• 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.


Go to Photo Gallery to see more reptile snapshots.


Reptiles are among the most conspicuous animals found in the monument; are seen from early March through late October; are most active in May and June. According to the latest survey conducted, nine species of lizards were identified as monument residents.

Lizards are most active on warm, sunny days and temperate evenings, and are commonly seen sunbathing on rock exposures throughout the park. In colder temperatures they hibernate, relying on food stored as fat in their tails for nutrition.

collared lizard
Collared lizard
NPS Lynne Mager
Nine species of snakes have been identified in the monument but because they are most active at night, they are rarely seen. The midget-faded rattlesnake, a subspecies of the western rattlesnake, is the only poisonous snake found in the monument. This snake, like all other snakes found here, is not aggressive - rather it will avoid human contact.
midget-faded rattlesnake
Midget-faded rattlesnake

Did You Know?

Independence Monument

Independence Monument is all that remains of a continuous ridge that once formed a wall between Monument and Wedding Canyons. A cap of durable Kayenta rock has protected this picturesque 450 feet (137 meters) high monolith from the relentless erosion that carried away the surrounding rock.