Artists Point

Round Trip Distance: 0.3 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 6109 - 6264 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Artists Point
Fee: $5 individual - $10 vehicle - $25 annual pass
Attractions: Scenic canyon views

Artists Point is located in the Colorado National Monument, just past the Coke Ovens, on Rimrock Drive. The scenic trail overlooks the northern section of Monument Canyon. There are several overlooks on the trail with one right at the trailhead and the other about 150 feet lower at the end of a short trail on the point of the cliff.

There are black and white pictures around from the early days of the monument that show artists capturing scenes of the amazing landscape. Perhaps some where taken around Artists Point.

Just down a few rock steps from the parking area is the first view area of one of the branches of Monument Canyon. It is hard to visualize that you are standing right on the edge of the canyon wall without actually leaning over the fence a bit and looking down.

If that is more than you feel you can stomach then a look at the cliff to your right will give you a good idea of what is down there.

The park service has placed stone steps in places to make the hike down to the point a little easier. A stroller would be pretty difficult to manage on this hike.

From the viewpoint there are good views of the upper sections of Monument Canyon. Independence Rock is around the corner of one of the cliffs and just out of view.

To the immediate left of Artists Point is a nice look at the Coke Ovens. They present a good example of how the Wingate sandstone weathers after the harder cap layers of Kayenta and Navajo sandstone wear away.

If you know where to look almost directly across the canyon in the upper ridge of the rosy colored Entrada sandstone you can see Otto's Bathtub. This is an area where John Otto captured rain water and runoff in a pothole on the side of the cliff to form a natural place for bathing. If you ever visit the site you can still see the log and foot holds that he used for access.

The climb back up to the parking area is a short enough distance that it seems to take minimal effort.

Although you might have to carry your youngsters in places the Artists Point trail is still a good place to take your family. More information is available at the Visitor Center to learn the history of the Colorado National Monument and the different geological formations. It is well worth the time and the extra knowledge can make the monument much more enjoyable as you view it with a deeper understanding. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.