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Colorado National Monument will commemorate Independence Day by raising the American flag on the top of Independence Monument, the tallest free-standing rock formation in the park. This tradition was started over ninety-nine years ago by the legendary John Otto. Today, Mesa County’s Technical Search and Rescue Team continues the tradition of raising the flag every Fourth of July.
Rock climbers will scale Independence Monument. After the last climber reaches the top, the climbing team will gather to raise the flag. The flag is expected to be raised between 10:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. The best viewing locations for watching the flag raising ceremony will take place at Independence Monument View Overlook and Otto’s Trail.
From 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.: As part of this special day, visitors can join a park ranger for a guided walk "Raising Old Glory — John Otto Style." Meet at the Otto’s Trailhead 1 mile east of the visitor center on Rim Rock Drive. Distance: 1.0 mile roundtrip. Learn about John Otto’s classic tradition for July 4 and walk to the breathtaking overlook. Bring water and sunscreen, insect repellent and wear sturdy walking shoes.
Rangers will also be at Independence Monument View from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. to answer questions as visitors gather to watch the flag raising ceremony. From 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. a local brass quintet will perform patriotic music in honor of Independence Day.