Coke Ovens Trail, Colo Natl Monument

Distance1.09 mi
Elevation Gain171 ft
My Time28 min
DifficultyModerate
Closest TownFruita
Food NearbyFiesta Guadalajara

Coke Ovens Trail

The Coke Ovens Trail is one of three shorter trails that I reviewed at the Colorado National Monument. While it connects to several other trails, there were some seasonal closures and other closures to repair trails. What I ended up with was shorter trail down to the Coke Ovens Overlook with some absolutely outstanding views.

Getting Started

The Coke Ovens Trail shares a starting point with the Monument Canon Trail and is about 4 miles past the visitor center. It is the widest pull-off on the left hand side after the Independence Monument viewing area.

The Trail

The trail down to the Coke Oven Overlook is a fairly easy trail although there is some elevation gain/loss. While 171 feet doesn’t seem like a lot of elevation to deal with it comes in short spurts. About 100 of these feet will come in the first two-tenths of a mile with some grades touching the 20% grade in steepness. Once you clear those the trail flattens out for the most part and becomes an enjoyable walk.

The rocky trail heading down the Coke Ovens Trail.  This picture shows a hole in the rock ahead that was in the closed section of the trail.

The trail is a combination of rock and dirt but isn’t to hard to navigate as there isn’t any big step overs up rocks. There are some sections where the edge is exposed so be careful if you don’t like heights or are hiking with children.

The Overlook

The Coke Ovens trail has some amazing views of the Colorado National Monument. As you descend down into the canyon the views get better and better. When you get to the overlook, about a half mile from the road, there will be a fenced in area and the views are outstanding.

From the overlook you are able to see in about a 180 degree plane out towards the rocky cliffs and canyon walls.

This area really gave me a feeling of a much smaller and much, much less crowded version of the Grand Canyon. The massive pillars of stone stood up seemingly defying gravity and stretched towards the horizon.

I really enjoyed the moments down at the overlook and the views that it allowed. After the overlook its back up out of the canyon. Remember that those steep sections coming down will now be even more challenging on the way up!

Video

I have been trying to add more and more video to these posts to give you a feel for what the hike is really like. If you enjoy the videos, please consider following my YouTube Channel where you will get the trail reviews and more!

Elevation and Distance

If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 1.09 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 171 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 6,230 feet. This was at the top of the trail as this heads down as soon as you park. I was also moving for a total of 28 minutes.

Effort

Of the three Colorado National Monument trails that I reviewed, Coke Ovens is the most difficult. It still isn’t too challenging. It is about a half mile out to the overlook and you will be descending from there. On the return you will have to climb back out of the canyon for a couple hundred of feet. It isn’t too bad but something to keep in mind.

Access

The Coke Ovens trail is about halfway up Rim Rock drive from the Fruita Entrance to Colorado National Monument. Colorado National Monument is managed by the National Parks Service and there is a $25 fee for private, non commercial vehicles. A National Parks pass does grant you access. There are restroom spread out in the park and it is best to request a map from the ranger at the gate to see exactly where they are.

Wrapping up the Coke Ovens Trail

Of the three short trails that I reviewed at the Colorado National Monument, Coke Ovens was the most difficult. That being said it still isn’t a super challenging hike. About 170 feet of elevation gain climbing out of the canyon was the hardest part.

The views are very nice. From the overlook the monument felt the biggest of all the vantage points in the park that I saw. I am not sure if it was because I was down further into the canyon so it gave that feeling of being surrounded or not but it was a special view.

I think most people should be able to do this hike but I did give it a moderate rating because of how steep the first hill is and how there are some exposed cliff edges near the trail that you will want to keep an eye on. Overall a great hike in a very cool area.

I have added this hike and all of my hikes to the interactive map page you can find here. If you have any suggestions for hikes or comments feel free to email me at fatmanlittletrails@gmail.com. You can follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!

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