Saturday, October 8, 2011

Canyon Rim Trail-Colorado Nat. Monument

The Canyon Rim Trail is a 1 mile roundtrip along the canyon rim at the Visitor Center of Colorado National Monument in western Colorado. The Visitor Center is close to the west entrance of the park.

Colorado National Monument is celebrating 100 years of service in 2011. The Monument was established in 1911 mainly through the efforts of early resident John Otto.

The early views across Wedding Canyon are toward the formations called the Pipe Organ and the Praying Hands. The short Otto’s Trail travels out to the point for a closer view of those formations. The Independence Monument comes into view as you get further out along the trail.

The view down the canyon includes the Fruita and Grand Junction area. These are Wingate sandstone cliffs with the Kayenta layer forming the cap layer. The vegetation here is Pinon Pine and Juniper forest with desert shrubs.
At the end of the trail is the Window Rock formation. From here a hiker can backtrack to the Visitor Center or loop back along the campground road, which has slightly higher views.

The 1 mile round trip Alcove Nature Trail also begins at the Visitor Center along with the long backcountry Black Ridge Trail. The Alcove Trail has a trail guide to 31 marked stops.

The marked stops emphasize the geology and erosion features and the plants and animals that live here. The rock wall along the trail is Entrada Sandstone sitting on Kayenta Sandstone. There are examples of cross bedding pointed out along with carbonic acid caused cavities.

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