Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument

Planning Your Visit

Things To Know Before You Come

Motorist Safety - Motorists will be sharing the spectacular Rim Rock Drive with bicyclists. Read Important Regulations Here.

Tunnels
Be aware that there are three tunnels on Rim Rock Drive. There are two tunnels on the west side and one on the east side of the park. The clearance above the lanes of traffic ranges from a low point of 11'5" near the edge of the curb to a maximum of 16' 1" above the centerline of the road. Lengths: the east tunnel has a length of 530 feet. The lower west tunnel has a length of 236 feet, while the upper west tunnel has a length of 182 feet. Please keep your vehicle lights and/or bicycle lights on while traveling through the tunnels.

Services

Upon arrival, stop by the park visitor center for current information on everything from road conditions to hiking trails, camping, and ranger-led programs. Rangers and volunteers are available to answer questions and provide information regarding all aspects of safely visiting Colorado National Monument.

The Colorado National Monument Association operates a bookstore in the park visitor center. Water, sunscreen, and hats are available along with a wide selection of books, maps and gift items. The store offers something for everyone, from the youngest to the most experienced visitor.

Other services are readily available in the adjacent communities of Grand Junction and Fruita. Visit the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau and the City Of Fruita for more information.

Pets

Pets are permitted in Colorado National Monument; however they are NOT permitted on trails or in the backcountry. Pets may accompany visitors in the campground, but must be leashed at all times. Pets can be walked on a leash along Rim Rock Drive and in parking lots. Pets should not be left unattended in vehicles, the back of pickup trucks or other open vehicles. Pet etiquette dictates always cleaning up after your pet and disposing of waste in trash receptacles.

Adjacent Bureau of Land Management lands do allow pets on trails and in the backcountry. Contact them directly for details and specific locations.

The summer heat can be deadly for pets. Car temperatures rise quickly in the sun, even on cool days. Your pet can easily die of heat exhaustion. We recommend you not leave pets in the car at all when temperatures are above 65 degrees, even with the windows cracked.

Accessibility
Accessible restrooms are located at the visitor center, Saddlehorn campground, and Devils Kitchen Picnic Area. Two accessible campsites area located in the campground. The Devils Kitchen Picnic Area and visitor center picnic area are also accessible. Book Cliffs View, Independence Monument and Cold Shivers Point are accessible overlooks along Rim Rock Drive.

Hearing Impaired
For visitors with hearing impairments, headphones are available for use while watching the two videos in the visitor center auditorium. A variety of publications may be obtained at the visitor center. Wayside exhibits with illustrations and text on natural and cultural features are situated throughout the park and in the visitor center.

Alcohol Policy
The consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in all areas of the Colorado National Monument, except for the following designated areas and times:

  • Within the Saddlehorn Campground area.
  • The Saddlehorn picnic area during established hours for recreational use.
  • The Devils Kitchen Picnic area during established hours for recreational use.

Gnats

Gnats can be a concern from mid-May through mid-July. Bring bug spray!

Operating Hours & Seasons

Colorado National Monument is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Visitor center: Memorial Day to Labor Day: Operating hours are from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. The bookstore is operated here by the Colorado National Monument Association.

Labor Day to Memorial Day: Operating Hours are from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The visitor center is closed on December 25.

Campground: Saddlehorn campground is open all year.

Motorists

Colorado National Monument's Rim Rock Drive is one of the most spectacular drives in the United States. Motorists are rewarded by fantastic views of the canyons. However, the road is challenging, narrow and steep in some sections with sheer dropoffs. Because motorists will be sharing the road with bicycling visitors, special considerations must be made for road travel. Use caution when on tight corners and hills. On the east side of the monument, motorists may encounter large trucks that use four miles of the monument's roadway to access the community of Glade Park.

Obey all traffic laws and speed limits. The maximum speed is 25 mph.

Do not attempt to proceed around bicyclists unless you have a clear view of oncoming traffic and a safe passing distance. Do not pass in the tunnels.

When passing bicyclists, please allow at least three feet of clearance between your vehicle and the bicyclist.

Check carefully for bicycles, pedestrians and vehicles before pulling out onto the road from pullouts.

Allow other motorists and bicyclists to pass if you are obstructing traffic and there is a safe place to pull over.

Remember that bicyclists have all the rights and responsibilities of any vehicle.

Weather

With elevations ranging from 4,000 ft to nearly 7,000 ft, weather at Colorado National Monument is represented by semi‑desert and upland climates.

 

Annual precipitation averages 11.03 inches, fairly evenly spread throughout the year. August through October is usually the wettest period, but there is often a peak in March as well.

 

Temperatures are highly variable with summer highs ranging into the low 100s in the valley floor and in some cases can reach 110+ inside the neighboring canyon country.  Winters at the monument are generally mild with lows occasionally dipping into the sub‑zero readings.

 

The annual mean high temperature is 61 degrees Fahrenheit, and mean low temperature is 39 degrees Fahrenheit. Snowfall averages approximately 38 inches annually.  Heaviest accumulations usually occur during January and February.

Fees & Reservations

Entrance Fees:

Private, non-commercial vehicle: $7

Individual (hiker, bicyclist, motorcyclist): $4

Good for seven consecutive days. Fees apply to those 16 years old and above.

Camping

Camping at Saddlehorn campground is first-come, first served. Backcountry camping is also available. More ~

Weddings, Memorial Services, Family Reunions, and other Site-Specific Celebrations Processing fees are now required. More ~

Climbing permits - You do not need a climbing permit to climb in the monument. Contact the visitor center to find out about any closures or other information on climbing regulations.

Directions

By Plane from the Grand Junction Regional Airport: America West Express/Mesa Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Great Lakes Airlines, United Express/Skywest, Delta Connection/Skywest and Allegiant Air currently serve the Grand Junction area.

For travelers going Westbound through the Grand Valley: Take Highway I-70 to Grand Junction, and take Exit 31 (Horizon Drive). Follow signs through Grand Junction to the east entrance.

For travelers going Eastbound through the Grand Valley: Take Highway I-70 to Exit 19 (Fruita) and go south on Highway 340 to the west entrance, which is approximately three miles from Fruita. The Visitor Center and Campground are four miles up from the west entrance.

Public Transportation: Tour bus and taxi service is available. Contact the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention bureau for more information.

Amtrak provides daily service to Grand Junction.

View Grand Valley Area Map

Nearby Attractions

McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area

James M. Robb - Colorado River State Park

Highline Lake State Park

BLM Grand Junction Field Office

USDA Forest Service (local)

Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau

Fruita Chamber of Commerce

Nearby National Parks, Monuments and Recreation Areas

Arches National Park

Canyonlands National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Curecanti National Recreation Area

Dinosaur National Monument