Coke Ovens

Round Trip Distance: 1 mile
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 5963 - 6136 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Monument Canyon
Fee: $5 individual - $15 vehicle - $40 annual pass
Attractions: Scenic canyon views

The Coke Ovens trail is located on the Colorado National Monument just west of Grand Junction, Colorado. The trail is hiked by tens of thousands of people every year. The 'cone shaped' Coke Ovens were named because of the resemblance to the brick ovens used to convert coal into coke. The Coke Ovens are a good example of how Wingate sandstone weathers when it looses its harder cap layers of Kayenta and Navajo sandstone.

The Coke Ovens trail begins at the Upper Monument Canyon trailhead on Rim Rock Drive. This trailhead also provides access to the Monument Canyon and CCC trails. The Monument Canyon trail is used by bighorn sheep and deer as one of their migration routes to and from the lower canyons.

The Coke Ovens trail begins by descending a series of gentle switchbacks.

As the trail levels off it departs from the Monument Canyon trail which continues its steady decline into the head of the the canyon.

The Coke Ovens trail begins following a bench below the higher cliffs to the viewpoint.

There are very nice scenic views of Monument Canyon along the trail.

The trail is protected enough from the edge of the mountain to make it easier to manage young children.

As the Coke Ovens trail passes around the cliffs and through the trees it has a feeling of adventure and exploration.

After a half mile of hiking the trail ends at the overlook. The area has a short fence to help keep kids from walking over the edge and to discourage people from venturing too far out onto the rocks. With a pair of binoculars you can look across the canyon, a little to the right, and see Otto's Bathtub in the opposite rim.

Visitors to the Colorado National Monument can't go wrong with a quick hike on the Coke Ovens trail. Many of the rock slabs that you see were originally laid by the workers of the Civilian Conservation Corp some 70 or so years prior. The Coke Ovens trail provides a splendid opportunity for travelers to get out of their vehicle, stretch their legs, and enjoy the monument close up. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.