Canyon Rim Trail to Window Rock, Colo Natl Monument

Distance1.77 mi
Elevation gain200 ft
My Time41 min
DifficultyEasy
Closest TownFruita
Food NearbyFiesta Guadalajara

Canyon Rim to Window Rock

The Canyon Rim to Window Rock trail is a popular hiking trail located directly behind the Colorado National Monument Visitor center. The relatively short and easier hike should be able to be enjoyed by most skill levels.

Getting Started

I am not going to lie, it took me some time to find this trailhead. While there are some trails across the street from the visitor center this one is actually behind it. You will need to walk behind the building on the bathroom side before you see the signs.

The Trail

The trail begins paved and if you are just looking for some quick views you can just stop at the first fenced in viewing area about 50 feet from the building. Continuing on the trail can get a little interesting. Because this trail is so popular the trail has mostly eroded away. There are footsteps in every direction but mostly towards the rim edge so keeping in the right direction can be a bit of a challenge.

The dusty no discrept trail of the Canyon Rim to Window Rock trail.  Footsteps lead in every direction and it is hard to figure out which is the right way to go.

Other than the difficulty in finding your way, the trail is pretty simple. There is a gradual descent as you head towards the over look matched by gradual elevation gains on the way back. One word of caution though. If you see yellow fencing, make sure you are on the correct side. The wrong side can get pretty dangerous.

The Rim Views

Now the reason to do this hike isn’t to get lost in the dirt, it is to look at the amazing views from across the canyon! The views are spectacular. For me, these were the best views in the park outside of maybe the Monument Canyon pull-off.

The view across the canyon at the amazing rock formations from the Canyon Rim to Window Rock trail.  There are spires, rock walls all in the canyon.

One of the reason that the trail gets hard to follow is that you are constantly looking over your shoulder at these amazing views! I did this hike close to sunset so every time the sun would move a bit the rocks would take on a different look.

The canyon view with the close rocks in shadow and the further rocks in sunlight from the Canyon Rim to Window Rock Trail.

I have no other witty words on this one, I just wanted to post another picture.

Another picture of conical spires rising up from the canon floor bathed in sunlight from the Canyon Rim to Window Rock trail.

Window Rock

The rest of the trail will take you up near the campground and a shelter. Make sure you take it up towards the shelter or you will get stuck in a somewhat dangerous place. The trail then gradually heads down toward a fenced in viewing area. The views from this area show the “mouth” of the canyon and looks back towards the town and the mountains in the distance.

The view from the window rock section of the Canyon rim to Window Rock trail.  It looks back towards the entrance of the canyon with tall rocks on either side. In the distance the outlines of mountains can be seen.

I never really figured out if Window Rock was named this just because this view looked like an amazing view from a window or not. I didn’t see a particular rock that looked like a window so I guess I will have to use my imagination on that one.

This is a great area and again reminded me of a smaller and much less crowded area than the Grand Canyon. If you are in western Colorado it is worth a stop for sure!

Video

I am trying to give you some more video so you get a better feel of certain trails so hopefully you enjoy it. If you do like it and would like to see more make sure to hit the subscribe button on YouTube so you get updates every time I post a new video.

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 1.77 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 200 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 5,783 feet. The high point was at the parking area as the trail descends from there. I was also moving for a total of 41 minutes.

Effort

This was the longest of the three hikes that I am reviewing from the Colorado National Monument. While it is the longest it isn’t the most challenging. The trail is mostly flat with a mostly gradual descent to window rock. The hardest part of the hike is keeping track of the trail as the area is very walked on so finding the right path can be a challenge. A good pair of shoes with decent grip should do.

Terrain

The trail is a cross between rock and dirt and isn’t very well defined in parts. You sort of head in a general direction and hope to find the beaten path. Much of the land has been walked on so it can be a challenge. There are certain passes that you need to be on the trail and these are noted by the hand rails or fencing that you will need to abide by.

Access

The Canyon Rim Trail is located behind the visitor center at the Colorado National Monument park. The visitor center is about a quarter of the way up the road from the Fruita entrance to the park. There is a $25 fee per private vehicle to get into the park and a national park yearly pass will allow you access. There are restrooms at the visitor center.

Wrapping up Canyon Rim to Window Rock

The Canyon Rim to Window Rock trail was amazing. There are several short trails at the Colorado National Monument but this one was probably my favorite. It is a little more spread out so you can enjoy the walk and the views are unmatched.

Make sure you pay attention to where you are and where you are going. Basically if you know which direction you are heading you should be ok. Take time to enjoy the views and the smaller crowds in the amazing gem of a park!

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!

Leave a Reply