Colorado National Monument will commemorate Independence Day by raising Old Glory 450 vertical feet from the canyon floor to the top of Independence Monument, the tallest free-standing rock formation in the park. As more than 30 rock climbers scale Independence Monument, two interpretive programs will take place at scenic overlooks along the rim of Wedding and Monument Canyons.
After the last climber works his way through the final crux move, the climbing team will gather to raise the flag. As the Stars and Stripes begin to show, trumpeters will play "The Star- Spangled Banner." The music will echo across the canyons. This tradition was started over 98 years ago by the legendary John Otto. Today, Mesa County’s Technical Search and Rescue Team continue the tradition of raising the flag every Fourth of July.
From 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., take the guided walk "Raising Old Glory — John Otto’s 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.
From 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., attend the ranger talk "A Monumental Independence Celebration." Meet at Independence Monument View Overlook. 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.
For more information about the celebration, please call (970) 858-3617 ext. 309 or visit the park website at www.nps.gov/colm/
Look for Independence Day celebrations across the country in the national park system at: https://www.nps.gov/pub_aff/inde/events.htm