The less-traveled 1 mile Homestead Trail takes off just before the bridge after entering the park.
You get there by either the Canyon Trail or the Chute Trail from the Overlook just past the Welcome Center. Continue through the helipad area, going through the marked trail opening in the fence to follow the path by the river.
It starts out flat and easy for the first .5 miles. Along the way you’ll have views across the river of the climbers on the Red Wall.
Hikers can also be seen as they slowly make their ascent on the steep Misery Ridge Trail, marked by its series of switchbacks carved into the rock.
Opportunities abound to spot wildlife, both in the water, and flying overhead. As well as the occasional marmot, rabbit or snake.
Gopher snakes sometimes wander across the path.
They look almost identical to the rattlesnakes, but without the buzz or rattle of their poisonous brothers. Both are rarely seen.
Just be mindful of where you step in the denser vegetation of the trail.
As you approach the bend of the horse ford, you can make a sharp right to start your ascent up and out of the park.
We encourage you to continue on past it though.
You can explore unidentified trails for a nice picnic among the boulders by the rushing waters of the river gorge.
Completing the loop of the unidentified trail puts you back on the main Homestead Trail.
It begins its steep climb for .24 miles along switchbacks that provide great views of the Monument area and the river below.
Once you reach the parking level, you can continue straight down the gravel path.
Go past the amphitheater viewpoint and exit into the parking area.
From there it’s a 10 minute walk back to the Welcome Center.
We recommend you hang a left at the junction when you reach the parking level, to join up with the flat, .33 mile North Point Trail loop.
Just be careful to keep children and pets close when you get to the unconnected rock columns along the ridge.