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Colorado's Incredible Backcountry Trails
by David Day (Rincon Publishing)
This hike follows two separate trails that can be combined to form an interesting loop. The first half of the loop will take you through a lush pinion-juniper forest on the top of Monument Mesa to the rim overlooking Grand Valley. The trail then passes by the Liberty Cap, a small dome-shaped sandstone formation, before dropping off the rim to join the Ute Canyon trail below. The return route winds westward through the bottom of a wide, scenic desert canyon surrounded by high cliffs of Wingate Sandstone. Before beginning the hike you may want to drive to the Ute Canyon Overlook, 1.9 miles south of Ute Canyon Trailhead on the Rimrock Road. This viewpoint offers an outstanding view of Ute Canyon. From there you will be able to see almost all of the last 4 miles of the route your hike will follow.
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