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Independence Monument, CO

Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
  4 of 5 
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,715 feet
Elevation Gain 689 feet
Accumulated Gain 750 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.75
Interest Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
Dogs not allowed
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5  2020-04-19 PaleoRob
Author PaleoRob
author avatar Guides 168
Routes 223
Photos 5,972
Trips 1,090 map ( 2,430 miles )
Age 40 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Apr, May, Sep → Early
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  4:49am - 7:45pm
0 Alternative

self reliant spire
by PaleoRob

This hike involves a pretty constant uphill for about 1.75 of the 2.5 miles from the trailhead. Be prepared for a grind, not several up-and-down trail bits

Independence Monument is the most iconic feature of Colorado National Monument, featured on logos and postcards across the Western Slope of Colorado.

Named by monument promoter John Otto, it is climbed every 4th of July by a team of climbers who hoist an American flag. Geologically, the formation is composed of Triassic-Jurassic Wingate Sandstone, capped with more resistant Kayenta Formation sandstone. Originally part of the nearby mesa, the downcutting, and erosion of Monument and Wedding creeks isolated this spire until it took on its current form.

The hike starts at the Monument Canyon trailhead, which is in a neighborhood off of Colorado route 340 between Fruita and Grand Junction. The initial part of the hike follows the monument boundary (the "Buffalo Fence" from when the Monument had an imported herd of bison on the grounds). This gives you a great view of peoples' backyards as you cross through the pinon-juniper forest for about 3/4 of a mile.

Once the trail hits Monument Canyon it veers right (south-southwest) to head up the canyon. While it follows the canyon bottom for a short stretch it soon begins to climb at a relatively easy pace up the northwest canyon wall. The trail is well constructed and easy to follow, though it is also disguised from casual view from below to protect the viewshed.

After climbing around 600 feet and contouring past the head of a drainage, the trail begins to flatten out as you round the southern tip of a mesa. It is along this stretch that you get your first views of Independence Monument since you started the climb. From here it is not far until the base of the monument, maybe a half a mile. There is also a loop around the base of Independence Monument to take in more views. Once you are satisfied, return to the parking lot the way you came.

Water Sources
Seasonal creek, but bring all you need.

It is possible to backpack into Colorado National Monument and explore the numerous canyons therein, but it is not common.

Check out the Triplog.

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2020-05-08 PaleoRob
    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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From downtown Grand Junction, take Grand Avenue (340) over the railroad tracks and river. Follow 340 straight for 8 miles, going through a traffic circle about halfway to the trailhead. Turn left at the junction on Google Maps marked Fawn Lane. There is a small NPS hiking sign, but it is not easily visible for many first-time visitors. The parking area can be rough, so low clearance cars should take caution while navigating it.
    page created by PaleoRob on May 08 2020 12:55 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    help comment issue

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