What and Where Is the Colorado National Monument?

Colorado National Monument officially became a national monument on May 24, 1911.

Colorado National Monument is a park service unit in Colorado. It is located in Mesa County, near the Grand Junction city. The exact location of the park is on the Rim Rock Drive in Fruita. The Colorado National Monument is part of the arid Colorado Plateau. The area surrounding the park is simply referred to it as ‘’The Monument.” The park is home to a variety of wildlife such as coyotes, desert bighorn sheep, ravens, jays, golden eagles, and red-tailed hawks.

History of the Colorado National Monument

John Otto, a settler of Grand Junction, was the first to explore the area where the Colorado National Monument is now located. He built trails on the plateau and into the canyons as many residents close to the park could not access them. Otto’s activities quickly became popular among the park residents and the whole of the city. He was soon recognized when the Chamber of Commerce sent delegates to investigate his work. Other than Otto’s work, the investigators found that the nature around the park was more beautiful than they imagined. The park’s beauty and Otto’s work were further popularized by the local newspapers. A bill was presented in the Congress and Senate to lobby for the park’s recognition. President William Howards Taft visited the site and saw the need for it to be declared a National Monument. Since there were delays in the passing of the bill, President Howard used the Antiquities Act and the Presidential Proclamation in its declaration as a National Monument. The site officially became a national monument on May 24, 1911. Otto was designated the position of the first park’s ranger.

Overview of the National Monument

Colorado National Monument has a total area of 20,533 square kilometers. The park is characterized by rock formations and sandstones. It is within the larger Colorado Plateau. The national monument has a number of attractions with the core attraction being the Monument Canyon. The Monument Canyon is composed of many rock formations including the Coke Ovens, Kissing Couple, and Independence Monument.

The park’s geological composition is dominated by three different types of rocks and sediments. The rocks are the Proterozoic gneiss and schist, including Ute Canyon Stock, which is the oldest. The Mesozoic sedimentary rocks overlay the schist. Above the Mesozoic sedimentary rocks are quaternary unconsolidated deposits which include alluvium and dunes. Faulting activities on the rocks have resulted to the sedimentary rocks forming into monoclines. Erosion has also resulted in many land formations in the park. The climate of Colorado National Monument is described as a high desert that is characterized by hot and dry summer and cold winter with some snow.

Popular Activities in the Colorado National Monument

Some of the common activities that take place at the Colorado National Monument include cycle racing, horse riding, hiking, and sightseeing, bird watching, photography, and camping. It is thought to be one of the best camping sites in the state of Colorado. There are many hiking sites and trails in the park. The hikes’ popularity depends on their difficulty levels. There are also a natural history museum and a gift shop in the park.


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