Visitor Center is OPEN 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Daily
Alcove Nature Trail CLOSED for reconstruction until further notice.
Traffic delays near the West (Fruita) Entrance on State Highway 340
Traffic delays on Colorado State Highway 340 (near the west entrance) will occur throughout the month of June. Call the road construction hotline 970-314-5540 for more details.
Mountain Ball Cactus
Mountain Ball Cactus (Pediocactus simpsonii)
Other Names: Simpson's hedgehog cactus, Simpson's pincushion cactus, Simpson's footcactus
Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)
Description: single spherical stem is 6 inches in diameter with conical-shaped tubercles in spires. Each tubercle is tipped with an areole containing two brown central spines and 20-45 short radial spines. White, yellow, or pink flowers are produced in April with tan, dry fruits appearing in midsummer.
Range: occurs throughout the western United States from Oregon to South Dakota, north to Montana, and south to New Mexico. At Colorado National Monument, look for it growing at lower elevations in powdery soils amongst pinyon, juniper, and sage.
Did you know: a favorite among gardeners and cactus collectors, the mountain ball cactus is native to Colorado and the Four Corners region. Although it may not be hard to find the mountain ball cactus growing here at Colorado National Monument, this incredibly spiny cactus has become endangered or threatened throughout other parts of its range.
Did You Know?
Colorado National Monument's Independence Monument is 450 feet tall from its base to its top. The top of Independence Monument is 5,739 feet in elevation.