Colorado National Monument contains rugged and remote landscapes. Always be prepared when hiking by carrying a map, compass, extra water, food, first aid kit, sun protection, and warm clothing.
Driving and Bicycling
Bicyclists and motoristsshare the Rim Rock Drive. Drive and bike cautiously. Never pass cars or bikes on curves or in no passing zones. Please pack your patience and wait if a car or bicycle ahead of you is driving slowly.
Slow vehicles and bikes should use pullouts to allow faster vehicles to pass.
Be sure everyone has their seatbelts on every time you start your vehicle, even if you are just going between overlooks.
Stay alert for fallen rock and animals in the roadway.
Watch out for icy patches in shaded areas during the winter and drive slowly. Rim Rock Drive has steep dropoffs into the canyons.
Watch your step and your children at overlooks, along canyon rims, and at steep dropoffs. Stay at least six feet (2 meters) away from the edge, don't climb fences at overlooks, and do not run near canyon edges.
Don't back up without first looking behind you to see where you are going.
Don't throw anything over canyon edges. Hikers or rock climbers could be below you, and an object falling from that height could seriously injure another person.
Hiking Safety Tips
When hiking, carry a minimum of one gallon of water per person, per day. There are no water sources on park trails. A water fountain with a bottle filling station is located by the restrooms at the visitor center.
Watch where you put your feet and hands. You are sharing the land with rattlesnakes and scorpions. While they are usually seen only at night, reaching into one of their daytime resting places could startle them. Make sure you can see where you are placing your hands and feet to avoid encounters.
Use sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from sunburn. Wear sturdy footwear, a long sleeve shirt and long pants. Gnats (biting midges) can be a problem from May to August. Be sure to carry insect repellant.
Let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return.
If your group decides to seperate to do different hikes, set a meeting time and place for everyone to return to at the end of the day.
From April to July, seasonal pools may exist in canyon bottoms. Please do not enter these pools. Sunscreens and lotions pollute these waters that are vitally important to wildlife in this arid climate.
Avoid ridgetops and open ground during lightning storms.
Less than ¼-inch of rain can produce flash floods. Flash floods are caused by run-off from intense, localized thunderstorms that drop a large amount of rain over a short period of time. They are most common in July, August, and September, but can occur at any time of the year. Move to higher ground immediately.
The Visitor Center is at 5787 feet, and the highest elevation on Rim Rock Drive is 6640 feet. This may be significantly higher and more arid than your home, so remember to stay hydrated and take your time hiking and viewing overlooks.
Apply sunscreen throughout the day to reduce the risk of sunburn. Rest in the shade when you need to.
Help keep wildlife wild by not feeding animals and staying a respectful distance away. Two bus lengths is a good rule of thumb for all large animals, and 50 ft for small mammals and reptiles.
No matter how far away you are, if the animal changes their behavior or moves towards you, back up to give them extra space. This is especially important around wildlife with babies, because mothers are very protective and will defend their young.