In the Spring, Serpents Trail Can Erupt With a Riot of Colors During the Wildflower Bloom. Every Spring Brings at Least a Few Flowers, but in a Good Year, the Trail Can be Bordered With Flowers.
Serpents Trail is Colorado National Monument's most popular hiking trail. It follows an abandoned road built in the 1910's going from the eastern entrance of the park to the top of Glade Park Plateau. Because of the 16 switchbacks, the road was affectionately known as the the Crookedest Road in the World.
1.75 Miles Long (one way) 3.5 Miles Out and Back
Depending on your interests and how much time you have to explore Colorado National Monument, you have two options. You can either hike down from Upper Serpents Trail to the Devils Kitchen Trailhead, or vice versa. Keep in mind, wherever you start from, you need to end up back there or have a ride waiting for you at the other end. The trail takes about one hour and 15 minutes (one way) with an elevation change of almost 800 feet.
Western Colorado's Red Rock Desert Landscapes
The trail starts at Devils Kitchen Trailhead and goes up 800 vertical feet to end at one of the switchbacks on Rim Rock Drive, just below the surface of Glad Park Plateau. Along the way, the trail will provide you with great views of the city of Grand Junction and the Bookcliff Mountains to the north of it. The trail climbs steadily from east to west through Wingate Sandstone.
I like to park at the Devils Kitchen parking lot and start at the bottom and hike up. When I reach the top, I chug some water, turn around and head back down!
This is a Hiking Trail Only, No Dogs Allowed, and No Biking
Keeping it a purely hiking-only trail means it's a peaceful time out in nature allowing you to listen for and spot many of the creatures that live in this part of the park. As the sign at the trailhead says "Be quiet, let natures sounds be heard."
Wildlife that is most commonly spotted along Serpents Trails are ground squirrels, chipmunks, lizards and rabbits. The desert bighorn sheep are often seen on Serpents Trail and if you are lucky enough to see them, they will just graze and look around while you snap photos!
If you visit in the spring, the low lying desert flora may be showing off some colorful flowers. On my visit last year, the entire trail was vibrant with indian paintbrush, claret cup cactus blossoms, penstemons, along with white, purple and yellow flowers against the red-rock landscape.
The easiest way to get to Serpents Trails is to drive from Grand Junction to the east entrance, with the trailhead located only 0.2 miles down the road. Park in one of two adjacent parking lots at Devils Kitchen. There is a very small (4 cars) parking lot at the Upper Serpents Trailhead if you want to start there and go down.