Fruita Canyon Overlook is a lofty roadside viewpoint at the head of four-mile-long Fruita Canyon on the west side of Colorado National Monument. The fenced overlook is reached by a 90-foot hike on a gravel path from a small parking area on Rim Rock Drive that’s 0.4 miles west of the park visitor center. Fruita Canyon, which begins near the monument’s west entrance station, is a steep canyon lined with towering Wingate sandstone walls. Rim Rock Drive snakes up the canyon below before climbing its west side. The canyon floor is composed of 1.5-billion-year-old rock that is the remains of an ancient mountain range. The broad Grand Valley, carved by the Colorado River, opens beyond Fruita Canyon. The northern horizon is an escarpment of the dark Book Cliffs topped with the lighter-colored Roan Cliffs. Note Balanced Rock, a precarious pinnacle by the right canyon wall, above the road below the overlook.
Recommended season(s): Year-round.
—Stewart M. Green