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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. As more than 30 rock climbers scale Independence Monument, two ranger-led programs will take place at Independence Monument View Overlook and Otto’s Trail along Rim Rock Drive. After the last climber works his way through the final crux move of the climb, the climbing team will gather to raise the flag. The flag is expected to be raised between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. The best viewing locations for watching the flag raising ceremony will take place at Independence Monument View Overlook and Otto’s Trail.
Scheduled Ranger-led Programs:
- From 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., join a park ranger for "A Monumental Independence Celebration" talk at 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Meet at Independence Monument View Overlook 1.1 mile east of the visitor center on Rim Rock Drive. Come celebrate the raising of the American flag on top of Independence Monument. Listen to stories of the legendary John Otto, watch rock climbers from Mesa County’s Technical Search and Rescue Team scale Otto’s original route, and hear patriotic music resonate across the canyons as the Stars and Stripes is raised. Bring water and wear sunscreen.
- From 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., take the 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 and join a park ranger for a short walk to the breathtaking overlook at the end of Otto’s Trail. Learn about John Otto’s classic tradition for July 4. Watch rock climbers from Mesa County’s Technical Search and Rescue Team scale Independence Monument and raise the flag. Bring water and sunscreen and wear sturdy walking shoes. Distance: 1.0 mile roundtrip. This tradition was started over 98 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.
For more information about the celebration, visit the park website at www.nps.gov/colm/ or call 970/858-3617, ext. 360.