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  • Writer's pictureKristin

Exploring the Lesser-Known National Park - Colorado National Monument with Kids

Our second morning in Moab, Utah we woke up to rain, so we decided to head eastbound on I-70. As we started researching places we could stop along the way we discovered Colorado National Monument National Park, nestled between Fruita and Grand Junction, Colorado. To be honest, we had never heard of this National Park before, but as we started to look into it, the views looked breathtaking with deep canyons of red rocks and towering sandstone monoliths. It was the picturesque setting of Colorado red rocks.

After a quick lunch and stop at the Journey to Dinosaurs Museum in Fruita (at the request of the kids) we entered in the National Park west entrance.

It was $25 entry fee for the vehicle and as we journeyed up the Rim Rock Drive, it immediately became steep and scenic. Needless to say, the truck definitely put in it's work for the day pulling up the cargo trailer the steep slopes and curves.

Rim Rock Drive

The Rim Rock Drive is 23 miles along and it stretches across the Park offering spectacular views of the canyons and monoliths below. The views from the road are expansive and the photos can probably explain it best!

There is even a rock called Sentinel Spire that many rock climbers climb up. It was crazy to see little specs on the rock that were rock climbers.

Devil’s Kitchen Hike

As we descended down toward the east Park Gate near Grand Junction, we stopped for a brief hike on Devil’s Kitchen Trail. It was a nice little hike for the kids, especially after their big hiking day the previous day at Arches National Park. The trail is 1.5 miles round trip and takes about 1-2 hours to hike; overall depending on how much time you spend up top exploring the large rock grotto.

There were all types of cacti and little lizards that we discovered along the trail – including a some rock scrambling to get to the top, which added some fun elements to the hike. While it did include some scrambling, it was fairly easy and safe for the kids (4 & 7 years old)!

At the top, the kids had a great time exploring the rock amphitheater that laid before them! There were so many large rocks to climb and little places to explore.

yWe were pleasantly surprised with all the Colorado National Monument had to offer! We’d definitely recommend stopping along the way – it definitely provides some scenic views between Grand Junction and Fruita. There are several other trails to choose from as well, but the Devil’s Kitchen seemed to be perfect for kids!


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