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“Better than the Grand Canyon?”

Colorado National Monument
Ranked #1 of 21 things to do in Fruita
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: This monument, 23,000 acres of canyons, plateaus and massive towers of naturally sculpted monoliths, includes Balance Rock, a 600-ton boulder perched on a rock pedestal.
Level Contributor
648 reviews
323 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 714 helpful votes
“Better than the Grand Canyon?”
Reviewed September 12, 2012

As there are two listings for the Colorado National Monument, 1 for Fruita and 1 for Grand Junction, I'll split this review.

Fruita: We entered from this end. We enjoyed the visitors center, overlooks, and the short walks that we took at this, the western portion of the monument. We had moderately high expectations, and the monument met them.

Pluses: the visitors center, walks nearby, and overlooks at the western end of the monument.

Minuses: the variety of the views and walks. Diversity of scenery (nearby as well as long-distance) was somewhat limited. Of course, this is partly because the long-distance views are LONG DISTANCE so don't vary much from overlook to overlook. It might also partly be because we have spent a modest amount of time in this general environment (top of the Colorado Plateau) – in my case over 40 years.

Overall? This is a very nice national monument. IMHO the views and overall experience far exceeds that of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. While that area may be a world classic, it is also covered to such an extent that an actual visit does not exceed one's expectations (and may fall short of the hype). I rate the South Rim of the Grand Canyon a 3 for good on TA's scale. IMHO the views and overall experience are closer to, but not quite up to, those of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon – which is not hyped, and which is IMHO more dramatic as well as a better environment for reflection than is the South Rim. I rate the North Rim of the Grand Canyon a 5 for excellent on TA's scale. Comparing those, and other parks/monuments on the Colorado Plateau, I would have to place the western end of the Colorado National Monument at 4 for very good. Certainly nicer than the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Visited September 2012
1 Thank EarthlingOnline
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Victoria, Texas
Level Contributor
194 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
“Colorado's Beauty”
Reviewed September 12, 2012

A nice drive...we entered at the Northern entrance and exited at the Southern entrance. The views were nice and we enjoyed a roadside picnic in the park.

Visited September 2012
Thank gayla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Highlands Ranch, Colorado, Usa
Level Contributor
17 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“One Day -- But a Lifetime of Memories”
Reviewed September 7, 2012

My 8 year old son and I visited the Colorado National Monument after two days of mountain biking the Loma Exit trails over the labor day weekend (we did the monument on our third day). It was a great, relaxing day to end our three day trip to the Fruita area before heading back to Denver -- and my son LOVED the monument. He went through the Junior Ranger program and was able to get it done in about an hour (including the hikes) -- he learned alot and was able to assist one of the park ranger in her presentation about Big Horn Sheep. The views are spectacular and have easy walking access. There are multiple short walks (some might call them hikes, but they are more walks due to the short distances) -- the history of the monument is very interesting to read about at the visitor's center and throughout the park -- and there are options for much longer hikes (although we did not partake in these during our trip). My son was fascinated with learning how the monument was formed, errosion, the dessert animals, John Otto, and even the garden near the Grand Junction entrace that had the plants from which the native indians got their food supply from the dessert.

Definitely worth the stop if you are in the area...

Visited September 2012
Thank DJZEngineering
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
118 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
“Awesome views but not the best the south-west has to offer”
Reviewed September 3, 2012 via mobile

We arrived after a road trip around the south west and found it was a tiny bit of a letdown versus the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Bryce, Zion, Canyonlands and Arches. Obviously "letdown" is a relative term but I would say unlike the aforementioned, this is not worth a 4+ hour drive just to see it. If you are in the area anyway, it's an absolute must-see though.

Thank MisterGulliver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pennington, New Jersey
Level Contributor
102 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
“Scenic drive provides awesome views”
Reviewed September 2, 2012

Great views from many scenic view points. Many short easy hikes (we did Echo Canyon). No need to spend the whole day, but definitely worth a few hours.

Visited August 2012
Thank PawelJK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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