Colorado National Monument – American Road Trip (pt27)
Sept 23, 2015. Day 45 of my American Road Trip.
A couple of hours after I left Black Canyon of the Gunnison, I was rolling into Grand Junction, Colorado which is in west-central Colorado about 40 miles from the Utah border. Grand Junction ended up being a great place to stop and rest after a long day of driving and hiking. It also ended up being a great place to stop because of the Colorado National Monument. My good friend, Dan, that told me about Black Canyon also said I had to go to the Colorado National Monument on my way to Utah. He turned out being the best virtual tour guide of my trip.
I gotta be honest. After stopping and checking into my hotel, I got lost, lost on the way to the monument. The monument is a short drive out-of-town and I decided to follow my iPhone’s WazeApp navigation since it was the quickest and easiest choice. The app hadn’t let me down too often before with the one major time being when it gave me a scenic morning tour of Baltimore’s economically depressed areas. At least this time I wasn’t quite as concerned.
After losing half an hour or so of daylight roaming the monument adjacent town of Fruita, I finally said screw it (maybe not those words) and drove back to the interstate to find the Colorado Monument landmark signs. Go figure, they take you to the monument.
The entrance booth was closed when I finally arrived, so no map or interesting facts for me. Not really knowing where I was going I just followed Rim Rock Drive and enjoy the windy ascent to the main monument viewpoint.
The Colorado National Monument is surrounded by a park full of sandstone canyons and rock formations. As you can imagine, it’s also a popular destination for hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing, which brings me to the pictures below. Of course, if there are wild animals in a park, they’re going to come out to see me. In this case, the bighorn sheep made an appearance. Sorry, Dan and Leah.
After my drive through the park, I grabbed some beers and great pizza at Kannah Creek Brewing Company before heading back to my hotel and getting some rest for my run through the Utah National Parks.
The Colorado National Monument was initially just something for me to do before getting some dinner. I trusted my buddy Dan, but since I hadn’t ever heard of the monument I didn’t figure it would be all that great. Ahh, I was wrong yet again. The sunset views of the monument were phenomenal and the windy drive through the canyons was a great way to end my day. The pizza and beer didn’t hurt either. If you’re anywhere near Grand Junction, Colorado, I highly recommend spending a couple of hours to see the Colorado Monument and drive through the park.
That’s it for Colorado on this road trip. Since it’s one of my favorite states, I can guarantee I’ll be back for some more explorations. Perhaps even in the summer of 2016.
Thanks for reading.
LAST STOP: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado
NEXT STOP: Arches National Park, Utah