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Fresh Snow & Fog at the Colorado National Monument

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Morning Light
A beautiful sunrise from the Grand View overlook in the Colorado National Monument.

Visiting the Colorado National Monument in the winter with a fresh coat of snow and canyons filled with fog is a magical experience that doesn’t happen too often. But that’s exactly what I woke up to this morning! I took a detour on my way to work so I could spend a little time photographing the sunrise in these conditions and I’m glad that I did since it turned out to be one of the more spectacular sunrises I’ve witnessed in the Monument. Enjoy the photos!

The drive to the Monument was a little slower than usual since visibility in the Grand Valley was pretty low and I got stuck behind plenty of slow drivers on their way to work. Once I reached the west entrance I quickly drove up the switchbacks of Rim Rock Drive until I was out of the clouds and had a much clearer view of the valley. Mount Garfield and the Grand Mesa are visible in the distance over the low layer of clouds.

Above it All

Just a nice view over the clouds to the Book Cliffs this morning.

Distant View

I liked the way that the signs were coated with snow.

Fruita Canyon View

My first real stop was at the Independence Monument Overlook where I planned to watch the sunrise. I took this photo before the sun came up as the fog crept up Wedding Canyon and Monument Canyon.

Blue Hour Fog

Eventually the sun began to light up the top of the clouds.

Heavy Fog

Warm light strikes the canyon rim in front of me.

First Light

A little more light on the clouds surrounding Independence Monument and the edge of The Island.

Independence Sunrise

After the sun had come up I moved on to Grand View, which is one of my favorite overlooks in the park. I had a lot of fun taking photographs here with the warm light, cool shadows and constantly changing fog.

I love the different layers in this one. The Pipe Organ is lit up on the foreground with Sentinel Spire and Window Rock hiding in the clouds in the background.

Foggy Layers

Independence Monument, front and center.

Independence Monument

Independence Monument and The Island.

Grand View

Click on this wide panorama for the real ‘Grand View’ this morning.

Grand View Sunrise

Looking over the top of a monolith and Monument Canyon.

Monolith Top

The Pipe Organ and the overlook at the end of Otto’s Trail.

Pipe Organ

Back-lit fog surrounds the Kissing Couple.

Morning Fire

After a little while the fog moved further up the canyon and became thicker, obscuring some of the monoliths below.

Shrouded in Clouds

After leaving Grand View and continuing along Rim Rock Drive I stopped for this photo of the overlook and monolith.

Grand View Overlook

Morning above the Coke Ovens.

Morning at The Coke Ovens

Down in the valley it was overcast, but up here it was bright and sunny. A beautiful way to start the day.

Sunny Up Here

Looking back to Artist’s Point.

Artist's Point

Sixteen miles back to Grand Junction…


A quick stop at the Ute Canyon Overlook.

Ute Canyon

Followed by a brief stop near the head of Red Canyon.

Red Canyon

A snow-covered Cold Shivers Point.

Cold Shivers Snow

Descending down into No Thoroughfare Canyon I stopped for a photo of this rock, known as the Dog’s Tooth. I don’t think I’ve ever taken a photo of it before?

Dog's Tooth

As I descended lower into the canyon I soon found myself under the clouds again with no sunlight.

Back Under the Clouds

>> Fresh Snow & Fog Photo Gallery

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