Round Trip Distance: .3 miles
Elevation: 6426 - 6452 feet
Cellphone: 1-4 bars
Usage: Hiking - No Dogs
Time: 30 mins.
Facilities: Toilets at Visitor Center, campground and Devils Kitchen Picnic Area
Trailhead: Ute Canyon Overlook
Fee: $5 individual - $10 vehicle - $25 annual pass
Attractions: Self guided interpretive trail, scenic canyons
View Ute Garden Interpretive Trail in a larger map
The Ute Garden Interpretive trail is located on the Colorado National Monument at the eastern most overlook for Ute Canyon. This very nice self guided trail takes the hiker around a short loop where information is displayed regarding some very interesting topics of nature on the monument.
If you are driving up from the east entrance then the Ute Garden Interpretive trail is at the first Ute Canyon viewpoint that you come to. If you are coming from the other direction then I suppose it is the last.
There are numerous placards at the various stations along the trail that impart all the information for that location so you don't need to avail yourself with a guide like you do on the Alcove Nature Trail.
The garden trail forms a loop through the pinyon and juniper trees. The trail is well guarded from the rim of Ute Canyon but it is close enough that you will want to keep small children close at foot.
All of the various viewpoints on the Colorado National Monument have kiosks that both educate and point out attractions to visitors. Like the museum at the Visitor Center these interpretive trails are good places to pick up some extra tidbits that really do enrich the overall experience.
From the viewpoint you can see deep into the bowels of Ute Canyon. The dark chasm of Precambrian granite in the center of the canyon offer much more resistance to weathering than the higher sandstone cliffs.
The Ute Canyon hiking trail travels through the bottom of the canyon and can be accessed from 2 different trailheads.
A baby stroller would probably be able to manage this trail just fine if you don't mind dealing with the rock steps that lead to and from the viewpoint. The rest of the trail is smooth and well packed.
The Ute Garden trail can be enjoyed by people of all ages and for those of you that have been asking for trails that they can take their small children on here you go. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.
The size of the herd of Desert Bighorn Sheep on the monument is increasing every year. It seems that the number of sightings by visitors should be increasing also. In the early morning hours and around dusk bighorn are often spotted moving about in plain site. During warm months they tend to bed down in the shade and in cold months they can be spotted on the sunny rocks. They do seem to love the cliffs whether it is next to the rim or up against the base at the bottom.