Looking for a family hike or an easy hike at Colorado National Monument? Devils Kitchen is a great choice. The hike has canyon views, rocks to scramble and a sheltered, shaded place for a picnic.
The hike starts near the east entrance to Colorado National Monument (directions below). Park and head south to the trailhead. A large sign explains that Devils Kitchen is the name of a natural rock room surrounded by Wingate Sandstone Cliffs. A smaller sign lists the distances for several hikes in the area. Note, while the signs here say the hike to Devils Kitchen is .75-8 miles each way, my GPS registered .55 miles each way.
Start the hike on the dirt path between the signs. The path is wide enough for 2-3 people to walk side-by-side. A short distance from the trailhead, you'll come to a trail split. Hikers turn left here for the Old Gordon Trail and the Echo Canyon Trail. You should turn right for Devils Kitchen.
You're now on the No Thoroughfare Canyon Trail. No Thoroughfare Canyon has beautilful scenery -- there are trees, shrubs and rocky cliff bands that jut into the canyon. There's even a rock formation or two along the way that kids might want to climb.
A quarter mile from the trailhead, there's one more trail split. A sign here tells hikers for No Thoroughfare Canyon to continue straight, but hikers going to Devils Kitchen turn off. There's a small stream crossing, then the trail begins to climb toward a rock formation in the distance -- that's Devils Kitchen.
As you get closer, you'll find yourself hiking UP the rock. In places, you'll find stone steps. In other places, look for the cairns (piles of rocks) to lead you in the right direction.
Suddenly, you're there. You'll reach the rock formation, walk between two slabs of standing rock and find yourself in this sheltered spot. Because it's shaded most of the day, you'll even notice the temperature drop a few degrees.
The Devils Kitchen is a fun place to explore. Look through the big wide opening to the south, look through the rocks to enjoy the views, and look up to see if you can spot a lone tree growing out of the rock in a small depression with just enough sand to support the tree's roots.
This is a great spot for a picnic, a nap or just a break before returning the way you came.
Learn more about the Monument and get maps, directions, admission fees and more here. Other hikes in the Monument and nearby include Monument Canyon to Wedding Canyon, Otto's Trail, Flume Canyon and Devil's Canyon. Find more hikes in the area listed below or check out this list of 200+ hikes in Colorado. Don't miss any of my trip reports, sign for an email alert at the top of this page and follow me on Facebook.
Details: The hike to Devils Kitchen and back is about 1.1 miles with 200 feet of elevation gain.
Directions: The park's website says if you're coming Westbound on Highway I-70 towards Grand Junction, Exit 31 (Horizon Drive). Follow signs through Grand Junction to the east entrance. The visitor center and campground are 19 miles from the east entrance. (I recommend googling eastern entrance Colorado National Monument for the best directions for you.) At the east entrance, pay the entry fee, and continue on monument Road. Just a short distance from the entrance station is a parking lot on the left for Devils Kitchen.