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Devil’s Kitchen and Echo Canyon
Colorado National Monument, Arizona
May 5, 2024
Distance: 7.5 km (mi)
Cumulative Elevation Gain: 313 m ( ft)

Dinah and I had planned to climb a mountain, but after seeing a wind warning, we abandoned that idea. Winds were expected to reach 70 kph with gusts over 100 kph, so we didn't want to risk being caught in the open let alone on a mountaintop. Instead, we opted for a canyon trip in the morning before the wind reached its peak.

Devil's Kitchen and Echo Canyon share the same trailhead, along with No Thoroughfare Canyon and Old Gordon. The trailhead is just inside the East Entrance of Colorado National Monument. A small parking lot serves the trails, although a nearby parking lot handles overflow parking.

We started with Devil's Kitchen, which is only a kilometre long. We went down the broad trail and at a fork, we kept right. We followed the trail as it dropped down before climbing up to Devil's Kitchen. We were struck with an amazing sight. Giant upright boulders – the highest is about 30 m – form a huge grotto. After exploring the area, we followed a trail deeper into a canyon. The short trail leads to an overlook before ending, and we soon turned around.

We noticed interesting rocks near Devil's Kitchen and decided to explore them. I scrambled up a boulder higher than Devil's Kitchen that offered a good view. Satisfied with our explorations, we followed the trail back to the fork. We took the left fork leading to Echo Canyon.

The trail to Echo Canyon is longer than Devil's Kitchen. In the first few hundred metres, it goes over a rise before dropping into the canyon. We followed the path as it passed through a variety of pleasant scenery. After a kilometre, the canyon ends at a steep wall. Of interest, is a pool of water and a shallow cave. After poking around, we returned to the parking lot.

Given the inclement weather, Devil's Kitchen and Echo were fine alternatives to our hiking plans. We were especially impressed with Devil's Kitchen. We've hiked extensively and have never seen anything like it.

KML and GPX Tracks

Starting down the trail

The trail soon forks: left for Echo Canyon, right for Devil's Kitchen

The trail drops into No Thoroughfare Canyon

A rabbit remained perfectly still near the trail

Penstemon wildflowers

Coming up to Devil's Kitchen

The entrance to the grotto is on the left

Inside Devil's Kitchen, I'm dwarfed by towering boulders

Looking out between two huge rock pillars

We stepped back for a better view. Notice there are three people in Devil's Kitchen.

We followed a short trail into the canyon

Kingcup cactus

We didn't go far

Looking back, the rock pillars of Devil's Kitchen can be seen left

There's an interesting canyon below

Before returning to Devil's Kitchen, we explored nearby rocks

I climbed a boulder where I took the panorama at the top of the page. Behind me, the rocks were too steep to climb.

Dinah waited on a plateau by Devil's Kitchen

On the way back, we passed Devil's Kitchen

We returned to the fork and started down the trail to Echo Canyon

On the first section, the trail is on slabs with rocks marking the sides

After climbing, the trail turns left and drops down to the canyon

We'll soon reach the canyon

Entering the canyon

Impressive cliffs line the sides

The canyon opens up

In the centre of the photo, Dinah is seen walking along a ledge

We went through a short tunnel

The canyon end comes after an overhanging rock

There's a pool of water at the end of the canyon

I climbed up to a cave to look inside (mouse over)

In a panorama, the cave can be seen on the right, between the trees

Colorado National Monument (4.7 mi, 5285 ft, 331 ft)

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