Independence Day Tradition

Colorado National Monument is an international park. Visitors from across the world come for a once in a lifetime event - that happens every year - the raising of the stars and stripes on top of a 450-foot tall monolith named Independence Monument.

John Otto could think of nothing better than to advertise Monument Canyon from a flag waving on top of the 450-foot tall Independence Monument. He worked day after day for several weeks pounding iron pipes and carving out footsteps into solid rock to make it possible for any brave soul to get to the top. After successfully getting to the top of Independence Monument for the first time on June 8, 1911, John Otto started his tradition of raising an American flag on top of Independence Monument every year on the Fourth of July.

Today, the Mesa County Technical Rescue Team climbs and raises the American
flag just like John Otto did 101 years ago.

4th - steps to the top
An annual tradition, climbers follow John Otto's route to the top of Independence Monument.

Cindy Fry

4th - crowd
The crowd watches the ascent.


4th - the many sides of IM
The many sides of Independence Monument - with climbers at the top!

Cindy Fry

4th - climber
Do you see the climber in the crack?

NPS Lynne Mager

4th - band
Patriotic music filled the air.


4th - ranger
Rangers provided interpretation and education.


4th - freedom flies high
Freedom Flies High

Cindy Fry

4th - family
Family Fun
4th - collage

Last updated: February 24, 2015

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1750 Rim Rock Drive
Fruita, CO 81521


970 858-2800

Contact Us