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?
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.
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!
The 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:
Have you seen the different landscapes of Colorado?