Canyon Rim/Window Rock

Round Trip Distance: 2 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5615 - 5791 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 1 hr. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Visitor Center
Fee: $5 individual - $15 vehicle - $40 annual pass
Attractions: Scenic canyon views

The Canyon Rim and Window Rock trails begin at the Visitor Center on Colorado National Monument and traverses along the rim of Wedding Canyon. At times the trail comes close enough to the rim that you really have to keep a hand on any youngsters to keep them from straying too close to the edge.

We began by following the path down the stairs behind the visitor center. At the bottom of the stairs we came to a railing that invites hikers to approach to the edge of canyon rim and enjoy the view. The canyon floor is almost 500 feet below.

We followed the trail as it head easterly between the canyon rim and a short cliff that secluded the trail from the road above.

There were awesome views of Wedding and Monument Canyons on the right side of the trail.

And a continual changing landscape of weathered sandstone formations on the left side of the trail.

At the canyon overlook the trail bent northward and continued along the rim towards the Bookcliff Overlook. From here it was only a short distance to Window Rock. The road in the camping and picnic area passes by the Bookcliff Overlook and there is a parking lot there from where visitors can access the Window Rock trail. From this point it is only about a quarter mile to Window Rock.

After leaving the sheltered overlook we followed the path for the last stretch to Window Rock. The first part of the trail was paved for a short distance followed by a section bordered with a railing for another short distance.

We walked a little further across the point of the cliff to the Window Rock overlook. The afternoon shadows were covering the landmark and leaving us with the sense that the temperature would soon be dropping.

There was a good view of some of the monuments famous monoliths.
1. Sentinel Spire
2. Praying Hands
3. Pipe Organ
4. Independence Monument
5. Kissing Couple

And to be tautologically complete they were totally impressively awesome and fantastically spectacular.

To make things easier on our toddling companions we chose to walk along the road on our return trip. This route although slightly more pedestrian wasn't totally without its own adornments. I believe this lithic mass of sandstone is called Saddlehorn. The Canyon Rim and Window Rock trails are great places for a family hike. Although the hike alone is enough to satisfy anyone's love of the outdoors the experience can probably be enhanced by touring the museum at the visitor center and becoming familiar with the local geology and flora. If you want to see the amazing vistas and be charmed by the natural beauty of the monument then come on up to the visitor center and 'Take a hike!'.