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Monument Hill Trail



0.6 mile 1.0 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 43' 13 m
Descent: -3' -1 m
High: 4,006' 1,221 m
Low: 3,963' 1,208 m


Avg Grade: 1% (1°)
Max Grade: 4% (2°)


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Trail shared by David Hitchcock


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Trail from the picnic area near the visitor center that leads up to the Sand Creek Monument on the hill.

David Hitchcock

Features Views · Wildflowers

Family Friendly This is an easy hike from the visitor center to the monument on the hill. It details the history of the place and allows the family to get out and stretch their legs after the drive.

The Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site is open 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM every day from April 1st through November 30th and Thursday through Monday from December 1st through March 31st. The park will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, December 26, and New Year's Day.

Need to Know

Depending on the weather, mosquitoes may be present in the spring time, so make sure to bring bug spray. The trail is exposed, with no shade except at the pergola at the monument. Make sure to bring plenty of water, wear sunscreen, and a hat to protect yourself from the heat.


The trail departs the parking area near the visitor center and passes through the picnic area. Take time to read two letters that were written by US Soldiers (Captain Silas Soule and Lieutenant Joseph Cramer) describing in graphic detail the events of the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864.

The trail is crushed gravel/sand is suitable for wheelchair access as long as the weather hasn't been too wet recently. It enters the high plains and sweeping views spread out before you. The trail passes a sign that describes the chiefs who were slain, many of whom advocated for peace. In the spring time, a variety of wildflowers bloom in the open plains on either side of the trail. A bench for silence and reflection sits roughly 0.25 miles along the trail.

The trail begins to climb slightly around the 0.4 mile mark. Here, you can break off to the left, which leads to the parking lot and a restroom or you can stay to the right and climb up the hill to the monument. You'll pass the repatriation site, where on June 2, 2008, the first burial of human remains from the Sand Creek Massacre occurred. Future burials may happen here as well. When you get to the top of the hill, a pergola with four benches overlooks Sand Creek and the site of the Indian Village where the massacre happened.

There are several informational signs detailing the history of American and Indian relations, as well as a stone commemorating the dates of the event. Once you have taken in the views of the high plains from the bluffs above the village, you can either return to your car via the path you traveled, or continue to explore the bluffs and enjoy the views by taking the Bluff Trail for roughly 1.25 miles to another overlook and then return to the visitor center from there. It makes for a nice 3.5 mile hike.

Flora & Fauna

Wildflowers of several varieties bloom in the spring time, and various plants common to the high plains are found along the trail. Cottonwoods line Sand Creek, but you are asked to keep your distance since this is where many of the Indians who were slain remain buried. In addition, there are prairie rattlers in the area, so its best to keep your distance.

Deer, pronghorn antelope, prairie dogs, various species of birds all call the monument home, so keep your eyes peeled. Lizards, well camouflaged, can be seen scurrying along the trail. Monarch butterflies and insects can be seen, especially in the spring time as they fly between the flowers.

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Jun 23, 2019
David Hitchcock
Nice hike from the visitor center to the memorial. Nice to get out of the car and walk around. 1mi

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