In anticipation of our arrival to the Western Slope this summer, I started doing research on climbs and hikes in the area.
Monument Canyon got onto my radar when I found out about Independence Monument, a desert tower that was first ascended by John Otto in 1911. He did it in cowboy boots! The tower is located at the meeting place of two canyons, Monument and Wedding.
When I first got to town, I hit up Randy Langstraat, a Grand Junction local who happens to write one of my favorite desert southwest hiking blogs.
He was kind enough to give me a list of must-do hikes in the area. At the top of the list, was Wedding and Monument Canyons Loop (aka Wedding Canyon Loop).
On a hot August evening, I parked at Lower Monument Canyon Trailhead and ran the loop in a counterclockwise direction, up Wedding and down Monument.
- Distance: 4.5 mile loop
- Hike Time: 2-3 hours
- Elevation Gain/Loss: 620 feet
- Fee: $15 for individual
- Dogs: No
- Difficulty: Moderate
Hiking Wedding and Monument Canyons Loop
In August 2021, I ran up Wedding and down Monument then back to Lower Monument Canyon Trailhead, where I started.
At 0.1 miles, I went right at the junction. You can go either way but for whatever reason, I was in a counterclockwise mood.
The first 1.1 miles are mellow, with some gentle ups and downs in and out of washes.
The next 0.6 miles are a steep climb. This section really got my heart pumping, it was strenuous.
At the 2.4 mile mark, there is another junction. The trail to the right continues another 3.6 miles to Upper Monument Canyon Trailhead on Rim Rock Drive. You are directly underneath Independence Monument here.
Bear left to continue down Monument Canyon, past Monolith Spire and to another junction next to the East Entrance of Monument Canyon. This is at the 4.1-mile mark.
Make another left here and finish the last 0.5 miles to the trailhead.
Colorado National Monument Map – Downloadable PDF
From Grand Junction, head toward Redlands and take Colorado State Highway 340, then turn onto Fawn Lane and park in the dirt lot.
- The Best Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Hikes by Colorado Mountain Club
- wedding canyon loop // ADVENTR.co
- Hiking Wedding Canyon and Monument Canyon Loop in Colorado National Monument, CO