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Otto’s Trail, Colo Natl Monument

Distance.78 mi
Elevation Gain121 feet
My Time17 min
Closest TownFruita
Food NearbyFiesta Guadalajara

Otto’s Trail

Otto’s trail is the shortest and possibly most visual of the trails I reviewed at the Colorado National Monument. The trail is named after John Otto, who was the first custodian of the park and was instrumental in getting national standing for the area.

The Trail

The Otto Trail is the simpliest and shortest of the three trails that I reviewed at the Colorado National Monument. From the parking pull-off it is under a half mile to get to the viewing area. The trail is wide and easy to navigate and leads to nice fenced area with spectacular views.

Part of the path to the viewing area of Otto's trail.  There is small rock staircase among a bunch of small trees and a dirt path.

The View

Once you get down to the viewing area of Otto’s Trail it makes the short walk worth it. The platform is directly across from this large spire.

The closing spire at the end of Otto's Trail.  This spire looks to be around a thousand feet tall and ends even with the viewing area.

You will also have great views of the other rock formations within the canyon bowl from this location. For such a short and easy walk it certainly has a high pay off in terms of views.

A view of a giant triangle shaped rock formation from the side of Otto's Trail.  The rock stands up from the middle of the canyon floor.


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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 .78 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 121 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 5,837 feet. This was actually at the parking area as the trail descends from there. I was also moving for a total of 17 minutes.

I am a Pro member of Alltrails and love it. If you are interested in the platform, please consider using my affiliate link for AllTrails. It gives me a small commission with no extra cost to you.


This was probably the easiest of the three trails that I reviewed at the Colorado National Monument. It is less than a half mile out to the the overlook from the trailhead and there really isn’t much as far as elevation gain. This one could be good for the kids but there are some exposed edges that you need to be mindful of.


A pretty easy dirt and rock trail leads out to the overlook. A good pair of shoes will be fine on this trail.


Otto’s Trail is about a third of the way up Rim Rock Drive from the Fruita Entrance to Colorado National Monument. The Monument does have an entrance fee of $25 per private vehicle and national parks passes do work here. There are bathrooms throughout the park and I suggest you ask the ranger at the gate for a map that would show the locations.

Wrapping up Otto’s Trail

Otto’s Trail at the Colorado National Monument is a great little trail. It is short and sweet. The trail is easy and should be possible for most people to enjoy. There is no fencing along the sides though so be careful if you are hiking with small kids.

The trail leads to a viewing area that has some amazing views of a tall rock spire and surrounding rock formations. If you are looking to get out of the car for a nice quick walk while visiting the monument this might be the hike for you!

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 You can follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!

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