Follow:
Travel

Postcard from the Colorado National Monument

Have you ever arrived at a place that you hadn’t heard of a week before only to find that it is one of the most weirdly beautiful, crazily mind-blowing places you’ve ever seen with your own two eyes? A place that until days before you couldn’t pinpoint on a map, but upon arrival left you altogether speechless? No? ….Well have you been to the Colorado National Monument?

IMG_2595

I’ve never been to Arizona (YET!), but I assume the feelings of awe that we experienced when driving through the Colorado National Monument are comparable to what it’s like to see the Grand Canyon. Colorado is obviously most famously known for its mountains and the great range of activities that they bring, but I’ve been here for more than 4 months now and it seems I just keeeeeep discovering that there are more and more different landscapes/climates/variations of natural beauty all across this big ole state!

From the Denver area, head west into the mountains, zip up and down and along those twisty highways, pass signs for Keystone and Breckenridge, Vail and Aspen — all those big ski towns — and then don’t go skiing. Keep going. What lies on the other side of the Colorado Rockies is a different world, a new landscape of red dirt and cacti and jagged cliffs and desert plains and plateaus with little dry streams running through it all.

IMG_6033IMG_6045IMG_2619

When my friends came to visit a few weeks ago, we planned to visit Moab, Utah while they were out here in the wild west. It’s a 6 hour drive from Boulder, so we split it up by stopping along the way — at Glenwood Springs for the hot springs & a good night’s sleep, and at the Colorado National Monument the next morning… because I heard it was cool. And cool it was.

The CNM is a few miles from Grand Junction and was established as a National Park in 1911. Along the hour drive through the park, there are lots and lots of scenic lookout points at which to gaze and ooh and ahh and feel all of the love for this grand country of ours. There are also campgrounds and places to hike throughout, but we just slowly meandered through, took a ton of pics and were on our way — UTAH awaited!

IMG_2601The Colorado National Monument was really something else — and gave us a taste of the crazy natural beauty that was the come in Utah. I REALLY recommend hitting this place up if you’re ever in northwest Colorado (or even if you’re not… you should go!), but just in case that’s a bit of stretch for the time being, feel free to take a photographic journey via the pics I snapped during our visit:

IMG_2600IMG_2602IMG_6133IMG_2617IMG_2945IMG_2949IMG_6053 IMG_6054

 Have you seen the different landscapes of Colorado? 

Share on
Leave a comment

You may also like

16 Comments

  • Reply tedgriffith

    I lived in Colorado for most of 58 years. You can spend a lifetime exploring there and still not see it all. CNM is a special place. We visit it when we go to see kids and grandkids in the Grand Junction area.

    June 4, 2015 at 7:05 am
    • Reply Kristen

      The immensity and beauty of the place really shocked us! But that could be said for so many places in Colorado!

      June 4, 2015 at 11:27 am
  • Reply Hannah Myer

    Goodness gracious. I love when nature sparks awe in us – especially when we don’t expect it. Reminds me of that sunset in Portugal. <3

    June 4, 2015 at 8:29 am
    • Reply Kristen

      “How can you look at this sunset and not believe that God exists?” Forever missing Portugal and its beauty!!!!

      June 4, 2015 at 11:27 am
  • Reply Margie

    It’s hard to believe that this place exists, and I don’t really know much about it. It is truly remarkable. Hope to one day see it! Beautiful!!!

    June 5, 2015 at 2:00 pm
  • Reply Nancy

    Your pictures are great but most of all they show me that you are having FUN!

    June 9, 2015 at 5:14 am
    • Reply Kristen

      Sooooooo much fun! 🙂

      June 9, 2015 at 10:56 am
  • Reply Postcard from Colorado Springs | skyward eyes

    […] as far as driving across the United States with me to help me move out west, several of which have already visited, and a few of which just left in the past few days. Last month, I had the exceptional pleasure of […]

    July 13, 2015 at 11:58 pm
  • Reply Turquoise waters at 7k feet: hiking to Hanging Lake | skyward eyes

    […] Postcard from the Colorado National Monument […]

    August 8, 2015 at 7:27 pm
  • Reply Driving along the majestic Mt. Evans Scenic Byway | skyward eyes

    […] Postcard from the Colorado National Monument […]

    August 8, 2015 at 7:29 pm
  • Reply Photo Granny

    The Colorado National Monument is one of my favorite places. Every time I drive it, I see something new and different. Everything also changes with the seasons. There are also numerous and gorgeous hikes within the monument. Beautiful pictures, Kristen!

    August 9, 2015 at 7:12 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      Thank you very much!

      August 9, 2015 at 8:32 pm
  • Reply ohiocook

    Such beautiful country!!

    August 10, 2015 at 4:50 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      It definitely is 🙂

      August 10, 2015 at 8:39 pm
  • Reply She won’t make it 6 months | skyward eyes

    […] of the month, 3 of my best pals visited me (including my 2 Peru travel mates) and we journeyed to western Colorado and the desert in Moab, […]

    September 14, 2015 at 6:09 am
  • Reply Notes on leaving & delayed withdrawal | skyward eyes

    […] desert all in one day. There are evergreens and aspens, but there are also cacti and badlands and deep red rock canyons. I realized that the Black Hills of South Dakota are gorgeous, and Nebraska was surprisingly […]

    December 22, 2015 at 7:27 am
  • Leave a Reply