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Colorado National Monument Trip Reports

Kodels Point

McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area
Friday, April 17, 2020

This evening after work I drove up to the Visitor Center in the Colorado National Monument so I could try to hike to the top of a distinctive high point located above Kodels Canyon. I’ve looked upon this prominent sandstone outcrop many times as I have driven west on I-70 through Fruita and always wondered if it would be possible for me to climb to the top of it. This point sits on a narrow strip of land within the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area that is sandwiched between the Colorado ...
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Colorado National Monument: Bench Trail Arch

Thursday, April 9, 2020

This evening I went for a short hike into the Colorado National Monument so I could finally get a closer look at Bench Trail Arch. While I’ve hiked below this arch on the Bench Trail a number of times before, it’s always been in the middle of a longer hike through the Monument, so I’ve skipped climbing up to it to save my energy. After work I drove over to the Wildwood Trailhead and arrived just as the temperature out dropped by about ten degrees and it started to rain and get windy. I guess a ...
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Ringing In A New Decade: Wedding Canyon Loop

First Day Hikes: Colorado National Monument
Wednesday, January 1, 2020

As per our annual New Years Day tradition, Diane and I went to bed well before midnight on New Years Eve so we could get up early for our first hike of 2020 on the Wedding Canyon Loop in the Colorado National Monument. We arrived at the trailhead shortly before sunrise but the sky was pretty much overcast and we would not see any sunlight during our entire hike. When I checked the weather forecast the night before there was a winter storm that was supposed to move into the ...
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The Face of The Monument

Colorado National Monument Traverse VI | Grand Junction to Fruita
Rediscovering the Colorado National Monument #4

Sunday, March 10, 2019

After a couple weekends off from adventures because of wet weather and travelling for concerts, it was finally time to get back outside! Although the weather forecast for this weekend wasn’t looking the best, it was certainly looking better than it had over the past couple of weeks, so I planned for us to do our sixth annual Colorado National Monument Traverse on Sunday. This year we were planning to do a repeat of our very first traverse across the ...
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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 ...
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Wedding Canyon Loop 2019

Rediscovering the Colorado National Monument #1
New Year’s Day | Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year! This year Diane and I woke up early on New Year’s Day and headed over to the Colorado National Monument so we could hike the Wedding Canyon Loop at sunrise like we do almost every year. We arrived shortly before sunrise and were the first vehicle at the Monument Canyon Trailhead. When we started hiking the temperature out was in the single digits and the early morning dawn light was just beginning to illuminate the landscape. There was fresh snow on the trail ...
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Christmas Eve Clouds

Christmas Eve | Monday, December 24, 2018

When I got out of work early on Christmas Eve it looked like the winter storm that had been around all day was finally starting to clear out, and I thought it might be a good opportunity to photograph a nice sunset. I stopped home quickly to grab my camera and then headed up to the Colorado National Monument to see if I could get a few photos. Unfortunately, there was a thick bank of low clouds hovering right over the Monument and I never got the light that I was hoping for ...
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The Ribbon Trail to White Rocks

Colorado National Monument Traverse V
Easter | Sunday, April 1, 2018

This weekend Diane and I stayed close to home so we could go on our annual Colorado National Monument Traverse on Sunday. This yearly hike has sort of become a tradition for us where we plan a longer hike through the Colorado National Monument by combining existing trails and off-trail routes. This is the fifth year we have planned a hike like this and this time I wanted to do something on the east side of the Monument that included No Thoroughfare Canyon. If you are interested in checking ...
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Gold Star Canyon Sunset

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

All day long there had been nice clouds floating through the sky, so when I finally left work in the late afternoon I thought it might be a good idea to take a short hike into Gold Star Canyon in the Colorado National Monument to photograph the sunset. I have been trying for years to get a nice photo at sunset from this location without success and I hoped that my luck would change this evening.

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An Afternoon at The Monument

Sunday, January 7, 2018

If you saw this post over on my mircoBLOG, you’ll know that my weekend didn’t go quite as planned. Since I came home early on Saturday night I decided to sleep in late on Sunday morning and had no plans to do anything for the rest of the day. However, in the early afternoon I noticed that a winter storm was going to be breaking up over the Grand Valley, so I headed over to the Colorado National Monument to see if I could take some photos. I was hoping there would be some cool atmospherics ...
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Wedding Canyon Loop 2018

New Year’s Day | Monday, January 1, 2018

After going on my last hike of 2017 the previous day, it was now time for me to go on my very first hike of 2018! I woke up early on Monday morning and drove over to the Lower Monument Canyon Trailhead in the Colorado National Monument so I could hike the Wedding Canyon Loop. This is one of my favorite hikes in the Monument and one I recommend to anyone who asks me about hiking in the area. Hiking this loop on New year’s Day has become somewhat of a tradition ...
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West Rim of No Thoroughfare Canyon

Friday, November 3, 2017

This evening I wanted to squeeze in one more hike after work before the Daylight Savings Time change occurs this weekend and it will start getting dark too early for after-work hikes. I decided to head up to the Colorado National Monument so I could explore the West Rim of No Thoroughfare Canyon. Since I had hiked part of the East Rim last weekend, I wanted to see if a trail that is shown on the National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map of the area actually exists on the West Rim. I’ve looked into this trail before ...
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No Thoroughfare Rim

Saturday, October 28, 2017

While we didn’t plan for it, Saturday turned out to be another day at home for us. After getting some stuff done around the house during the day I decided at the last minute that I needed to get out for a hike in the evening. About an hour and a half before sunset I headed over to the Colorado National Monument and planned to hike up the Old Gordon Trail for a few miles. However, shortly after starting to climb up the trail I decided I didn’t want to stay on the trail and instead ...
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Ute Canyon Autumn

Fall Colors 2017 | Sunday, October 22, 2017

This weekend we were originally planning on heading over the state line into Utah and spending a night camping north of Arches National Park. Unfortunately, I came down with a cold late in the week and we ended up staying home instead. After resting for Saturday and much of Sunday I decided to head up to the Colorado National Monument for sunset in the evening to see how the cottonwoods looked in Ute Canyon. I arrived at an unmarked overlook along the rim of the canyon shortly before sunset and found that ...
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Colorado National Monument Fall Colors

Fall Colors 2017 | No Thoroughfare Canyon
Monday, October 16, 2017

No, the big canyon located at the east end of the Colorado National Monument hasn’t had a name change, it’s still named No Thoroughfare Canyon. But since I went on a short hike into the canyon this evening to check on the fall colors of the cottonwoods, I thought it was a fun take on the name. I try to head up into the Colorado National Monument each October to catch the cottonwoods changing colors, and as you can see from the photos below they were coming along nicely!

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Gold Star Evening

Monday, May 22, 2017

I’ve been wanting to photograph sunset from Gold Star Canyon in the Colorado National Monument for a while now, but every time I think about heading up that way it seems the sky doesn’t want to cooperate with me. Late this evening the sky was looking good for the possibility of a nice sunset, so I headed over to the White Rocks Trailhead and hiked up into Gold Star Canyon. Unfortunately, as I was hiking into the canyon more clouds started to build over the valley and my hopes for a nice sunset never really materialized ...
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Between Red & Ute Canyons

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Since our plans of camping the previous night in the Yellow Cat area had fallen through, we decided to spend a few hours at the Colorado National Monument on Sunday evening instead. There had been stormy weather on and off all day, but it looked like it was finally starting to clear out enough by late afternoon. We started out by hiking and exploring part of the mesa between Red Canyon and Ute Canyon. I had hoped to hike further out to the point, but thunderstorms had moved into the area again so we didn’t stray ...
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Ute Canyon to White Rocks

Colorado National Monument Traverse IV
Saturday, February 25, 2017

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.

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Circling The Island

New Year’s Day | Sunday, January 1, 2017
Wedding Canyon Loop 2017

On New Year’s Day Diane and I were up before sunrise to go on our first hike of 2017 in the Colorado National Monument. As usual, we returned to the Wedding Canyon Loop which makes a complete loop around The Island. We went to bed early on New Year’s Eve so we would have no problems getting up for the hike, although we were awoken by fireworks at midnight, and made it to the Monument Canyon Trailhead just before sunrise. We typically hike this loop in a counter-clockwise ...
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Colorado National Monument Photos

Thursday, September 22, 2016

After work I grabbed my hiking gear and started heading out to Rabbit Valley so I could hike to another summit in Mesa County, but as I was driving west on I-70 I noticed the sky was much cloudier and darker out that direction and I was concerned about the weather I would encounter. It appeared that the edge of the storm system moving through the area was over Fruita and Grand Junction and it looked like I’d have better luck closer to town this evening. So when I reached the Fruita exit I decided to ...
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Return to the Monument

Monday, May 9, 2016

It’s been a while since the last time I took a drive through the Colorado National Monument and it’s also been a while since I’ve gone out specifically to take photos around sunrise or sunset. After all the rain we’ve been having in the Grand Valley lately, it looked like the storms were finally clearing out this evening so I decided to take a drive on Rim Rock Drive in the west section of the park this evening and stopped at a few of the viewpoints along the way to take a couple of photos.

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Colorado National Monument Western Loop

Colorado National Monument Traverse III
Sunday, March 20, 2016

After our overnight hike along the Black Ridge Loop in the Colorado National Monument last year Diane had mentioned to me that she enjoyed the hike up the Fruita Dugway and wanted to hike it again, so this year I planned a different loop that included the Fruita Dugway, Black Ridge Trail, CCC Trail and then returned down Monument Canyon. It would make a nice 13.5 mile loop on the western side of the Monument. We dropped my Jeep off at the Lower Monument Canyon Trailhead shortly before sunrise and then ...
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No Thoroughfare Canyon Snow

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Late this morning Diane and I headed over to No Thoroughfare Canyon in the Colorado National Monument for a short hike. I didn’t take many photos today, but I did want to share a couple since there was the most snow on the ground that I’ve seen in this canyon. We hiked to the base of the First Waterfall where we ate lunch and watched a lone ice climber. There was a packed trail the entire way but we did find our microspikes helpful on a couple of steep sections of the trail and on some ...
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Fresh Snow & Fog

Colorado National Monument | Tuesday, January 19, 2016

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!

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Wedding Canyon Loop

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Our original plan for New Year’s Day was for Diane and I to hike the Wedding Canyon Loop in the Colorado National Monument to celebrate our very first hike together exactly two years ago. However, I was sick all weekend and had to cancel those plans. Now that I am finally feeling better we rescheduled the hike for this afternoon. When we started the hike shortly before noon the sky was pretty overcast and dreary, but after a little while the clouds broke up and let some light through while we were in Wedding Canyon. It ...
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Monument Morning Fog

Friday, January 8, 2016

There was a fog advisory in the Grand Valley this morning so I took a chance and headed up to the Colorado National Monument to take a few photos before heading into work. The fog filled Fruita Canyon and Wedding Canyon when I arrived shortly before sunrise, but the sun never made an appearance since there were some high clouds to the east. I took a few photos and then drove back down to work.

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White Rocks

Sunday, December 13, 2015

After spending a few hours hiking the trails between Kodels Canyon and Devils Canyon near Fruita, Diane and I headed over to White Rocks in the Colorado National Monument to visit a couple of rock art sites. I wasn’t really planning on taking any photos during our hikes today so I left my main camera at home, but I did snap a few shots with my point & shoot that I’ll share below.

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Ute Canyon Dinosaur Tracks

Friday & Saturday, November 13-14, 2015

Our objective on Saturday was to go for a hike in the Colorado National Monument in search of a couple of small dinosaur tracks hidden on a large boulder in Ute Canyon. We did manage to find the tracks we were looking for, but before we get into that part of the trip report here are a couple of photos I took on Friday evening along the rim of Monument Canyon in the west side of the Monument.

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Lower Bangs Canyon

Veteran’s Day | Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Since I had Veteran’s Day off from work but Diane still had to go to work and school, I contacted Marty over the weekend to see if he was up for some hiking. He was, so we planned to stay close to home and explore the lower reaches of Bangs Canyon just outside of Grand Junction this morning. After a night of rain and snow we knew it was going to be a wet hike. I met Marty at the trailhead just outside of Whitewater along East Creek at the mouth of Unaweep ...
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Triple Bridges

Sunday, November 8, 2015

On Sunday Diane and I stayed close to home and did a little backcountry hiking in the Colorado National Monument. This time we were in search of a little-known set of natural bridges located at the head of a short unnamed side canyon that have no official name, but are collectively known as the Triple Bridges. In recent years a fourth opening has appeared that is becoming the start of a fourth natural bridge (you can see the tiny hole in the photo above that is below the set of two bridges), however at this point ...
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East Entrance Canyon

Friday, November 6, 2015

After work this evening I went on a short hike into the East Entrance of Monument Canyon (Lower Monument Canyon) in the Colorado National Monument to take a few photos just before and after the sunset. Here are a couple of photos from the short hike.

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Devil's Kitchen

Thursday, November 5, 2015

It’s been pretty rainy and wet here in the Grand Valley for the past day or two, but this afternoon the storms finally started to clear out of the area and I decided to drive up to the Colorado National Monument after work to take a few photos. I ended up just going to the Devil’s Kitchen in No Thoroughfare Canyon and hanging around there until shortly after sunset. Here are a few photos from the evening.

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Fallen Rock Fall Colors

Monday, November 2, 2015

After returning home from Denver this afternoon, I decided to drive up to the Colorado National Monument about an hour before sunset to see if the cottonwoods in upper Ute Canyon had changed colors yet. I had checked on them a few times over the past two weeks and found them to be mostly green, but this time many of them had changed to a nice golden yellow. After taking a quick hike over to Suction Point, I watched the sun set from near the Fallen Rock Overlook and took a few photos after the sun ...
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Friday Sunset

Colorado National Monument | Friday, October 23, 2015

After a few days of rainy weather in the Grand Valley the storms finally started to clear out of the area today, so I decided to drive up into the Colorado National Monument after work to take some photos around sunset. It’s always a great way to spend a couple of hours.

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Rim Rock Drive

Sunday, October 18, 2015

For most of the day we had an overcast sky with the occasional light rain shower here in the Grand Valley, but as it got later in the afternoon the clouds started to break up a bit and the chances of a nice sunset were looking good. I decided to head out with my camera and take a drive through the Colorado National Monument on Rim Rock Drive so I could take a few photos from the overlooks until sunset. The late afternoon light breaking through the clouds turned out to be pretty nice at times ...
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Monument Rain

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

On a whim, I decided to drive through the Colorado National Monument this evening to try and catch a nice sunset. The last few days we’ve had quite a few thunderstorms move through the Grand Valley and I was hoping that tonight’s storms might create some nice conditions.

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Snapshots from No Thoroughfare Canyon

Saturday, June 6, 2015

After spending last weekend in Salt Lake City, I was a little bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to spend anytime hiking outdoors this weekend since the weather forecast was calling for storms in our area. After some rain early this morning it appeared that we were on the edge of the storm system for much of the day and I would be able to get over to the Colorado National Monument for a few hours in the late afternoon. I decided to spend a little time in No Thoroughfare Canyon today since I haven’t ...
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Foggy Morning at the Monument

Saturday, April 18, 2015

After a storm moved through western Colorado and left a lot of precipitation behind the past few days it looked like it was going to finally clear this morning, so I woke up early and drove up to the Colorado National Monument shortly before sunrise to take a few photos. I never did get the sunrise that I was hoping for, but the valley below was filled with low clouds and fog which is always fun to watch and photograph.

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Colorado National Monument Traverse II

The Monument from Top to Bottom | Black Ridge Loop
Saturday & Sunday, March 28-29, 2015

After completing a traverse across the face of the Colorado National Monument last year I decided that I wanted to put together a longer loop through the Monument to hike this year. The route I strung together begins at the Kodels Canyon trailhead outside of the Monument near Fruita and climbs up the historic Fruita Dugway trail where it connects with the Black Ridge Trail. The Black Ridge trail is the highest trail in the Colorado National Monument topping out at just over 6,700 ...
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An Evening in the Monument

Monday, March 23, 2015

After work on Monday I headed up to the west side of the Colorado National Monument so I could scout a few sections of trail for a longer hike I have planned for this weekend. After hiking parts of the Fruita Dugway and Black Ridge Trail I stopped at Grand View to catch a spectacular sunset. Here are a few photos from my short evening outing.

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Return to The Island

Sunday, March 15, 2015

On Sunday morning Diane and I headed into the Colorado National Monument for a short and steep sunrise hike. Recently Diane had mentioned to me that she wanted to climb to the top of The Island which is between Monument Canyon and Wedding Canyon. It had been a few years since I was up there and I was definitely interested in hiking it again, especially since we were going to catch a sunrise on the way. We made it to the Lower Monument Canyon Trailhead about 45 minutes before sunrise and were the first vehicle in ...
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Monument Mesa Loop

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Since I’ve been busy moving these past couple of weeks, we didn’t stray far from home again this weekend. On Sunday morning we woke up early (even after losing an hour of sleep to daylight savings time) and made our way over to the Colorado National Monument to hike a new loop trail I have wanted to try for a while. Ever since I climbed up Otto’s Staircase and visited Otto’s Bathtub last year, I have wanted to combine those trails into a loop across the top of Monument Mesa.

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Mushroom Rock Trail

Saturday, January 17, 2015

After spending a lazy morning at home we decided head over to the Colorado National Monument in the late afternoon to get some hiking in. Last year when scouting for a connecting trail between Monument Canyon and the Precambrian Bench Trail, we came across a faint trail that went into Monument Canyon below Mushroom Rock that we wanted to explore further. We decided to follow that trail this afternoon to see if it would eventually connected to the main Monument Canyon trail. We started at the White Rocks trailhead and climbed the steep trail into Gold ...
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A Little Fog in the Monument

Sunday, December 14, 2014

After spending a rare lazy Saturday at home, I saw there was a little fog hanging around the canyons of the Colorado National Monument this morning and decided to drive up there to take a few photos. I wasn’t able to go very far since the Monument had closed Rim Rock Drive at the Independence Monument Viewpoint, so most of my photos were from that area.

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Toms Canyon to the Little Dolores

Saturday, December 6, 2014

In a recent conversation with a Facebook friend, he mentioned to me that there might be some rock art located along the Little Dolores River between two parcels of private property. After doing some research on the property boundaries and finding that access would probably be possible by hiking down Toms Canyon, I mapped a possible route on Google Earth that avoided all private property and stayed on BLM land to the area. The only concern I had left was finding an access point down into Toms Canyon from the rim. I had found a spot ...
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Stormy Evening on the Monument

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Since our previous day along Winter Camp Ridge had turned into a day trip instead of the overnight weekend trip we had originally planned, we were home all day on Sunday. It had been stormy and cool all of the day, so I decided to head up to the Colorado National Monument in the evening to see if there would be a nice sunset to photograph. I didn’t end up getting the colorful sunset I was hoping for, but I did have some nice storm light when I first arrived.

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Fall in the Colorado National Monument

Fall Colors 2014
Wednesday, October 15 & 22, 2014

I spent the last two consecutive Wednesdays visiting the Colorado National Monument after work so that I could try to photograph fall colors before it was too late. I’ve had a couple of shots on my mind that I had envisioned and was hoping the conditions would allow me to make them happen this year. On my first visit to the park last Wednesday the color I was after wasn’t quite there yet so those shots had to wait, but I did take a few photos as I drove through the ...
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Monument East Entrance

Friday, May 30, 2014

On Friday evening the sky looked like it could be nice for a great sunset, so I made a quick drive up through the east entrance of the Colorado National Monument and stopped for a few photos along the way. I did a little exploring of a new area that gave me a nice view of the Rim Rock Drive switchbacks climbing up to the tunnel and a nice overview of the Serpent’s Trail from above. Here’s a few photos from the short evening drive.

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Rim Rock Drive Overlooks

Saturday, April 26, 2014

I was originally planning to hike Flume Canyon near Fruita this morning when I left my house shortly after sunrise, but the unusual clouds in the sky and beautiful light in the canyons of the northern end of the Uncompahgre Plateau made me change my mind. Instead, I drove up into the Colorado National Monument and spent the morning taking photos from the overlooks along Rim Rock Drive.

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Kodels Canyon

Monday, April 21, 2014

After hiking up the Fruita Dugway just over a week ago and being treated to some nice views down into Kodels Canyon for part of the way, I decided that I wanted to check out that canyon soon. I wasn’t expecting much on this short hike after work, but there were a lot of great sights in this short canyon at the very western edge of the Colorado National Monument. My understanding is that this canyon is named after an old prospector who had a cabin near the mouth of the canyon. He apparently dug the ...
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Otto's Bathtub

Easter | Sunday, April 20, 2014

My original plan for Easter Sunday was to hike and explore Sieber Canyon. Unfortunately, a road closed sign across Bs Road changed those plans when I tried to reach the trailhead first thing in the morning. With no backup plan I decided to drive over to the upper Liberty Cap trailhead, since it was not too far away, to finally hike to Otto’s Bathtub on Monument Mesa.

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No Thoroughfare Canyon

Friday & Saturday, April 18-19, 2014

Since I have a three night backpacking trip coming up at the beginning of May and I never did get out on a backpacking trip last year, I wanted to get in a quick overnight trip this month. I have also wanted to camp in the backcountry of the Colorado National Monument and hike the full length of No Thoroughfare Canyon. I decided to take care of all three of these goals with an overnight backpacking trip through No Thoroughfare Canyon with my friend Jackson.

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Fruita Dugway

Sunday, April 13, 2014

My original plan for the day was to hike the Fruita Dugway trail first thing in the morning.  I woke up early and was out the door well before the sun came up with hopes of catching a nice sunrise from the trail.  I knew that rain was in the forecast for the day but I thought it might hold off for a few more hours after checking the forecast and weather maps before leaving my house.  I was wrong.  As I neared the trailhead just outside of Fruita the skies opened up and a very heavy rain ...
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Colorado National Monument Traverse

The Face of the Monument | West to East
Saturday, April 12, 2014

Years ago I had the idea of hiking across the face of the Colorado National Monument from one entrance to the other but never seemed to get around to planning the route and following through on the hike because I was usually heading elsewhere for my weekends. A few weeks ago I told Diane about this idea and she was interested in joining me, so I finally got determined to follow through and started planning the route. Much of the route follows existing trails that I have ...
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Otto's Staircase

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

After work I decided to get a little hike in and explore a new area of the Colorado National Monument. I wanted to check out Otto’s Staircase above Gold Star Canyon and try to reach the top of Monument Mesa via this route. Please excuse my poor pictures in this trip report, when I set out after work to explore this new trail I didn’t really plan on taking any photos or even creating a trip report so I didn’t carry my camera with me. All of these photos were taken and processed on my iPhone ...
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Gold Star Canyon Loop

Thursday, March 27, 2014

After work this evening, Diane and I met up for another short hike in the Colorado National Monument. We started from the White Rocks trailhead and then hiked the steep trail beside Gold Star Canyon up onto the Precambrian Bench. We followed the trail towards Monument Canyon and then turned around when we reached Mushroom Rock. Next we followed a wash down into Monument Canyon and hiked back to White Rocks by circling around the Little Island. It was a nice evening hike. I don’t usually carry my camera on these short after-work hikes but the ...
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Ute Canyon Trail

Sunday, March 23, 2014

After a rainy Saturday, Diane and I headed up to the Colorado National Monument on Sunday to get in a little hiking close to home. It’s been a few years since I’ve hiked down Ute Canyon so we decided to make that our destination for the day. Since I wanted to hike the whole trail from top to bottom we left my Jeep at the lower trailhead and then drove up to the upper trailhead in Diane’s car. When we dropped off my Jeep at the Wildwood Trailhead we found the parking lot full and had ...
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Canyon Rim Trail

Monday, March 10, 2014

This evening Diane and I went on a short last-minute hike after work in the Colorado National Monument since the weather was so nice out. We ended up along the Canyon Rim Trail and enjoyed the views across Wedding Canyon as the sun sunk low in the sky behind a thin layer of clouds. Here’s a few photos I took along the way…

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Echo Canyon

Monday, October 28, 2013

After spending the weekend photographing the colorful cottonwood trees around Price, I thought it might be a good idea to get out after work and see if there was any autumn color left in the Colorado National Monument, so I decided to make a quick hike up Echo Canyon. It had been very windy all day while I was at work, so I was concerned that all the leaves would have blown off the trees by the time I got out there.

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Monument Canyon

Sunday, September 15, 2013

On Thursday evening my friend Lisa contacted me to let me know she was taking a last minute trip to the Colorado National Monument this weekend and she wanted to see if I was available to go hiking on Sunday morning. It just so happened that I planned to be home all this weekend and was planning on hiking around the Monument already. We planned to meet up on Sunday morning and hike Monument Canyon from top to bottom. It has been a few years since I hiked the full canyon and I was looking forward ...
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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. 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.

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Another Monument Sunset

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It’s been a while since I headed up to the Colorado National Monument after work to catch a sunset, so after all the rain we’ve had in the past few days I thought it might be a good idea to head up there this evening since the storms had finally started to clear.

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Flash Flood in No Thoroughfare Canyon

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Shortly after getting home from work today, there was a flash flood warning issued for the east side of the Colorado National Monument because of heavy rain from slow-moving storms. I grabbed my camera and headed out the door to see what I could find. I drove around the Monument for a little seeing waterfalls everywhere and then decided to hike along No Thoroughfare Canyon to see if I could make it to the first pool/fall. Sorry for the poor quality of the photos in this report, but I only took my phone with me on ...
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Clearing Storm

Sunday, January 27, 2013

By now I’m sure many of my regular readers are tired of seeing photos from the Colorado National Monument. For those of you who might feel that way, I’m sorry to say I have another trip report of photos taken there. Better stop reading now! After spending over five hours photographing the inversion layer in the Monument on Saturday I had no plans to return on Sunday. However, in the afternoon I noticed the clouds that had been hovering over the Grand Valley all day were finally beginning to break up. I couldn’t resist, so I ...
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Monument Inversion

Saturday, January 26, 2013

On Saturday morning I slept in a little later than usual. A winter storm moved into the area overnight and when I looked outside towards the Colorado National Monument I could see that the humidity from the storm caused the inversion layer over the valley to thicken. I quickly got dressed and drove up to the Monument. I was planning on a short trip up there to hopefully get a couple of decent photos, but I ended up spending over 5 hours up there!

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Another Week at the Monument

Monday – Sunday, January 14-20, 2013

Over the past week I’ve spent a few days photographing the Colorado National Monument again. I stopped by after work a few days, caught a sunrise another day, and drove through the entire park after a morning spent along Rifle Creek. Basically, whenever I had a little free time, I was there. I actually spent a few days concentrating on one small arch that I photographed in a few different kinds of light. It’s amazing how different things can look based on the time of day and the weather.

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Around the Grand Valley

Thursday – Sunday, January 3-6, 2013

We’ve had a very cold start to the year so I’ve been staying close to home more than I usually do. Since that’s the case, I’ve been spending my free time trying to make some more unique images of locations I’ve photographed before, plus I’ve been trying to find some new locations around the Grand Valley. Here’s a few photos from the past couple of days.

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Wedding Canyon & Monument Canyon

New Year’s Day | Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I ended up staying home for New Year’s Day this year and decided to get out for a hike at the Colorado National Monument in the evening. I always keep meaning to hike up Wedding Canyon, but for some reason or another it has never happened yet. I set out to finally hike that trail today, even if it was covered with snow. I didn’t bother bringing my DSLR with me on this hike, so I only took a few snapshots with my little S90 point and shoot camera.

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The Monument at Night

Friday, December 28, 2012

With the full moon out tonight, I thought it would be fun to head up to the Colorado National Monument again and try to get a few photos of the canyons and spires lit by the moonlight with the city lights of Grand Junction and Fruita in the background. Thanks to an inversion, the temperatures in the valley were pretty cold but, it was much nicer up on the Monument.

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Christmas Eve Monument Snowstorm

Christmas Eve | Monday, December 24, 2012

On Christmas Eve it snowed all day which is a little unusual for the Grand Valley. When I got out of work, I thought it would be a good idea to drive up to the Colorado National Monument and take some photos in the snowstorm. I knew the road on top was closed because of the weather, so I went in via the Fruita entrance so I could at least drive to the Independence Monument Viewpoint. Some may find these photos boring and bland and much different from my typical ‘colorful’ images, but ...
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Colorado National Monument Weekend

Friday – Sunday, December 7-9, 2012

This weekend I decided to stay home for a change. I figured that I could spend some quality time photographing the Colorado National Monument since I would be around. After work on Friday, I drove up to the Monument to try and catch a sunset that looked promising. It turned out to be a decent sunset, but not over the Monument. Instead, it was colorful over the Book Cliffs across the valley.

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Fall at the Colorado National Monument

Tuesday & Wednesday, October 16-17, 2012

Just a few short days after returning from my adventures in Northern Arizona and Southern Utah, I was ready to get and photograph some of the fall colors here in the Grand Valley. I ended up driving up to the Colorado National Monument two consecutive days after work to take a few photos.

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More Monument Sunsets

Sunday – Tuesday, July 29-31, 2012

Since the afternoon monsoons were still around this week, I headed out a few evenings to try and take some more photos during sunset.

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Monument & Juniata Sunsets

Monday, Tuesday & Friday, July 23,24 & 27, 2012

Since the monsoon season here on the western slope of Colorado is in full effect, I went out to photograph a couple of sunsets this week after work. On Monday I drove up to the Colorado National Monument right after some heavy rain had passed through the area. The road up to the Visitor’s Center was covered with debris and rockfall from some flash flooding, so I had to drive extra carefully. I decided to stop at the Book Cliffs View to take a few photos.

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Otto's Trail Sunset

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The clouds in the sky this evening were looking pretty nice, so I decided to drive up to the Monument to hopefully catch a nice colorful sunset. I didn’t get the spectacular sunset I was hoping for, but I did end up with with a few good photos while I was up there.

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Black Ridge Trail

Sunday, April 15, 2012

After spending the previous day at Rifle Falls with Amanda we decided to spend Sunday morning taking a hike we have wanted to do for a while in in the Colorado National Monument. The last time we had planned to hike the Black Ridge Trail, it snowed, so we cancelled our plans because we feared it would be a muddy and slippery mess in places. Like the previous day, the weather forecast overnight was calling for storms, but luckily the Monument didn’t see any precipitation. The Book Cliffs, on the other hand, were coated with snow ...
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Grand View Sunrise

Sunday, March 4, 2012

I headed back up to the Colorado National Monument again this morning to catch the sunrise. Of course I took a few photos while I was there…

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Monuments in Fog

Colorado National Monument
Thursday, February 9, 2012

I’ve wanted to photograph Monument Canyon filled with fog for a while now, and this morning I finally got my chance. As I was leaving my house to drive to work and noticed the heavy fog that filled the Grand Valley, I just couldn’t resist the conditions and drove up to the Colorado National Monument instead. I arrived up above the fog just in time to watch the sun rise over the Grand Mesa. It was a spectacular view and definitely worth missing a few hours of work.

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Weekend Photos I

Saturday & Sunday, February 4-5, 2012

It was a lazy weekend for me and I ended up not venturing very far from home. I did manage to get out for a few hours each day and take some photos and do a little exploring in my Jeep. Here’s a few photos I took over the weekend.

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Colorado National Monument Sunrise

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Since I was home this Saturday, I decided to get up early and head over to the Colorado National Monument to catch the sunrise with my camera. I hiked along the lower portion of the Liberty Cap Trail and took a few photos along the way.

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Old Gordon Trail

Colorado National Monument
Thanksgiving | Thursday, November 24, 2011

Amanda had to work for a few hours on Thanksgiving, so while she was at work I decided to head on over to the Colorado National Monument and hike the Old Gordon Trail. It’s one of the few trails in the park that I had not hiked before. I was actually surprised to find that the park rangers were actually working on Thanksgiving. There were also plenty of people in the park, but they all seemed to be in No Thoroughfare Canyon or on the Serpents Trail because I had the ...
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White Rocks Rock Art

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Earlier today I found some info that helped lead me to some rock art located in the Colorado National Monument which is pretty close to home. After work I went home and changed before heading out in search of them. Luckily, they were easier to find than I thought they would be, but unfortunately the area they were located in had a lot of vandalism and graffiti. I only had taken my S90 point and shoot camera with me since I wasn’t sure what I was going to find, so these photos aren’t that great ...
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East Entrance Canyon Petroglyphs

Friday, August 5, 2011

After I got out of work, I decided to head back over to the Colorado National Monument to search of some new petroglyphs I had read about. I only knew they were located in East Entrance Canyon and had no other specific information about their location, but I had a guess as to where they might be based on a photo I had found. It turns out that my guess was right and I found them in no time! Here’s a couple photos of the two small panels I found.

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Independence Monument at Sunrise

Sunday, November 14, 2010

This morning I met my friend Jackson and we hiked to Independence Monument in the dark to photograph it at sunrise. While we were there I took a few other photos that I thought I’d share.

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Liberty Cap

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Yesterday morning Amanda and I headed to the Colorado National Monument to hike the full Liberty Cap Trail. I have hiked it from the bottom before, which is a shorter, but steeper hike. This time I wanted to start from Rim Rock Drive and hike across Monument Mesa to Liberty Cap, and then finish off the trail to the bottom. The full trail was about 7 miles in length and took us about 4 hours to complete. Here’s a couple of pictures I took along the way.

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Ute Canyon

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bright and early Friday morning I decided to check out another canyon in the Colorado National Monument. This time I would be hiking from the top of Ute Canyon at the Rim Rock Drive trailhead all the way down to the bottom. The total hike was about 6 miles. Here’s a few photos I took along the way.

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Monument Canyon

Sunday, August 1, 2010

This morning I headed to the Colorado National Monument to hike down Monument Canyon. Here’s a few photos I took along the way.

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Liberty Cap & Echo Canyon

Saturday, March 6, 2010

This morning Amanda and I set off to do some hiking at the Colorado National Monument. Our first destination was the Liberty Cap trail. This is a trail we had not been on before. We started at the bottom and planned to head up to the Liberty Cap before heading back down, however after climbing about 500 feet on the trail, the ice and mud got too slick, so we ended up turning around.

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Alcove Nature Trail

Christmas Day | Friday , December 25, 2009

It was a great morning for a hike. I wanted to get out of the house for a little while this morning and try out my new Merrell Snowmotion boots. When we were at the Colorado National Monument last Sunday, I remembered noticing that the Alcove Nature Trail near the Visitor’s Center was covered with snow and no one had been on it yet. Since I have never hiked that short trail yet, I figured it would be a good place to test them out.

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Canyon Rim & Window Rock

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Since I was home all day yesterday, I needed to get outside for at least a little while today. We headed to the Colorado National Monument and hiked the Canyon Rim and Window Rock trails near the visitor’s center. Here’s a few pictures Amanda and I took along the way.

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Hiking the Serpent’s Trail

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Today Amanda and I headed out to hike the popular Serpent’s Trail within the Colorado National Monument. The original vehicle entrance to the Monument, this route was once called the “Crookedest Road in the World” and is now on the National Register of Historic Structures.

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Otto’s Trail

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Since my ‘America the Beautiful’ National Parks pass expired this week, I decided to head up to the Colorado National Monument to buy a new one. I figured while I was there I would break out my camera and hike the short Otto’s Trail. It was a gloomy and snowy day up there, but I think I managed to snap a few good HDR images.

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Canyon Rim & Window Rock Trails

Sunday, January 11, 2009

I was looking for something to do today and decided to head out on a short hike this afternoon in the Colorado National Monument. I have never done any of the short hikes near the Visitor’s Center, so I figured I’d check out the two short hikes near there. First I started out on the Canyon Rim trail which follows above Wedding Canyon and ends at the Book Cliff overlook.

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Echo Canyon

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Today Amanda and I decided to go on a short hike through Echo Canyon located in the Colorado National Monument. It’s a short hike that is pretty easy most of the way, with some great views.

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Colorado National Monument

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Amanda and I spent part of our day today taking the tour of the Colorado National Monument. Even thought it was pretty windy and there were a lot of rain clouds overhead, we had a great time. We certainly didn’t see everything, but since it’s practically in our backyard, I’m sure we will be spending more time exploring the Monument in the future.

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