Monday, May 21, 2012

Colorado National Monument

Airstream Camping at Colorado National Monument
It is easy to overuse adjectives when describing the Colorado National Monument: Amazing, Dramatic, Beautiful, Stunning, Serene, Soulful, Sacred.  This unique place is a treat for the eyes and nourishment to the soul.  Red rock canyons transform in color as the sun journeys overhead casting shifting shadows and shapes on the canyon walls.   You can literally dangle your legs over the edge of a cliff while surveying a panorama filled with red spires and gigantic monoliths that almost glow in the sunset - all within a few minutes walk from the Saddlehorn Campground.

Red rock spires and gigantic monoliths fill the landscape

Dramatic Vistas spread out in every direction

The highlight for me was hiking through the canyons, dwarfed beneath the ancient rock formations that towered like skyscrapers over the landscape.  Starting at the canyon rim, I  descended past Creamsicle colored canyon walls and was soon standing at the base of beautiful rock spires.   I spent the entire day wandering amongst the towers of eroded red rock, capturing photos, and taking in the splendor of it all.

Yellow-headed Collared Lizard posed for his photograph

Popcorn clouds dot the sky

This region is high desert on the Colorado Plateau and receives less than 12 inches of precipitation each year.  Brightly colored cactus pepper the trailside, and I saw more lizards on this hike than I have seen in my entire life, including a beautiful turquoise and yellow collared lizard that seemed to enjoy posing for photographs.

My campsite at Saddlehorn

Vibrantly colored cactus flowers pepper the hiking trails

Even though the hike left my feet sore, and my legs tired, my soul was full.   Colorado National Monument has a feeling of spirituality to it.  It is hard to explain -  I don't worship rocks and animals, or even hug trees, but I sensed a strong spiritual connection in this place.  It felt so beautiful, peaceful, serene, and sacred.

Beautiful Erosion

Colorful sunsets

Cactus flowers mimic the colors of the sunset

More Photos HERE.

If you go:

Saddlehorn Campground is located just a short walk from the canyon's rim.  There are 80 first-come-first-serve sites nested among pinyon pines, junipers, and desert shrubs.  Although you will find lots of vegetation, be prepared for little shade, strong winds, and dry, desert-like conditions.   There are no electrical hookups or showers, but there are flush toilets and potable water available nearby.   Campsites are $20/night plus a $10 Monument entrance fee that's good for a week.   Views are outstanding and free.


  1. Your photos are beautiful! I'm jealous...would love to see that blue sky and red rock myself someday!


    1. Thanks Kim! The Colorado National Monument (and the campground) is open year round. If you can swing it, I'd recommend visiting in late May to early June or in the Fall. Summertime temps can get pretty hot, and Winter is a gamble with snow storms, but beautiful too.

  2. Thank you for sharing these travels. My Buddy and I just picked up a Bambi 16 and hope to travel many of the same roads.... And yes we were former TAB owners too.

    1. Thanks for commenting! I sure enjoyed camping in the TAB trailer, but the Bambi, even with its diminutive size, sure seems spacious by comparison. Love the extra room in every dimension. I'll keep an eye out for you on the road; maybe we can swap TAB/Bambi stories some day :-).


  3. Hi. Just found your blog. We were former T@B owners too. Haha! I love all your pictures. We just visited the Colorado National Monument a few days ago. And yes, I agree that there is something magical about that place... but the drive made me a little squeamish. But I'm a wimp :)

    1. Hi Marlene - Funny to run into another former T@B owner on this blog; it really is a small world. Thanks for the comments. The "Monument" area is one of my favorite places to camp and play. So much to do and so beautiful. - Tim