• View from the Canyon Rim Trail. Photo by Jeff Kochevar

    Colorado

    National Monument Colorado

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  • Visitor Center is OPEN 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Daily

    Alcove Nature Trail CLOSED for reconstruction until further notice.

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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?

Collared Lizard

Survival for many reptiles depends on their ability to escape predators. Collared lizards can run upright and have been clocked at 16 to 17 miles per hour, ranking them as one of the fastest reptiles. More...