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Hiking Serpent's Trail

Updated on April 11, 2009
This beautiful trail is easy enough for seniors and children.
This beautiful trail is easy enough for seniors and children.
Cliffs of the Colorado National Monument from South Camp Road Near Wingate Elementary School
Cliffs of the Colorado National Monument from South Camp Road Near Wingate Elementary School

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.

Rider on Monument Road on a Sunny Spring Morning
Rider on Monument Road on a Sunny Spring Morning

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.

Scene from the East Picnic Area near the start of the Serpent's Trail
Scene from the East Picnic Area near the start of the Serpent's Trail

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.

Two rams on a rock ledge overlooking the Serpent's Trail
Two rams on a rock ledge overlooking the Serpent's Trail

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.

Hiker climbing the trail.
Hiker climbing the trail.

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

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    • mysterylady 89 profile image

      mysterylady 89 

      8 years ago from Florida

      I wish I were better at hiking. Love your specific details!

    • profile image

      smwizzz 

      8 years ago

      Nicely done. You have added another great place to visit to my already long list.

    • Camping Dan profile image

      Camping Dan 

      9 years ago

      The area around Grand Junction is incredible. But it does not get the attention it deserves since there is so much to do and see on the western slope of Colorado.

    • outdoorjunkie profile image

      outdoorjunkie 

      10 years ago from California

      Wow... looks like a really cool place to check out. The pinnacles and rock formations are incredible.

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 

      10 years ago from London UK

      Looks like a very beautiful place! and it ceratianly beats london anyday! Thanks for your tour and hub!

    • bluerabbit profile imageAUTHOR

      bluerabbit 

      10 years ago

      Yes, you are right about the heat. Spring and fall are perfect here, and this particular trail can even be hiked in the winter. In the summer, it is a good idea to get up with the sun and hike very early. Hiking in the evening doesn't work. Actually, the time just before the sun sets in the summer is the hottest part of the day.

    • solarshingles profile image

      solarshingles 

      10 years ago from london

      Wonderful landscape and quite challenging routes, when the weather is hot...

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