Author, Tiney Ricciardi shared: "The state’s western edge is largely high desert terrain, thanks to the Colorado Plateau that extends from the Rocky Mountains south and west to Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. Its most famous geological attraction is the Grand Canyon, but for those looking to stay closer to home, there are numerous canyons, gorges, plateaus and mesas within Colorado state lines.
With more than 20,000 acres of desert scape, the Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction is a great place to start your desert adventure. It offers a variety of short and long hikes, as well as a canyon rim drive. Some of the most popular trails include Devils Kitchen at the south end of the park, which boasts a couple of seasonal waterfalls, and Serpents Trail, an out-and-back so named for its plethora of switchbacks. (Fun fact: It was the park’s original automobile road until 1952.)
Mesa County’s most recognizable landmark is Mount Garfield, which overlooks the town of Palisade. Hikers can reach the top if they’re willing to walk up about 2,000 feet in elevation. According to the Bureau of Land Management, there are two trails that lead to the top: The 2-mile Mount Garfield Trail is shorter but more strenuous, while Gearhart Mine Trail is 2.5 miles."