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The Best Hikes in Colorado National Monument

18 Triplog Reviews in the Colorado National Monument National Park
Most recent of 7 deeper Triplog Reviews
9.63 mi • 1,616 ft aeg
I always said that I would do Ute Canyon as a through hike/shuttle so I didn't have to climb out of the canyon. Well, today I proved myself a liar. My usual 2017 hiking partner, Jess, was on a hiking date with someone else so I decided to put in some mileage. I thought that this was going to turn out to be a 10 mile trek but it turned out to be a hair short of that. I suppose that is all for the good, since I ran out of water on the last 150 feet of the hike, my boots gave me a blister for the first time ever, and my thighs were chafing.
The weather was clear and warm without being hot. Little bit of a breeze helped cut the heat most of the day. The last 0.3 miles took me half an hour. I am slow as heck on the uphill.
3.46 mi • 1,212 ft aeg
This is the trip that made me buy Yaktracks.

The hike up was fine. Icy in some spots, and the lower canyon stretch really reminded me how out-of-shape I am. Nonetheless it was relatively straightforward. Heading up I passed several ice-covered or packed-snow patches and thought to myself that I would have to watch out on the way down. Still, no big deal. Up at the Cap I met a lady doing a workout. I definitely felt out of shape then!

Heading down the minor icy patches became greater obstacles. I found myself losing traction more often and ended up crashing down a part of the trail, scraping my arm and getting a small cut on my wrist. Once I was back at the truck I drove straight to REI and bought some slip-on crampons. Not going to make that mistake again.
0.57 mi • 72 ft aeg
Heard about these glyphs and since it was close by I could check it out easily. Came across a small herd of bighorn sheep not 40 feet off the trail. They didn't seem to mind me too much. There was fresh snow across the trail around White Rocks so it looked like no one had been down the trail in a while but I came across three separate groups going to/from White Rocks while I was out there. The snow made it hard to find the path around the boulders, especially on the east side of the rocks but since the route parallels 340 it wasn't really difficult to route find. Made it back and the bighorn were still just hanging out. I was set to watch the hockey game at 2pm and it was already after 1pm so I didn't have time to do any hiking in Gold Star Canyon unfortunately. I did check out the Wildwood trailhead as well on my way home. I might go and do one of the more challenging trails next time but the snow is also a factor. We'll see!
2.32 mi • 523 ft aeg
After doing Devil's Kitchen and Otto Trail on Sunday I decided to head back to the Devil's Kitchen trailhead and hike the Echo Canyon Trail. The trail was snow-covered the entire way, with some icy spots. I slipped (but did not fall!) 1x in each direction on a downhill, but I was also distracted. If I had been paying attention a bit more to my footing it would not have been an issue. The canyon is quite beautiful and I came at the right time - near sunset - to catch the light on the eastern cliff walls. I walked just past the usual turn around point and saw that previous hikers has stumbled into the stream itself, cracking open the icy crust under the snow that hid it. I decided I didn't want to get wet. I headed back. Leaving the canyon my camera battery died. I don't think I had charged it enough, since the camera is new to me and I am still figuring it out. The temperature in the canyon was probably low 30s to high 20s but it didn't feel bad at all, especially when moving.
0.7 mi • 98 ft aeg
Was going to hike in some of the canyons off of the Redlands but decided to head up on top and catch some sunset stuff. Only saw one other vehicle on the road each way, but I did see bighorns; an ewe and ~8 lambs!

The trail itself was snow covered but easy to traverse. No need to put on crampons, let alone snowshoes. Off the trail the snow was between 2" - 5" deep, depending on daily shade. I was the only one on the trail.
1.5 mi • 300 ft aeg
Since it is a new year and I am living in a new place I have resolved to get back out on the trails and explore my surroundings a bit more this year! Decided to start off with something relatively easy to get back into the swing of things and acclimate to the elevation.

The trail is easy, even snow-covered. Some icy spots descending. I noticed prints from people wearing strap-on crampons but I didn't feel like they were needed. I brought the wrong lens for my new-to-me camera (telephoto vs. wide angle) so half of my photos are from my Galaxy S6. Might go back out to do Echo Canyon later this week from the same trailhead.

I am definitely not in shape yet to take up backpacking again, but that is a goal for this year. Time to get back out on the trail!
1.5 mi • 160 ft aeg
Having flown into Grand Junction to look for a job and a house, I had three days before Karen would arrive. It was my big chance to convince her to leave Michigan and follow me out west. I found a job, and a house, and still had a few hours left over for a hike!
Colorado National Monument sits on the western edge of town, it's red rock every bit as incredible as Sedona. Devils Kitchen, an arrangement of Stonehengy monoliths, was a short hike and well worth it. Someday I'd love to return with some lighting and photograph this thing at night. 8)

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