Colorado National Monument Hiking With Kids

Colorado National Monument

Photo from Wikipedia

If you ever find yourself in Western Colorado, be sure to check out the Colorado National Monument.  With beautiful red rock terrain, and even some wild mountain goats running around – this is an outdoor hidden gem, with a nice variety of trails for you to enjoy hiking with kids.

Colorado National Monument ~ Hiking With Kids

There are two entrances to the park, an east and a west.  Currently the entrance fee is $10 per vehicle, or free with a National Parks pass.  Be sure to grab a map at the drive-by entrance station on the way in.   If you have a specific length and type of hike you are interested in, ask the ranger working the booth for suggestions of a trail.

Be aware that you can’t bring dogs along on the trails, even on a leash.  And bring plenty of water, as this can be a high temperature area.

If you enter from the west, you’ll get to pass through a couple of tunnels.  My kids always find this exciting.  (Ok… I do, too!)  After about 5 winding miles of road, you will come across a nice Visitors Center, with a large parking lot.  This is a good area to stop, use the rest rooms, and possibly branch out on your hike from here.

Colorado National Monument Hiking With Kids

Kids climbing break, along a Colorado National Monument trail

If you have older kids, they have a neat Canyon Rim Trail on the Visitors Center side of the road.  This trail hugs the ridge of the scenic cliffs, and offers some pretty amazing views.

Or, if you have a fast, wild, and uncontrollable toddler like I do… head across the street to the Alcove Nature Trail.  This is a short, self guided hike, with numbered markers along the way to point out plants and formations of interest.  There are usually brochures available at the trail head, if you are interested in following along.

We like to take friends who are not avid hikers to this Alcove Nature Trail, since it’s short, has no elevation gain, and has a neat feature at the end which kids and grownups alike find quite interesting.   I don’t want to spoil it for you, but grabbing the brochure is a good idea if you’d like to be filled in on the description and history of what you’ll see at the trail end.

I think the Alcove Nature Trail is one of the best kid hikes in Colorado National Monument, because there are numerous safe places for them to climb rocks along the way.  I’ve yet to meet a kid that didn’t love climbing rocks!  The trail hugs a sandy slickrock mound much of the way, that kids find irresistible.

Colorado National Monument Hiking With Kids 2

Hiking the Alcove Nature Trail, in Colorado National Monument (and stopping for a climbing break…)

Here’s the frosting on the cake:  There are mountain goats!  And in the Spring/Summer season… baby mountain goats!  These can often be spotted on the west end of the park.  Ask at the Visitor Center for tips on where and when to best find them.

On our way out last weekend, we did get to catch a glimpse of two mountain goats.  It was a parent and baby goat, and they crossed the road just prior to my taking this picture.  It was so exciting!

Colorado National Monument Hiking Mountain Goats

Mountain goat sighting at Colorado National Monument

I highly recommend a visit to Colorado National Monument, and although it’s a nice loop to drive… be sure to also get out and do some hiking with those kids!

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About COMtnMom

Hi, I'm Tami! Writer, Influencer, and mom of two who loves travel, the outdoors, staying active, photography, reading books, and eating desserts. We are pretty much always planning our next trip to Disney World.


  1. Gotta get to Colorado one of these days. That looks like fun!

    • COMtnMom says:

      Hi Steve!

      It’s super fun, we love hiking there… takes us about 15-20 minutes to get in the park. The only down side is not being about the take DOGS! I know that’s a ‘national parks’ rule, but it just seems wrong to go for a fun hike without your smiling dog. 😉

  2. Great article on The Monument. My son and I love it and it is great to know of other kid friendly trails.

    • COMtnMom says:

      Hi Sarah!

      So fun to hear from a local! That Alcove trail is pretty darn short, but the kids have so much fun playing along the way… it ends up being a nice amount of time spent out. We actually usually come in from the other side for Devil’s Kitchen, but I do think those goats are more often seen on that West end. It was so fun to see them, especially that cute baby! 🙂

      Thanks for swinging by, and for your comment!

  3. Kjell Richard says:

    Great article! What a amazing place!

    • COMtnMom says:

      Thanks, Kjell! I see (on Twitter) that you are from Norway… also an amazing place, that I’d love to see one day. I had a friend in South Dakota who was from Norway, and he’d always talk about missing the beautiful fjords and coastline. The pictures look breathtaking – an outdoor lover’s paradise!

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