On our recent visit to Colorado National Monument, the tots and I explored the Coke Ovens Trail along with an old friend, author Renee Collins, and her daughter. The trail is about 0.75 mile round trip, and was relatively easy, the only rough spot being some switchbacks just after the Upper Monument Canyon trail head.
Coke Ovens Overlook Trail connects with several other trails in the Colorado National Monument system. Along the way, Big E pretended to be a jedi, randomly making light saber sounds toward juniper trees, rock cairns and his sister. We chose this trail because it was short, relatively flat and featured a fenced off viewing area at the end, where the tots could all climb and play two year old hide and seek in safety.
The quick descent featured several sharp switchbacks, which I knew would be tough on the way back up, but were fun on the way down. The view was amazing with red rock and juniper as far as the eye could see. Everything was great until we tried hiking back out.
Little g hated being wrestled into the hiking pack, but since nap time was rapidly approaching, I knew hiking uphill would only be miserable if she tried to walk on her own. I wasn’t expecting Big E, my normally avid trekker, to make such a fuss about the hike out either. Every curve of the trail brought more complaints.
“Why aren’t we there yet? Where’s the car? I’m tired. Carry me mom.” When we left for the trail I had expected good exercise, beautiful views and a little fun. I hadn’t expected to slog uphill for ten minutes to a chorus of complaints.
Luckily the hike ended quickly and we all went out for lunch to celebrate. We needed it.
Coke Ovens Overlook Trail
Length: 0.75 mile
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Tips: Don’t go with cranky kids.