Ten Facts about Colorado National Monument

Learn more about Grand Junction's Colorado National Monument with these "Top 10 Monument Facts"

1. The Colorado National Monument is on the northeast of the vast Colorado Plateau which is a landmass that covers the Four Corners region of the United States Southwest. The Colorado Plateau has the greatest concentration of U.S. National Park Service units in the country outside of Washington D.C. including the Grand Canyon, Arches National Park, Capitol Reef, Mesa Verde, Bears Ears, and more.

2. Reclusive canyon dweller John Otto mounted a one-man campaign to have his "backyard" declared a national park. That designation came in 1911, with Otto as its first superintendent. Otto famously wrote, "I came here last year and found these canyons, and they felt like the heart of the world to me. I'm going to stay and promote this place because it should be a national park."


3. The monument boasts canyons as deep as 500 feet and rock monoliths as tall as 450 feet.


4. Construction of Rim Rock Drive began in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps and was completed in the '50s.


5. Of the three tunnels along the 23-mile-long Rim Rock Drive, the longest is 530 feet long.


6. Rim Rock Drive is also a popular and challenging road-biking route. It is home to the annual bike race called Tour of the Moon. 



7. Serpent's Trail, the original dirt road into Colorado National Monument and now its most popular hiking trail make 54 switchbacks in just 2 1/2 miles.


8. The Monument boasts 14 hiking trails.


9. Visitors often see mule deer and may also spot coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, desert bighorns and much smaller mammals such as foxes, desert cottontails, squirrels, and other rodents.

10. Colorado National Monument records an annual average of fewer than 12 inches of rain.