in Monument Canyon!

    • Randy Langstraat
      Randy Langstraat September 16, 2013

      Thanks Steve!

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