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Hiking Serpent's Trail
Great Hike for the Family
Rimrock Drive hugs the edge of spectacular cliffs in the Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction Colorado.
Follow the Old Road
In the early days of automobile travel, the road was even steeper and narrower than it is today. When the new road was built, part of the old one was converted to a twisty, spectacular walking trail. While it was difficult for cars, it is easy for hikers.
- Trails in the Colorado National Monument
This site describes the Monument, tells how to get there, has pictures of what you will see, and outlines some other hikes available in the park, but not Serpent's Trail.
- History of Rimrock Drive
This is an extensive (unfortunately, unillustrated) report about the history of the road.
- Colorado National Monument Trails
This description of the Monument on the popular Gorp site includes an introduction to Serpent's Trail.
- An online account of a bike tour including the Monument
Beautiful pictures accompany this first-person adventure.
Up from Grand Junction
After crossing the Colorado River on North Broadway, you will turn left on Monument Road. There is a gas station on one corner, a gym on another, and a mini-mall that includes a grocery store on the third. Stop to get some bottled water if you don't have any. The walk is not hard, but, at almost 5000 feet, the air is very dry.
Head up the pretty two-lane road, watching for cyclists. This is a popular ride for bike tourists from around the world.
Park at the Picnic Area
After paying to enter the Monument, proceed up the hill. You will see a road to a picnic area on your right and a parking area on your left. You can reach the trail from either spot, but I recommend the picnic area. The lot is larger and there is a restroom.
From either lot, signs will direct you to the trail.
- Desert Big Horns on the Desert USA site
Find out more about these fascinating animals.
Watch for Wildlife
In the spring, you are sure to see some of the many animals and birds that live in the park. These include desert bighorn sheep, packrats, hawks, golden eagles, deer, pumas, and canyon wrens.
If you spot dead or sick ground squirrels, stay away from them. As you probably know, fleas from these animals can carry bubonic plague. This is true not only in Colorado, but all over the western US. It is, in fact, a good idea to use an effective insect repellant whenever you hike. It's always better to be safe than sorry.
- Find reviews of great camera equipment here.
Do you need a new camera? How about some lenses? Find out which ones will suit your needs.
Bring Your Camera
The old dirt road loops among gigantic fallen boulders. Pause to wonder at at the many balanced rocks and spectacular views of No Thoroughfare Canyon and the Grand Valley.
A circular polarizing filter will help you capture the rich blue of the sky, and a telephoto lens will add drama to your compositions. A wide-angle lens is good, too. It gives you an amazing depth of field.
Tour of Colorado National Monument
Area Trail Guidebooks
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