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“Spectacular and uncrowded”

Colorado National Monument
Ranked #1 of 20 things to do in Fruita
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: This monument, 23,000 acres of canyons, plateaus and massive towers of naturally sculpted monoliths, includes Balance Rock, a 600-ton boulder perched on a rock pedestal. Two entrances are located outside the cities of Fruita and Grand Junction, Colorado.
Reviewed 20 August 2014

What a gem for area residents! This natural monument is quickly and easily accessible for all in the Grand Valley, and it'll satisfy drivers, cyclists, bikers, hikers, and climbers alike. Yet, it's still relatively unknown to the masses. It's also perfect if you don't want to get too far away from city amenities but want to experience a desert canyon environment in Colorado.

Like all things in the NPS, there is a fee to enter and you can pay at either the Fruita or Grand Junction ends. The Fruita side has a large campground and a small Visitor's Center. We were stoked to see a water dispenser on the building just outside the doors to refill your reusable water bottles!

Rim Rock Drive is spectacular with many pull-offs, and some even had quick little interpretative trails for those with limited time. Depending on the pull-off, the view could be of Grand Junction's city lights, or it could be of amazing red rock formations. Very curvy, so please pay attention.

Hiking trails are well marked, but come prepared with water and clothing. We saw swifts, canyon wrens, ravens, pinyon jays, and several ground squirrels. I've even seen a rattler on a previous visit. The ranger at the Visitor Center was very friendly and earnest, and I could tell she enjoyed her job.

1  Thank aerofaze
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"grand junction"
in 337 reviews
"visitor center"
in 134 reviews
"rock formations"
in 79 reviews
"rim rock drive"
in 56 reviews
"east entrance"
in 27 reviews
"mini grand canyon"
in 27 reviews
"mile drive"
in 37 reviews
"short trails"
in 19 reviews
"hiking trails"
in 44 reviews
"big horn sheep"
in 35 reviews
"great drive"
in 29 reviews
"breathtaking views"
in 36 reviews
"awe inspiring"
in 16 reviews
"take pictures"
in 35 reviews
"great hiking"
in 18 reviews
"independence rock"
in 18 reviews
"coke ovens"
in 23 reviews
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739 - 743 of 1,428 reviews

Reviewed 19 August 2014

This is way out of your way from anywhere to go see by itself. However, if you find yourself on I-70 in western Colorado and have never driven through the park - Do it! It does not take much time out of your journey to wherever else you might be going and you will absolutely enjoy it.

Thank Colo-Mtn-Hiker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 August 2014

We made a trip to this location when in Denver and driving to Moab, UT. East side entrance to National Mounument is in Grand City Junction. Enter at this location and drive thru and see various look out point, short or moderate hikes and exit the park at Fruita, CO. It does have visitor center but you will NOT get any food or gas as this locaiton. Best place to have lunch or dinner is in Grand Junction City. Pack lunch before you go if you need to eat within park

Thank Sibandu_M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2014

I need to get all my family members to put this route on this list!

I frequently detour to see any canyon that is on the map - but this one has to be in the top 5 anywhere. Wow - I'm so glad we elected to take this ~1 to 1:30 route from Grand Junction to Fruita. Beautiful - we went through it late in the afternoon and the lighting and rock colors were spectacular. Such amazing landscape. I will be back here for sure with a better camera some day!

Please go - well worth your time - uh - WELL WORTH YOUR TIME.

Thank CACoastTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 13 August 2014

It was a spectacular drive around this park, lots of stopping off places, fantastic views. We can see why it is called the Colorado National Monument. It takes about 2 hours to drive round. There are also some excellent trails to walk if it is not too hot.

Thank Gazingatstars
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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