Hike Wedding Canyon To Independence Rock Returning Via Lower Monument Canyon

WOO HOO! Spring is HERE and the desert is in bloom (Claret Cups included)! Join me on this classic loop hike to "oogle" the magnificent gardens in Wedding Canyon and Lower Monument Canyon. (Flora and landscape photos taken 4/16/14.) Who knows? We might get lucky and see some Desert Bighorns!

Please ONLY RSVP to this event if you are attending. All information regarding this hike is from gjhikes.com and the NPS's Colorado National Monument brochure. Photos were taken by Donna King.

Today's hike is a loop beginning at Wedding Canyon to Independence Rock then returning via Lower Monument Canyon. The hike is approx. 5 miles (according to gjhikes.com) and should take about 4 hours. This hike is considered moderate to strenuous with an elevation of[masked] feet (600 ft.).

Wedding Canyon is considered a primitive trail (loose dirt and scree) but is well-established and easy to follow. The trail lies north of Independence Monument in the Colorado National Monument. According to gjhikes, Wedding Canyon gets its name from the marriage ceremony of John Otto and Beatrice Farnham that was performed there in 1911. Bighorn sheep are often spotted in the area of Wedding Canyon.

We will begin today's hike going UP Wedding Canyon since it is generally easier to hike up scree slopes. Once we reach Independence Rock we will make our way back to the TH via Lower Monument Canyon. The trail up Wedding Canyon runs along the east side of the canyon between the high wall of the Wingate cliffs and the rugged Precambrian era ravine that splits the canyon down the middle. The trail climbs steadily as it heads up the canyon gaining 600 feet. At around 1.4 miles into the hike we will come to what is probably the steepest section of the trail as it begins climbing steeply up the side of the hill. It's not very far, about 500 feet, before the trail levels off again. Gjhikes.com rates this as moderate due to this steep section.

Independence Monument is all that remains of the wall that once separated Monument and Wedding Canyons. At 450 feet high it marks the halfway point of the hike roughly 2.3 miles from the trailhead along either route. The trail down Monument Canyon is much easier to hike.


What To Bring: sturdy hiking boots/shoes, plenty of water, hiking poles, light lunch/snack, sunscreen, camera

Donna King (973)[masked]


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  • A former member
    A former member

    this loop hike is easy yet has such scenic and varied terrain. Many dessert flowers in bloom, including the claret cactus.

    April 21, 2014

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