You Otto see the view!
Overview: John Otto was personally responsible for the creation of Colorado National Monument. He first saw the redrock canyons near Grand Junction in 1906 worked tirelessly for the area to be protected by the federal government; a dream that came true in 1911. After the monument was created Otto became its first superintendent. Many of the geographic features in the monument bear his name. This short trail is a great way to see several of them from the rim.
Warning: There is no water and little shade along this short trail. Several sections have severe unprotected drop-offs next to the trail. Exercise caution.
History: John Otto did not blaze the Otto Trail but the short hike takes you to an overlook where you can see Independence Monument, one of the most famous spires in the park. Otto was a steadfast American patriot and gave many of the locations in the monument similarly patriotic names. Other locations received more colorful names, such as Organ Pipes. These are the tall pinnacles seen at the end of the trail.
Hike: The hike is easy and straightforward. From the parking area, follow the maintained and marked trail out along the point of land. The trail trends gradually downward from the parking area, including one section with stone steps. The trail crosses a pinon-juniper woodland atop the Entrada sandstone with great views at the end of Independence Monument, Organ Pipes, and the city of Fruita. On a clear day Grand Mesa can be seen over the eastern canyon rim.
Water Sources: None. Bring your own.
Camping: The park campground is located near the visitor center, about 1/2 mile away down the park road.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.