Go Play: Hike No Thoroughfare Canyon in Colorado National Monument
IF YOU GO...
WHAT: No Thoroughfare Canyon
WHERE: Colorado National Monument, trailhead quarter-mile from east entrance
DISTANCE: Two to 16 miles
Colorado National Monument has many hikes available throughout the park. One popular trail is No Thoroughfare Canyon, especially during the spring and early summer season. It offers views of two waterfalls and a small, flowing stream.
The trail starts at the Devil’s Kitchen parking area, about a quarter-mile on the left from the east entrance of the Colorado National Monument. The entrance fee is $10 per car, or $25 for a yearly pass.
Follow the signs at the beginning trailhead area that direct hikers to No Thoroughfare Canyon. (Other trails also start at the trailhead, like Devil’s Kitchen, Echo Canyon and Old Gordon Trail.)
The scenery changes as the hike continues down to the valley floor — from red rocks to granite to spots of mica.
The first pool/waterfall is about a two mile hike from the trailhead. The trail itself follows a stream that widens as the trail approaches the first pool. While the terrain is rocky at times, it is relatively smooth trail. Many birds can be seen and heard along with other wildlife like rabbits.
Since the trail follows along a stream, it climbs slightly. Eventually it comes to the first pool/waterfall, about a mile or so from the trailhead.
The trail then continues up the right side of the pool area using stairs, which leads to another waterfall another mile down the trail. Past the last waterfall (about three miles in) the trail continues into primitive land, so use caution when hiking. The total stretch of trail is about eight miles, making the round trip 16 miles. The farther the trail goes, the more strenuous it becomes as it climbs to the top of the monument.
The trail took about an hour and a half to complete as an out-and-back to the first pool.
If interested in hiking the complete trail, it is suggested to take two cars; one should be parked along Little Park Road where the trail ends, with another at the trailhead at Colorado National Monument. Remember to take lots of water, a camera and a friend for this hike. No dogs are allowed.
For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/com.
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