Colorado National Monument: A Sprawling Park in the Red Rock Country of Grand Junction Colorado


A detail shot of the cliffs at Red Rocks in Colorado
A detail shot of the cliffs at Red Rocks in Colorado

Colorado National Monument is a 32-square mile national park, part of the National Park Service system of the United States. Among the wildlife to be seen in the park are the Desert Bighorn Sheep and Golden Eagles that abound in the solitude of this park of stone mesas and canyons.

On arrival at the park one should stop at the visitor center for the most recent safety information. At the center purchases can also be made of any necessary goods one may have forgotten like sunscreen, a hat or water, before entering the park to enjoy the wonder of its semi-desert terrain.

As part of the Greater Colorado Plateau, most of the Colorado National Monument rises to 2,000-feet above the Grand Valley, in which the Colorado River runs its course. Spectacular views can be seen of the river as well as of the many wondrous scenic views of the outstretched landscape. Bringing a camera along is a must in order to capture images of the painted rock sculptures crafted by thousands of years of natural artistry worked by rain, wind and time.

Taxi or tour bus can take you to the park from Grand Junction where the nearest airport and Amtrak station are both located. By car its west of Grand Junction on I-70 to exit 31, east bound travelers take I-70 to Fruita at exit 19 and then head south on Hwy 340.

Camp sites are available in the park although there is also plenty to do in Grand Junction, with a population of more than 40,000 people. In fact Grand Junction makes the perfect base for activities throughout the year, located 197-miles west-southwest from Denver. White water rafting on the Colorado River and mountain bike riding can keep one busy and fit in the warm months. Powederhorn Ski Resort is also found right at the edge of the Grand Mesa for skiing and winter sports recreation.

The center of Grand Junction hosts a golf course and a vibrant downtown scene with galleries and boutiques, cafes and museums as well as a number of annual festivals. Numerous outdoor concerts can be enjoyed in the warm months, as well as local fresh fruits and vegetables. Local wines can be enjoyed throughout the year. Grand Junction is also the home to Grand Mesa College which means lectures and activities related to college learning are also available to community members.

Of course the main attraction for residing here is having the Colorado National Monument practically down the street, allowing one to enjoy the park's serenity again and again.

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