Colorado National Monument

What a surprise this find was!  I had never heard of the Colorado National Monument but this 31 square mile park easily rivals, in my opinion, other more famous parks like Canyon de Chelly, Arches, and Monument Valley.  The sandstone spires, tall rock formations and colorful canyons kept us happy photographing a full day.  There were not too many people and parking, overall, was not a problem.

Independence Monument (the middle spire) was once part of the a longer ridge of rocks that you see on each side of it.  Erosion of softer rocks left this part of the ridge to stand 'independently'.

Different view of Independence Monument

There were lots of cyclists tackling the curves and steep inclines.

There were lots of pull outs so many times one could get a view from one side of a spire and then drive down the road and get a different view.  Plus, we drove the whole route in the morning from the Fruita entrance and then turned around to get the afternoon light.  This would be the morning view.

This is the afternoon view from the same location, but different focal length.

My fish eye lens put to use trying to show how these canyons lay out.  The run pretty much south to north.  The river you may occasionally see is the Colorado River.  The communities in the background are Fruita and in some images you may see part of Grand Junction.

This set of spires is called the Coke Ovens.

This is Fallen Rock.  Rather than toppling over, this huge chunk of rock simply slid down and landed upright about 300 feet from the back rock.  It took its top with it.  From a distance the top looks like a group of people grouped on a ledge.

If you ever got tired of spires and ledges you could take a hike through areas that looked like this!

A walkway at the Visitor's Center.

This can be seen at the Visitor Center.  It is a tribute to John Otto, the man who championed the creation of the area as a National Monument.  He was the first person to climb Independence Monument, a practice that is continued today with a tradition of others climbing to the top every July 4th and placing the American flag at the summit.

At the summit of Independence Monument.

We hope you enjoyed the trip!