Here in Grand Junction, we’re blessed to have the picture-perfect Colorado National Monument right in our backyard. Like any beautiful spot that attracts visitors, the Monument deserves to be protected so that future generations can experience the magic.
The next time you visit, do your part to keep our public lands pristine and follow these golden rules.
With so many options for outdoor activities, it’s never a bad idea to plan your trip ahead of time. Just check out the Plan Your Visit page of the Monument’s official website for all of the detailed information you’ll need about hiking trails, scenic drives, camping spots, and more.
If you’re more of an on-the-fly type of planner, you should still stop by the park’s visitor center. The guides will happily help you plan the perfect day.
Western Colorado is dry. Make sure you have enough water for the activities you plan to do, because you won’t find any out on the trails.
Don’t forget to drink the water you’ve brought, either. It’s easy to forget about hydration as you’re soaking in the scenery, but that’s a recipe for dehydration (and a very unpleasant headache.)
The sunshine can be brutal out here. SPF will save your skin, but don’t forget to re-apply throughout the day as you sweat. Sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat will also come in handy.
Gnats (aka biting midges) can get gnarly from mid-May through mid-July around these parts. Toss some bug spray in your pack to save yourself from these pesky insects.
Throw all of your trash away in the designated trash bins or pack it out to be disposed of later.
Yes, that even includes compostable items like banana peels and apple cores that aren’t native to the delicate desert environment.
Earn some karma points and bring an extra trash bag on your trip to pick up anything you see on trails and in the campground.
After seeing your good deeds, others might even feel inspired to do the same.
Rim Rock Drive includes three tunnels, two on the west side and one on the east side of the park. When driving or biking through the tunnels, turn on your lights so that other visitors can clearly see you.
Dogs and other pets aren’t allowed on hiking trails or anywhere in the Monument’s backcountry. They can hang out in the developed campground (with a human) and may be walked along paved roads. Pets also need to be leashed whenever they aren’t in a vehicle.
John Otto was a conservationist who dedicated himself to protecting and promoting these lands. He even built the first trails, which was no small feat.
Take a deep breath and soak in the towering rock formations and seemingly endless vistas, because this is a place that deserves quiet reflection and appreciation. As you take some time to look around, you might even spot wildlife like bighorn sheep or golden eagles.