Rim Rock Drive is OPEN - Visitor Center is OPEN 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Rim Rock Drive is OPEN Be on the lookout for Desert Bighorn Sheep along Rim Rock Drive. There also may be minor traffic delays near the East Entrance over the coming weeks. Watch for construction flaggers on the roadway.
Soils within the monument are made up primarily of eolian (wind blown) material, as well as eroded Entrada, Wingate, and Chinle sandstone bedrock. The texture of the soils range from loamy sands (coarse) to sandy clay loams (fine). Soil eroded from the Entrada and Wingate sandstones, the Chinle shale and Precambrian is shallow, sandy and rocky. Clay soils derived from the Morrison Formation and by pedogenic processes (weathering), are found at higher elevations and are very expansive and slippery when wet.
The desert climate allows only sparse growth of desert shrubs and grasses, thus the importance of fragile biological soil crusts (formerly known as cryptobiotic soils) to provide soil stability as well as a nitrogen source for other plants/organisms to utilize. Soils in the monument are highly permeable allowing moisture to be channeled and trapped between rock layers and along fissures contributing to lower elevation springs and seeps.
Did You Know?
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...