Hiking Devils Kitchen on Colorado National Monument
Grand Junction Free Press
GRAND JUNCTION — Colorado National Monument offers more than 50 miles of hiking trails with distances varying a 1/2-mile to 14 miles. One of the shorter, easier hikes is Devils Kitchen. It features a steady climb up to large sandstone monoliths. The hike totals around 1.5 miles round trip.
After paying at the ranger station on the east end of the monument near Grand Junction, visitors will find parking shortly after the entrance, about a quarter mile up the road. Available parking may be scarce during warmer weather and weekends. It’s suggested to visit the area during non-peak hours for closer parking.
Once parked, the trailhead is on the east side of the road. It also is the trailhead for No Thoroughfare Canyon, Old Gordon Trail and Echo Canyon.
Signs will point hikers right toward Devils Kitchen. The hike will gradually climb from that point on a smooth, wide trail.
Another fork in the road will bring hikers left for Devils Kitchen (right heads to No Thoroughfare Canyon). Follow the path until it turns into sandstone. Stairs will lead hikers farther. Cairns help guide hikers up the sandstone, although it seems other hikers have made a few that took this author off the path a bit, so be cautious of where the trail leads. If you continue on a dirt path, it has led you the wrong way. The trail will switch back on the sandstone and eventually lead you to some etched in stairs.
The trail leads hikers toward monoliths and into a cave-like area where it is fun to explore.
Natural windows allow hikers to see beyond the monoliths and the valley below.
Once done exploring, hikers can descend the same way they went up.
The hike can be easily done by adults and children and isn’t strenuous. Even with a full parking lot, it seemed this reader was the only one exploring Devils Kitchen. It’s recommended to bring a bottle of water, a camera and maybe even a picnic to enjoy in the “kitchen.”
For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/com.