Trailhead: Visitor Center (Park Headquarters)
Activities: Hiking, Camping
Closest City / Town: Fruita, Colorado (Grand Junction)
- Take Highway I-70 to Exit 19 (Fruita exit) and go south on Highway 340 to the west entrance, which is approximately three miles from Fruita.
- The Visitor Center is four miles up from the west entrance.
Hiking Distances: 1.0 mile (roundtrip)
Description: Colorado National Monument’s Canyon Rim Trail is a superb way to enjoy some of Colorado’s canyon country. The trail is perfect for young children and for those looking to take unforgettable, awe-inspiring photographs.
From the Visitor Center, the trail takes off to the east. Follow the trail along the canyon rim for approximately .5 miles. From the end of the trail you have two options: 1) head back to the Visitor Center or 2) continue to the north, and hike the Window Rock Trail. We highly recommend pursuing the second option!
Worth Noting: This trail, although relatively short, offers some of the best views in Colorado National Monument. Sentinel Spire, Pipe Organ, Independence Monument, and the Kissing Couple can all be viewed from the Canyon Rim Trail.
Colorado National Monument rests on the northern edge of the Uncompahgre Uplift; it is also the northeast corner of the Colorado Plateau, which also houses the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, and Arches National Park. The area was established as Colorado National Monument on May 24, 1911, and is currently administered by the National Park Service.
The Law That Created Colorado National Monument: President William H. Taft used the Antiquities Act of 1906 to create Colorado National Monument. The Antiquities Act has been used to designate many important places as national monuments, including Devils Tower (the first national monument) and Grand Staircase – Escalante (one of the most controversial national monuments). The following is the text of the statute:
American Antiquities Act of 1906
16 USC 431-433
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That any person who shall appropriate, excavate, injure, or destroy any historic or prehistoric ruin or monument, or any object of antiquity, situated on lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States, without the permission of the Secretary of the Department of the Government having jurisdiction over the lands on which said antiquities are situated, shall, upon conviction, be fined in a sum of not more than five hundred dollars or be imprisoned for a period of not more than ninety days, or shall suffer both fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.
That the President of the United States is hereby authorized, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected: Provided, That when such objects are situated upon a tract covered by a bona fied unperfected claim or held in private ownership, the tract, or so much thereof as may be necessary for the proper care and management of the object, may be relinquished to the Government, and the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to accept the relinquishment of such tracts in behalf of the Government of the United States.
That permits for the examination of ruins, the excavation of archaeological sites, and the gathering of objects of antiquity upon the lands under their respective jurisdictions may be granted by the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, and War to institutions which the may deem properly qualified to conduct such examination, excavation, or gathering, subject to such rules and regulation as they may prescribe: Provided, That the examinations, excavations, and gatherings are undertaken for the benefit of reputable museums, universities, colleges, or other recognized scientific or educational institutions, with a view to increasing the knowledge of such objects, and that the gatherings shall be made for permanent preservation in public museums.
That the Secretaries of the Departments aforesaid shall make and publish from time to time uniform rules and regulations for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act.
–Approved, June 8, 1906