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Colorado National Monument Hiking Trails. A good way to explore Colorado National Monument is by trail. There are more than 40 miles of short and backcountry trails, with more than a dozen well-marked hikes ranging from a ¼ mile to 14 miles. Fruita, CO, 81521. 970/858–3617. www.nps.gov/colm.
Otto's Trail. An easy 30-minute stroll with sweeping canyon views, Otto's Trail greets hikers with breezes scented by sagebrush and juniper, which stand out from the dull red rock and sand. The trail leads to stunning sheer drop-offs and endless views. At the end of the half-mile trail at Otto's Overlook you can hear the wind in the feathers of birds as they soar out of the canyon. Trailhead: Rim Rock Dr., 1 mile from western gate visitor center, 81521.
Serpents Trail. This trail has been called the "Crookedest Road in the World" because of its more than 50 switchbacks. The fairly steep but rewarding trail, which ascends several hundred feet, takes about two hours to complete, depending on your ability (and the heat). Trailhead: Serpents Trail parking lot, ¼ mile from east gate.
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