Press "Enter" to skip to content

Ute Canyon to White Rocks

Colorado National Monument Traverse IV
Saturday, February 25, 2017

Gold Star Canyon
We saw a little blue sky when we reached Gold Star Canyon near the end of our hike.

This year I decided to plan our annual Colorado National Monument Traverse hike a little earlier than usual since our upcoming wedding and honeymoon are going to be taking over much of the month of March, and I wasn’t sure if we’d have time to fit it into our busy schedule later this spring. I also wanted to keep the hike a little shorter than usual since it would only be a day hike and we would be going to a concert in the evening.

On Saturday morning we dropped Diane’s car off at the White Rocks Trailhead and then took my Jeep to the upper end of the Ute Canyon Trail. We would start our hike here at sunrise and then follow the trail down to it’s intersection with the Liberty Cap Trail. From there we followed the Precambrian Bench Trail over to Gold Star Canyon where we descended to the White Rocks. The hike ended up being almost ten miles in length and was pretty easy going. Unfortunately, the partly cloudy forecast for the morning quickly became mostly overcast which gave us a gray sky for most of the hike, so I didn’t end up taking very many photos. It was also a bit colder out than it’s been recently and was about 14 degrees out when we started the hike. Most of the trail was dry, but there was a little fresh snow on the switchbacks into Ute Canyon and some mud in Gold Star Canyon.

We briefly caught the sunrise as we started down the switchbacks of the Ute Canyon Trail.

Upper Ute Canyon Sunrise

Colors in stone.

Colorful Rock

We saw a couple of good mountain lion tracks along the trail in Ute Canyon.

Cat Track

Ute Canyon Arch

Ute Canyon Arch

A little blue sky in Ute Canyon.

Ute Canyon Sandstone

We stopped to see the little dinosaur tracks that we found a few years ago.

Little Dinosaur Tracks

Liberty Cap above and the Grand Mesa in the distance as we reached the mouth of Ute Canyon.

Liberty Cap

Historic relics along the trail between the Corkscrew Trail and Liberty Cap Trail.

Quaker State

Historic Fence

A nice view along the Precambrian Bench.

Bench View

A distant view of Bench Trail Arch. I still need to climb up to this one. Maybe sometime this spring…

Bench Trail Arch

Following the Bench Trail.

Precambrian Bench Trail

Diane hikes ahead of me in Gold Star Canyon.

Gold Star Canyon Hiker

Looking over to Otto’s Staircase. It’s difficult to see in this photo (especially if you don’t know where it is), but there is a way to climb up to the rim of the canyon over there.

Otto's Staircase

I stopped to check out the petroglyphs at White Rocks before we headed back up Rim Rock Drive to pick up my Jeep.

White Rocks Petroglyphs

Monument Petroglyphs

Here is a map and GPS track from our hike if you want to check it out for yourself.


>> Ute Canyon to White Rocks Photo Gallery

If you are interested, you can check out our previous Colorado National Monument Traverses here:

I. The Face of the Monument
II. The Monument from Top to Bottom
III. Colorado National Monument Western Loop


  1. Alice
    Alice February 28, 2017

    A beautiful hike, great photos as always. Congratulation for the wedding!

  2. Elisa
    Elisa March 5, 2017

    Nice shots! I’ve so wanted to do a similar shuttle trip. Excited to go find the arch. Also, nice to know Matt isn’t the only one who keeps his camera off when the sky is too gray!

    Congrats on the wedding!!! (We just got engaged this weekend!)

Leave a Reply