Round Trip Distance: 0.2 miles
Elevation: 6919 - 6934 feet
Cellphone: 2-5 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Dennis Weaver
Attractions: Eagle, medicine wheel, prayer rocks
The Eagle Monument is located in the Dennis Weaver Memorial Park near Ridgway, Colorado. The monument which pays tribute to Hollywood legend and local resident, at the time of his passing, Dennis Weaver is part of a 60 acre preserve that makes up the park. The park includes access to fishing along the Uncompahgre River, picnic areas and a half dozen short hiking and mountain biking trails.
To get to the park drive north on Highway 550 measuring 1.6 miles from the stoplight at Highway 550 in Ridgway. Turn left onto Riversage Drive at the signs for the Dennis Weaver Memorial Park. The parking area will be on the right, just across the river, after about a quarter mile.
The upper trails around the monument are wide with hard packed sand/gravel for a base. They should be wheelchair accessible although some assistance may be necessary at times.
As the trail enters the area there is a large boulder known as Poem Rock. The poem was written by Dennis Weaver and it is the poem that gives the monument its theme. The last line of the poem is 'Dream your eagle and fly with him'.
The park was designed and built by the Weaver family. For those that are too young to remember Dennis Weaver two of his most popular television roles included Matt Dillon's trusty deputy Chester on Gunsmoke and Deputy Marshal Sam McCloud on the NBC police drama McCloud. It is also notable, among other things, that he served as a Navy pilot in World War II.
The trees obscure the monument itself as you continue down the pleasant trail.
Then as you come around the bend a giant eagle appears as though it is swooping down out of the sky.
The eagle hovers over the center of a large medicine wheel.
The rocks to which the eagle is attached are dry stacked with nothing but gravity to hold them in place. There are signs that warn against climbing on them.
All around the monument and on every rock of the medicine wheel are little piles, or cairns, of prayer stones. There are even some on branches of a few of the trees. The sheer number of them is quite the spectacle in itself.
A plaque mentions that the monument was donated by Gerrye and Bill Widger of Ridgway and that it is an anatomically correct bronze American Bald Eagle weighing 2800 pounds with a wingspan of 21 feet.
Visitors that are interested in fishing or a place to have a picnic can follow one of the trails that lead down to the grassy area along the waters edge.