Echo Canyon

Date: November 22, 2009
Round Trip Distance: 3 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 4990-50700 feet
Cellphone: 0-4 bars
Usage: Hiking - No Dogs
Start: 10:30 End: 12:15 Elapsed: 1 hr. 45 mins.
Facilities: Toilet at Devils Kitchen Picnic Area
Trailhead: Devils Kitchen
Fee: $5 individual - $10 vehicle - $25 annual pass

Echo Canyon is one of the funnest short hikes on the Colorado National Monument. The trail criss-crosses a seasonal stream bed several times and at some points the stream bed is the best trail. It might be hard to keep your feet dry during wetter weather.

We started out from the Devils Kitchen trailhead and followed the signs for the Old Gordon trail. The first fork was just down the hill from the trailhead.

After the trail crossed through the wash and started up hill we came to a sign that marked the beginning of a stretch of private property. We took the left fork which dropped down into the mouth of Echo Canyon. The right fork that headed up the slick rock was for the Old Gordon trail.

The first part of Echo Canyon is congested with a thick riparian forest of cottonwoods, willows and many other plants. The stream bed was being fed by a seep which dried up after a short distance.

Some of the trail followed along the lowest part of the canyon but a few sections passed through on higher ground. The variety of the trail added a lot to the hikes character.

For the last section of the hike we stayed mostly in the dry stream bed. All though the stream bed was dry it seemed that you wouldn't have to dig too far before striking water. There was still plenty of vegetation in this end of the canyon.

We reached the end of the trail which terminated at the box end of the canyon. There was a small pool below the seasonal waterfall.

Looking up we could see where water worked its magic in shaping the top of the fall.

To the right of the fall was a mine shaft that begged further inspection. Being the gentleman that I am I boosted my wife up so she could get a look inside. Judging from the shallow depth of the shaft the vein of gold apparently either ran out quickly or didn't materialize at all.

After thoroughly exploring the little box canyon and trying our best at yodeling we bid it a farewell and began hiking back to the mouth where the afternoon sun awaited us. The narrow canyon with its high sheltering walls must provide a refreshing environment in the warm summer months.

When we were getting near to the trailhead be spotted a well worn trail that skirted around the right side of the rounded hill that still separated us from the parking area. We decided to see if it might be an alternative route. That proved not to be one of our best decisions. The trail took us all the way out to the buildings by the monument entrance. We had to walk back up the road to get to the parking lot.

Echo Canyon was a solitary place for our afternoon hike. The occupants of the parking lots that were filled to the brim were more interested in hiking the Serpents Trail than the quiet little canyon. Today we hiked both. If you want to see it for yourself all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.