The Coke Ovens Overlook lies on the east side of Rim Rock Drive, a spectacular 22-mile-long scenic drive in Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction. Park at a paved pullout (with room for six to eight cars) about 3.5 miles from the visitor center. While there are great views at the parking area, follow a short trail that begins on the left side of the parking lot down to a fenced overlook above an airy cliff. The viewpoint looks south at the Coke Ovens, a row of rounded sandstone domes that resemble old charcoal or coke ovens in upper Monument Canyon. The domes are a great example of weathering. They are composed of Wingate sandstone, which is capped by white, erosion-resistant Kayenta sandstone. As the harder caprock erodes away, the softer underlying Wingate sandstone is quickly attacked by erosion, smoothing its contours.
Recommended season(s): Year-round.
—Stewart M. Green