Monument Featured on National Park Service Website
Colorado National Monument is being featured as a “National Park Getaway” on the National Park Service’s national website beginning May 5 until May 12 at www.nps.gov. Millions of website visitors will see a stunning photo of the Monument by Grand Junction’s famed photographer, Rob Kurtzman, with a corresponding story about the Monument authored by Eric Sandstrom, a seasonal park ranger at Colorado National Monument and Mesa State College instructor.
Visitors to the website will be introduced to the Monument’s dramatic landscape carved by erosion on the eastern flanks of the Colorado Plateau. Steep-walled canyons cut into the plateau here, their sides revealing striations of color also visible on the monoliths that loom above canyon floors. Terra cotta, sienna, rust: the spectrum of the sandstone runs through variants of brown with red and orange undertones. The name “Colorado”—Spanish for “ruddy” or “red”—suits this national park, where stubbles of green provided by the pinyon and juniper trees that grow below and on top of the plateaus complements the geologic hues.
According to Joan Anzelmo, superintendent of Colorado National Monument, "the name, Colorado National Monument, does not begin to describe the hidden paradise of red rock canyons and sandstone monoliths that parallel the Interstate 70 corridor stretching from Grand Junction to Fruita, Colorado. It is absolutely worthwhile to get off of I-70 and take the historic Rim Rock Drive to the inner reaches of Colorado National Monument. The Monument turns 100 years old in 2011. Come visit and celebrate with us!"
In some respects, Colorado National Monument is a place of extremes. The sky shows off its enormity, the rock formations their height and strength. Visitors can follow “the Crookedest Road in the World” (the park’s Serpents Trail) and eat lunch in Devils Kitchen, site of a historic stone picnic shelter, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
The park offers 43 miles of trails, which welcome hikers of all abilities. Road bicycling and auto touring on Rim Rock Drive afford more ways to see the park, which can be experienced tactilely as well as visually by rock climbers. Camping in the Monument’s Saddlehorn Campground or in the backcountry allows visitors to immerse themselves in this rugged yet serene national park.
In addition to the splendors of its landscape, Colorado National Monument boasts a rich human story. Read about John Otto, champion of the Monument, in this week’s National Park Getaway article. Colorado National Monument is number 47 in the series. Each week’s Getaway introduces you to a place to reconnect with nature, history, family, and friends. Visit www.nps.gov/getaways for the articles of this and previous weeks.