Colorado National Monument comprises 20,453.93 acres, about 32 square miles of sheers walls and deep canyons which expose many of the colorful geologic formations displayed in greater abundance further southwest on the Colorado Plateau.
The canyon bottoms, about 4,700 feet elevation, have ancient Precambrian rocks covered by Triassic-age Chinle, Wingate, Kayenta, Entrada and Summerville formations, then the Morrison Formation bearing dinosaur fossils.Three Cretaceous formations are exposed on top of the mesa , about 7,200 feet elevation. Independence Monument is a free-standing monolith that rises 450 feet from the canyon floor.
Colorado National Monument was established May 24, 1911. A variety of wildlife live at the Monument, including bighorn sheep, golden eagles, mule deer and mountain lions.
Rates & Fees
Entrance Fees: $7.00 per vehicle or $4.00 per person. Passes good for 7 days
Camping Fees: $10.00 per site per night year-round.
Seasons / Hours
Park is open 24 hours a day, year-round. Visitor Center is open every day, except Christmas.
Summer Hours: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
Winter Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
The Visitor Center includes a bookstore managed by Colorado National Monument Association
Programs & Events
Audiovisual program, exhibits at the Visitor Center. Evening campfire programs during summer months, Saturday and Sunday only. Easter Sunrise Services.
Various Ranger-guided special interpretive programs are offered during the summer.
None in park, but available in nearby communities of Fruita and Grand Junction.
The Visitor Center, one campsite, three overlooks, and Devils Kitchen picnic area are all wheelchair accessible.
Colorado National Monument is located on the easternmost portion of the Great Basin Desert's Colorado Plateau. It is the easternmost national park or monument created by the Colorado River. It sits just outside Fruita, Colorado at the confluence of the Gunnison and Colorado rivers.
Summers are hot and dry, 80 to 100 degrees F. Winters are mild, 20 to 45 degrees F. Highest visitation June and July with the lowest in December and January.
- East to West: Interstate 70 to Grand Junction, exit at Horizon Drive to east entrance.
- West to West: Interstate 70 to Fruita, Colorado, Exit 19 to west entrance.
There are daily scheduled flights to Grand Junction. Car rental service is available
Transcontinental bus service to Grand Junction, Colorado and tour bus service is also available.
Amtrak provided daily service to Grand Junction
Things To Do
Hiking, sight seeing, camping, biking, picnicking, bird watching and climbing.
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. Interpretive plaques at viewpoints explain the origin and development of geologic features. The road offers access to one nature trail and 13 backcountry trails of various various length.
Camping & Lodging
There is no lodging in the park, but numerous motels in nearby Fruita, Grand Junction and the surrounding area. For more information a Click On City. (Rates, availability and reservation online)
Colorado National Monument has an 80-site campground open year-round. It has rest rooms with flush toilets and sinks, drinking water, charcoal grills and picnic tables. Additional camping is available in nearby private campgrounds. Camping fee is $10.00 per night per site.
Cities & Towns
Fruita Colorado: 6 miles west.
Grand Junction, Colorado: 6 miles east.
Rangely, Colorado: 83 miles north.
Moab, Utah: 99 miles southwest.
Cortez, Colorado: 214 miles south.
Parks & Monuments
Dinosaur National Monument: 124 miles north.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument: 88 miles southeast.
Mesa Verde National Park: 220 miles south.
Hovenweep National Monument: 242 miles south
Arches National Park: 93 miles southwest.
Canyonlands National Park (Island in the Sky): 111 miles west.
Recreation & Wilderness Areas
Curecanti National Recreation Area: 97 miles southeast.
Grand Mesa National Forest: 30 miles south.
Grand Mesa National Forest: 30 miles south.
Uncompahgre National Forest: 40 miles east.
Historic & Points of Interest
Devils Canyon Learning Center -- Animated Dinosaur Museum
(Fruita, Colorado): 6 miles west.
Dinosaur Valley Museum (Grand Junction): 6 miles east.
Museum of Western Colorado (Grand Junction): 6 miles east.