The Black Ridge Trail—Colorado National Monument’s highest trail—offers views in every direction along its 5.4-mile course. Look for the rugged, 14,000-foot peaks of the San Juan Mountains on the southern horizon. Grand Junction, the Grand Valley, and the Book Cliffs are ever-present to the east and north beyond the Monument’s steep-walled canyons. In late spring, the high desert gains new shades of green as native grasses come up between the piñon and juniper—blooming Indian paintbrush also add splashes of crimson to the brown-and-green landscape. Hike this scenic route north to south for a steady climb, or start at the southern end for a leisurely, 900-foot descent to the visitor center.
Mapped by Genny Wright, Jenn Fields, and Tim Shisler