When the temperature on the Grand Mesa increases, snow decreases and spring runoff will be in full swing. Below the mesa, the desert hosts its own habitat with prickly pear cactus, claret cup cactus and barrel cactus showing their yellow, purple, red and white flowers.
Hiking on the Colorado National Monument is spectacular in every season, but there’s something special about the spring, especially in the mornings and evenings. Lightweight tennis shoes or hiking shoes are in order. Upper No Thoroughfare Canyon is a bit tougher, and you may want to wear a sturdier pair of shoes or boots if you decide to tackle that route. Lower Liberty Cap is a little steeper and rockier than some of the trails, so sturdy footwear is essential here.
Want a short hike on the Monument? Try Alcove Trail. The half-mile trail, located directly across Rim Rock Drive from the Saddlehorn Visitor Center is mostly level and considered fairly moderate hiking. Expect it to take half an hour when you take the time to enjoy the trail. The level trail travels to an alcove in a box canyon. It's a good introduction to some of the plants, animals and rocks of the monument and is great for families with small children. Detailed trail guides are available at the trailhead and the visitor center.