I feel like Colorado National Monument is the red-headed stepchild of Colorado; Neglected and ignored simply because there are so many other beautiful places throughout the state. The park only sees a small fraction of visitors that other major national parks see and despite driving through Grand Junction ten times a year, I wasn’t innocent in my neglect of the park either. I had driven the 17-mile Rim Road a few times, which was always nice, but after years and years of telling myself I’d get back and spend time there, it still hadn’t happened… which I needed to change.
Immediately southwest of Grand Junction, tributaries of the Colorado river have carved through the edge of the high Uncompahgre Plateau that borders the Colorado for some distance, and the most scenic area, about 10 by 5 miles, is contained within the national monument. This area contains four main canyons, cutting into the plateau for several miles, with several smaller ravines, isolated towers and pinnacles, and many other sandstone formations.
I once again casually drove the Rim Road with the intention of setting up for the night in Saddlehorn Campground within the park, but with sites seemingly on top of each other, no wood fires allowed, and a $20/night price tag I opted to just move on to the North Fruita Desert where not only could I burn a fire and let my pups roam free, but I was mountain biking there the next day anyway. It made for a much more relaxing night, but a much earlier morning…
I’m really glad I finally got back with some amazing light to play with.