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Camping at Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument
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Basic Information

Colorado National Monument is located near the city of Grand Junction in western Colorado. It boasts towering monoliths, vast plateaus, and canyons with a delicate red rock landscape. Here is some essential information about camping in this area:

Campgrounds

Saddlehorn Campground is the only established campground within Colorado National Monument. It features:

  • A and B loops open year-round
  • C loop open seasonally; typically from March to October
  • Flush toilets (A and B loops)
  • Drinking water
  • Picnic tables and grills at each site
  • No hookups for RVs, but there are sites that can accommodate RVs up to 40 feet.

Reservations and Fees

  • Most sites in Saddlehorn Campground are available on a first-come, first-served basis, but reservations can be made during the high season (usually March - October) for Loop A via the recreation.gov website.
  • As for fees, there is a nightly fee for camping, in addition to the park entrance fee. Be sure to check the latest fee structure before planning your trip.

Backcountry Camping

Backcountry camping is permitted in designated areas with a free backcountry permit, which can be obtained at the monument's visitor center. This is for experienced campers who can ensure Leave No Trace principles are followed.

Wildlife and Safety

Wildlife in the area includes desert bighorn sheep, coyotes, and various bird species. It is crucial to store food properly and maintain a safe distance from any wildlife you encounter.

Weather and Best Time to Visit

The monument is open year-round, but the best time to visit is during spring and fall when the temperatures are more moderate. Summer can be very hot whereas winter can bring snow and icy conditions.

Hiking and Activities

Camping at Colorado National Monument offers access to a variety of activities, including:

  • Hiking on trails such as the Serpent's Trail and the Monument Canyon Trail.
  • Biking on Rim Rock Drive.
  • Enjoying scenic drives, especially the 23-mile-long Rim Rock Drive.
  • Picnicking, photography, and wildlife observation.

Park Regulations

  • Pets are allowed in the campground but must be leashed. Pets cannot be taken on most trails except for the Canyon Rim and Alcove Nature trails.
  • Fires are allowed in designated fire grates only, and firewood gathering within the monument is prohibited.
  • Quiet hours are typically from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Preparation and Leave No Trace

It's vital to come prepared for a self-sufficient camping trip, as amenities are limited. Bring plenty of water, sun protection, and proper clothing for variable weather. Maintaining cleanliness and observing Leave No Trace principles help to preserve the natural beauty of the area for future visitors.

Before heading out, always check with the National Park Service or Colorado National Monument's visitor center for the most up-to-date information regarding camping and visitation.

Map of Campgrounds in Colorado National Monument
Campgrounds in Colorado National Monument
National Parks Badges

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