Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Devil’s Kitchen Trail-Colorado Nat. Monument

The Devil’s Kitchen Trail is a 1.5 mile round trip to a rock grotto in the canyon country of Colorado National Monument in western Colorado. The trailhead is 0.2 miles from the east entrance. The west entrance is the easiest to find for visitors and this hike is at the end of the 23 mile Rim Rock Drive.

Four other trails begin at this same trailhead, two long back country routes and two shorter trails. The trailhead maps and information signs at Colorado National Monument are very good. The trailhead elevation is at 4990 feet. The trail junctions are well marked with directions and distances for the various options. The terrain is desert vegetation along a canyon floor with towering sandstone canyon walls.

The sandstone layers are the familiar Wingate, Kayenta, and Entrada that are visible in many of the rugged canyon areas of the Colorado plateau. The Navajo sandstone layer seems to be missing. The vegetation is the Pinon Pine and Utah Juniper forest with desert shrubs like Rabbit Brush and Mormon Tea. I think a saw some single leaf ash trees along the way.

It is a modest 200 feet of elevation change climb up to the Devil’s Kitchen on some carved steps. I could see some side trails in this area. I scanned the cliff faces with binoculars for rock art, but didn’t see anything from the distance.
The Devil’s Kitchen is the partially enclosed space between some high sandstone towers. There is a small window or arch high on the inside. The Devils Kitchen Trail took me about 0:50 minutes. I hiked on a cloudy 65 F degree early October day late in the afternoon.

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