Go Play: Explore White Rocks Area in Grand Junction & discover ancient artwork
IF YOU GO...
WHAT: White Rocks Area
WHERE: Trailhead is located on South Broadway in the Redlands. If driving on Broadway, towards Fruita, take a left on South Broadway. The trail head is about a half mile on the right.
WHEN: Throughout the year
DISTANCE: 0.5 to one mile depending on exploration
Tucked away at the base of the Colorado National Monument is a short, exploratory hike perfect for any ability. The White Rocks Area is on monument land and takes hikers to another world and period of time with petroglyphs and pictographs.
Please do not touch ancient art work, however, as it can cause damage. Photos are encouraged.
The hike takes approximately an hour and totals about a mile. The trailhead is located on South Broadway in the Redlands. If driving on Broadway towards Fruita, take a left on South Broadway. The trailhead is about a half mile on the right.
From the trailhead, a sign will welcome hikers with historical background and information. Take the trail on the left.
It’s a simple route to hike to the petroglyphs — the trail stays at the base of the rocks and loops east. The hike will start on a wide, smooth path from the sign, heading east. It will gradually climb towards what looks like a giant pile of white rocks. The path can be taken up to the top of the hill for exploration throughout the white rocks. The area encloses hikers, giving the feeling of being in another world.
If you’re interested in seeing ancient art, the first batch of petroglyphs are located about a half mile from the trailhead. At the base of the rocks, there is a path that leads southeast of the hill, staying at the base. Eventually it will lead you to a brown sign, designating the area that petroglyphs are near. Along the red-faced rock, three pictures show what may have been interpreted as a family living in the area.
The petroglyphs are believed to be from the Fremont Indians who lived in the area around 1500 A.D., according to a sign at the trailhead.
Continue on the path at the base of the hill northwest as it loops around towards the beginning; there will be a large rock with a lip at the top. This recognizable rock will steer hikers toward the pictograph along another red-faced rock, which is a little harder to find. It looks like a deer or horse painted in red.
Once finished viewing the piece, head back on the path and meet up at the beginning of the loop. Exploration can continue at the top of the hill or head back to the car.
The hike can easily be done with young children or older adults looking to escape the city. Since it is on monument land, pets are prohibited.
To learn more about the Colorado National Monument, visit http://www.nps.gov/colm.
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