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Colorado National Monument, Colorado, USA – a view of the Southwest

Colorado National Monument -- Misty Monoliths in Monument Valley[photo: NPS]
Colorado National Monument — Misty Monoliths in Monument Valley[photo: NPS]

Colorado National Monument preserves one of the grand landscapes of the American West. But this treasure is much more than a monument. Towering monoliths exist within a vast plateau and canyon panorama. You can experience sheer-walled, red rock canyons along the twists and turns of Rim Rock Drive, where you may spy bighorn sheep and soaring eagles.

Most of Colorado National Monument rises more than 2,000 feet above the Grand Valley of the Colorado River. Situated at the edge of the Uncompahgre Uplift, the park is part of the greater Colorado Plateau, which also embraces such geologic wonders as Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Arches National Park. It is a semi-desert land of pinyon pines and junipers, ravens and jays, desert bighorns and coyotes. Magnificent views from highland trails and the Rim Rock Drive stretch from the colorful geology of sheer-walled canyons and fascinating rock sculptures to the distant Colorado River valley, the purple-gray Book Cliffs, and the huge flat-topped mountain called Grand Mesa. Science done in the park provides insight into how these interconnected elements function as a system.

Historic Rim Rock Drive

Colorado National Monument -- Fruita Canyon [photo: Frank Schrader -- frankschrader.us]
Colorado National Monument — Fruita Canyon [photo: Frank Schrader — frankschrader.us]

Colorado National Monument’s Rim Rock Drive is one of the most spectacular drives in the United States. Redrock canyons, crisp blue skies, and verdant green juniper splash fantastic views along the way for motorists and bicyclists. However, the road is challenging, narrow, and steep in some sections with sheer dropoffs.

Colorado National Monument -- Kissing Couple in Monument Valley [photo: NPS]
Colorado National Monument — Kissing Couple in Monument Valley [photo: NPS]
Colorado National Monument -- Foggy Monument Canyon [photo: NPS]
Colorado National Monument — Foggy Monument Canyon [photo: NPS]
Colorado National Monument -- East Side of Park [photo: NPS]
Colorado National Monument — East Side of Park [photo: NPS]
Colorado National Monument -- Corkscrew Trail Area [photo: NPS]
Colorado National Monument — Corkscrew Trail Area [photo: NPS]

Weather

Spring – Daytime high temperatures 70-85 F (21-30 C), nighttime low temperature 30-50 F (-1 – +10 C). Summer – Daytime high temperatures can reach 100 F (38 C), afternoon thunderstorms common. Fall – Similar to spring temperatures, sudden changes in weather common. Snow can occur in October. Winter – Daytime highs vary from 10 – 45 F (-12 – +7 C). Snow common, patches of snow and ice stay around most of the winter.

Official Park Website

NPS Website: https://www.nps.gov/colm/

Map

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