Colorado's Independence Monument has a reputation as the most popular feature of the Colorado National Monument. It sure is something to see for the first time from the Rim Rock Drive overlook, but there is nothing on earth like hiking up to the base of it and touching it with your own hands.

At around 450 feet, Independence Monument is the tallest free-standing monolith found inside the Colorado National Monument. Scroll on to learn some interesting facts about this popular Grand Junction/Fruita attraction you may not have known.

Hiking to Independence Monument from Wedding Canyon.
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Colorado's Ancient Independence Monument

Independence Monument is literally millions of years old. Rocks and rock formations inside the Colorado National Monument date back 200 to 220 million years, and rocks at the base of the canyons are billions of years old. What we view as a giant monolith today was simply part of a ridgeway that once connected the Independence Monument to the same plateau as the visitor's center. It now stands alone, almost at center stage.

Two Routes to Colorado's Independence Monument

The easiest way to hike to the base of Independence Monument is to go to the East entrance of the Monument Canyon Loop. Once you get to Independence Monument, go back the way you came. The way more fun route is to go in through Wedding Canyon.

John Otto's Route to Independence Monument

To see Independence Monument the way John Otto's wedding guests did, head towards Wedding Canyon. the trailhead is near Broadway and Fawn Lane. You'll take on a 600 to 700-foot gain in elevation via this route, and at times you'll huff and puff for air. Two things will happen if you keep going. First, you'll notice an amazing view overlooking Fruita, Colorado. Second, you'll notice the incredible features coming into view as you approach the top of Wedding Canyon.

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The best part is that this adventure is yours in under 5 miles and it only takes a couple of hours to get back to the parking area. Scroll on to learn 10 facts you may not have known about Independence Monument and then go and see it for yourself. Not from an overlook, but by walking right up to it.

10 Facts You Might Not Know About Colorado's Independence Monument

The best way to really experience the Colorado National Monument is not to view it from the overlooks on Rim Rock Drive, it's to follow the footsteps of John Otto and explore the park for yourself. Scroll on to learn 10 facts you may not have known about one of the most popular destinations inside Colorado's National Monument.

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