DIRECTIONS: From Grand Junction, head west on I-70 to Fruita and follow signs for Colorado National Monument. Head south on CO 340 (Broadway) and bear right to enter the Monument. Follow Rimrock Drive up to the top of the mesa and to the Visitor Center. Park here and follow signs for the Alcove Trail.
,Colorado National Monument has no shortage of short easy nature trails and the Alcove Nature Trail is one of them. This trail is very easy and very kid friendly. There are no steep canyon walls for the little ones to get too close to, there are interesting educational stops along the way, and the terrain and views are stunningly beautiful.
The trail starts at the Visitors' Center, follows the base of a red rock cliff, and culminates in a short slot canyon, called the Alcove. Along the way you'll learn about geology, soil bacteria, desert plant species, wildlife, and the effects of the desert sun on your kids' demeanor... The views are nice but not spectacular (Try Ottos Trail for the killer views) but the last segment through the narrow canyon will make your lethargic kids smile and play again. There are rock formations, caves, general alcoves, and the slot canyon to keep them interested.
This trail is a great introduction to the high desert environment found on the Colorado Plateau, but if you want a hike thats a bit more spicy but still good for the kids, check out Ottos' Trail, Window Rock Trail, or the Coke Ovens Trail...unless your kids are scared of heights, in which case the Alcove Trail is the one for you.
HIKES BY REGION
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- HIKES BY CATEGORY
- $UPPORT GHC
- INTERACTIVE MAP
Alcove Nature Trail
Colorado National Monument
Date Hiked: August 1, 2021
Distance: 2.4 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 113 ft
Elevation Min/Max: 5,790 to 5,900 ft
Managing Agency: National Park Service