One accesses the recreation area via the 23-mile Rim Rock Drive which winds up along the canyon wall to the top of a mesa and then along the erosion-carved canyon walls before descending back into the valley. The canyon consists of sheer walls of red rock, hanging canyons and sandstone monoliths which can be viewed from a few viewpoints and short trails along the road.
While the road is primarily a drive-though area, it has a few trails including the 3.5-mile round-trip, 700-foot elevation change Serpents Trail. Parking is available at the top or the bottom of the trail, depending on which way you want to go.
The trail follows the side of the cliff on the bed of the original road which was built in the early 1900s. The road was closed in 1950 and is now a hiking trail with 16 switchbacks. We can’t even image how cars navigated the route. And not all of the cars made it. From one spot, you can peer over the edge (with support of a metal pole) to see the remains of a car that failed to negotiate a curve. The trail provide great views of the canyon and a rock outcrop at which it ends.
Monument Canyon Trail
The approximately 12 mile round trip is a winding path that takes you from the upper trail head of Rim Rock Drive to the canyon floor.
This dirt biking and hiking trail that connects Montrose and Grand Junction Colorado goes through the Monument area. While we did not navigate it, we did stop along the trail.