The Canyon Rim Trail is a short and easy hike in the Colorado National Monument, which provides a wonderful view into Wedding Canyon. Because the trail either ends or begins at the Visitor Center, it is a great trail to start with, if you are hiking for the first time in the protective area.
The hike begins at the look-out point Book Cliffs View. At this point you get a view over the Grand Valley and the Book Cliffs, an incredible mountain range in the northern part of the valley. From there you simply follow the path at ground level alongside the Wedding Canyon. The trail is really wide, so you do not have to worry if you are a little afraid of heights.
On this only one kilometer (1093yd) long trail there are many look-out points. You get views very far into the canyon (one of the eleven in the Colorado National Monument!) or you can admire the fascinating rock formations like Pipe Organs or the Independence Monument. Shortly before the Visitors Center the trail rises a little bit until you finally reach the building. Inside the Visitors Center is a free exhibit you can look at or buy a book or souvenir of the Colorado National Monument. If you have any questions, the rangers and employees of the center are happy to help you anytime. The rangers also have different programs for visitors, which they offer Memorial Day until Labor Day (May through September).
Where to eat
A real possibility for resting is not available. But since the trail is not very long, you can always bring a little snack and eat it at the end or the beginning of your tour.
- You're traveling a distance of 1 mile on this easy trail. The hike is therefore not too long. Average length of all hikes in Colorado is 9 miles.
- Elevated between 5676 ft and 5741 ft, the hike is among the 5 highest elevated hikes in the USA. You're facing an uphill climb of 31 vertical meters on this hike. The track is therefore relatively flat.
- Don’t hesitate to take your kids along on this easy hikes.
- Hiking boots are not required, but the hike might be more enjoyable with sturdy footwear (especially in wet conditions).
Highlights of the tour
Even though this is a rather short hike, you should definitely make the time for it. It has one of the greatest views onto the unbelievable landscape of Colorado National Monument. Apart from the stunning view into the valley you get to see into the Wedding Canyon and into the Monument Canyon. While hiking you can also see the impressive rock formations called Pipe Organs and the world famous Independence Monument, where every 4th of July the American flag flies.
You can hike this trail either starting or finishing at the Visitors Center. These two are the only possibilities.
Because of the height and the drought you should bring enough water to drink.
To get to the start of the trail, you best enter on the western entrance of the national park. You get off Highway I-70 at exit 19 (Fruita). From there you take Highway 340 southward. It takes you directly to the entrance of the Park. Follow the Historic Rim Drive for a couple of miles until you reach Saddlehorn Camping Grounds or Book Cliffs View.