Colorado National Monument: Independence Monument

This 4.6-mile out-and-back twists through a red rock canyon ending at a towering rock monolith in Colorado National Monument.

-Mapped by Kim Phillips and Matt Vellone

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 3.8



Location: 39.1087493896484, -108.701499938965

Follow Monument Canyon Trail to the W, then swing S for an easy ascent


Location: 39.1047897338867, -108.703796386719

Mellow dirt trail curves to the SE; a tall chain link fence borders E side of trail for brief stretch; abundant blue-green sagebrush create a striking contrast to the red sandstone cliffs along path


Location: 39.1009483337402, -108.701103210449

Trail drops slightly to parched streambed where several giant cottonwoods provide refreshing shade; head W


Location: 39.100830078125, -108.70369720459

Continue into wide canyon


Location: 39.1013870239258, -108.706726074219

Sheer red rock walls rise steeply next to trail; ahead, trail winds to the S


Location: 39.1003494262695, -108.707397460938

Look to the NE for views of the flat-topped Book Cliffs rising abruptly behind the expansive Grand Valley; follow trail to the NW through a canyon dotted with juniper and sagebrush


Location: 39.1020812988281, -108.710899353027

Continue steady ascent up rocky, uneven trail


Location: 39.0993995666504, -108.712898254395

A small overlook on L side of trail reveals more views of Grand Junction to the E and red rock formations to the S and SW


Location: 39.0990142822266, -108.71605682373

Trail curves to the W


Location: 39.098819732666, -108.717964172363

Head S; a red rock wonder awaits around the next bend


Location: 39.0963363647461, -108.721694946289

Independence Monument: Tilt your head back to spot the top of this 450-foot monolith, which resembles a gigantic coke bottle. Lofty rock spires punctuate the landscape in every direction. Retrace route to trailhead

Rocky Cliffs

Location: 39.1073989868164, -108.703079223633

Monument Canyon Trail

Location: 39.1061897277832, -108.703178405762

Rocky Trail

Location: 39.101188659668, -108.704559326172

Grand Valley Panorama

Location: 39.1002502441406, -108.707168579102

Red rock cliffs frame views of the Grand Valley.

Nearing the Monument

Location: 39.0966606140137, -108.719512939453

Independence Monument

Location: 39.0962905883789, -108.721618652344

The base of the Monument.

Colorado National Monument

Location: 39.099609375, -108.736312866211

View of the Monument from the park road. The trail wraps around the base of Independence Monument.