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


    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.

Cottonwood Tree


Rio Grande Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)

Other Names: Fremont's cottonwood, meseta cottonwood

Family: Salicaceae(Willow Family)

Description: grows 12-24 m tall with trunk diameters up to 1.2 m. Bark is grey, rough, and deeply furrowed. Leaves, which are about 2-3 inches long and wide, are broadly triangular in shape. Leaves are irregularly serrated, nearly straight at the base, and often sharply pointed at the end.

Range: occurs throughout the western United States from California to Colorado and south to New Mexico and Arizona. At Colorado National Monument, it grows at the bottoms of canyons along washes and larger temporary pools.

Did you know: the Rio Grande cottonwood plays an important role in riparian communities. This graceful tree's roots increase soil porosity and prevent erosion, while its branches provide nesting sites for many bird species. Here at Colorado National Monument, the Rio Grande cottonwood interbreeds with the lanceleaf (P. angustifolia) and narrowleaf cottonwoods (P. x acuminata), which occur in the Monument at higher elevations.

Did You Know?

view at Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument is located near the northeast corner of the Colorado Plateau, an arid semi-desert region located between the Rocky Mountains and the Great Basin of Nevada. The average elevation of the entire Colorado Plateau is over 5,000 feet! More...