Thursday, October 6, 2011

Coke Ovens Trail-Colorado Nat. Monument

The Coke Ovens Trail is a 1 mile round trip to a Coke Oven formations close-up overlook in Colorado National Monument in western Colorado. The trailhead is 3.8 miles east of the Visitor Center along the Rim Rock Drive.
There is a Coke Oven overlook point along the Rim Rock Drive a short distance west of the trailhead that provides a good profile view. The Coke Ovens are sandstone with a hard cap that protects part of the sandstone. Where the cap breaks, the sandstone has eroded into a rounded shape.

The trailhead for the Coke Ovens is also the starting point for the backcountry Upper Monument Canyon Trail. The two trails use the same switchbacks for a short distance, and then split at a well marked junction. The Coke Ovens Trail stays along a ledge while the Monument Canyon Trail continues to descend. The starting elevation is 6140 feet and there is a 160 foot descent to the lookout point.

There is a fenced overlook at the end of the trail. The view of the Coke Ovens is from the end of the line.

Looking into the canyon from the left side of the overlook, the route of the Monument Canyon Trail can be viewed. The trailhead map says it is 3.5 miles one way to the Independence Monument on the canyon floor.

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