Rim Rock Drive is OPEN - Visitor Center is OPEN 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Daily
Please drive safely! Winter driving conditions exist on park roadways. Call 970-858-3617 Extension 402 for a current road report. Trails are covered by 5"-10" of snow in most locations.
In the age of John Muir, some 1000 miles from Yosemite Valley, a kindred spirit and fervent conservationist John Otto was dedicating himself to protecting and promoting the land that today we know as Colorado National Monument.
Otto built the first trails into this rugged landscape to reach the glorious red rock canyons. He climbed the steep monoliths to post the American Flag from the highest vantage points he could reach. He surveyed the first road, Trail of the Serpent - four miles with 52 switchbacks.
Otto worked tirelessly with the communities of Grand Junction and Fruita advocating for the creation of a national park to protect the extraordinary geology of ancient canyons and towering monoliths. Ultimately, Colorado National Monument was established on May 24, 1911, as a presidential proclamation by President Taft under the authority of the Antiquities Act.
Did You Know?
Each Independence Day, local climbers scale the iconic Independence Monument in Colorado National Monument and raise an American flag on top. This tradition dates back to early park promoter John Otto, whose route up Independence Monument climbers still follow.