Independence Monument at Colorado National Monument

The sun rising behind Independence Rock as it rises among surrounding cliffs. Colorado National Monument, Colorado

My last night out of the trip was spent in Colorado National Monument, a location I had only briefly seen one or two photos of and not heard very much about. After visiting there for a night, I’ll definitely be going back! It’s an isolated, elevated region with a large variety of rock formations, canyons and thus, plenty of hiking trails!

Colorado National Monument sits above I-70 near Grand Junction in western Colorado and thanks to its relatively high elevation, is secluded from much of the noise of the valley it overlooks in many places. Erosion is also a key player, as it is with most places in the region, carving out enormous canyons and leaving some rocks standing in the form of giant monoliths, such as Independence Monument standing in the background just beneath the sun. Despite only spending one night there, I was blown away by what I saw. However by this point in my trip was beginning to feel the tug of getting back home and was anxious to see Jackson Hole again. This was also the night after I took the shot of the Milky Way over Capital Reef National Park so despite my excitement for more clear night skies, I knew the light pollution from the valley below would interfere. Given that I decided to get a good night’s sleep and get up for a good sunrise, which I was happy to see.

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