Colorado National Monument
Grand Junction Travel Blog› entry 5 of 56 › view all entries
April 20th, 2006 – by: mahoney
I drove along Historic Rim Rock Drive,a 23-mile-long paved road climbs from the Colorado River valley to the top of the Uncompahgre Plateau then winds along the plateau rim, ranging in elevation from elevation 4,700 to 6,140 feet.
This drive offered some of the most fascinating views I have ever seen. I only planned to drive the route for about an hour. After the first curve I stopped and got out of my rental SUV and ended up spending 45 minutes taking photos and just taking in the moment. The silence inside this canyon was extraordinary, I could hear the various birds calling out. At one point, I saw a Golden Eagle swoop down to the floor of the canyon and grasp a rabbit. I just sat there in awe (so much so that I forgot to pick up my camera and record this spectacular event).
The Rim Rock Drive curves around the canyons that make up the monument and every turn provided amazing views, one after another.
Around lunch time, I came across a signpost that said "Glade Park Store - 5 miles". This sign pointed down a dirt road. I thought to myself, why not? The dirt road became blacktop again after about 3 miles, and there on a corner, in the middle of nowhere was Glade Park Store. I stopped in the store and got some drinks and also purchased a pulled pork sandwich from a BBQ trailer outside. This store has been here since 1907 and has served tourists who have been brave enough to venture beyond the monument road.
I stopped at the Visitor's Center near the West end of the drive and purchased some books about the monument. Outside was a trail marker pointing towards a scenic outlook about a half mile away. Even though I was exhausted by this time, I decided to venture onto the trail. If they took the time to put up the sign, it must be a decent view then, right?
The trail went right on the edge of a canyon, after 15 minutes or so of hiking, I came across the outlook. The view was not disappointing. I spent about a half hour there just sitting on the edge of the canyon wall, taking it all in. I headed back to the Visitor's Center and came across a very large rabbit. Didn't see any eagles around, so I told him he was safe.
I got back into the SUV, and made two more stops to take pictures before leaving the monument. If you ever happen to be near Grand Junction, Colorado, definitely take the time to drive the Historic Rim Drive, even though the Colorado National Monument is small, you will not be disappointed!
At 5:30 I met my tour group and had orientation with the leader. Dinner at a Chinese restaurant across from the hotel, then an early bedtime as we will leave early to head to Hunt's Mesa tomorrow.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!