Grand Junction is Colorado’s Wine Country: Just a few hours west of Denver, Grand Junction provides visitors a truly unique Colorado escape within the Grand Valley. With access to 22 wineries, 3,000 square miles of state and federally protected public lands, outstanding outdoor activities including biking, hiking and fishing, some of the best golf in the state, unique shopping and dining experiences, arts and culture, and so much more. Here are just 10 ways to explore Grand Junction:
1. Celebrate at the Colorado National Monument. The National Park Service successfully celebrated its Centennial in 2016. Start by exploring the Colorado National Monument, touted by Outside Magazine and USA Today as one of the top 10 best places for solitude in the US.
Idea: Bike the Tour of the Moon route, starting over the 23 mile Rim Rock Drive in the Colorado National Monument.
2. New! Raise a glass at the newly opened Red Fox Cellars. This new family run winery in Palisade, CO (just 20 minutes from downtown Grand Junction) joins the 21 other wineries open year-round and waiting to serve you. Now that’s a lot of wine!
Idea: book your bachelor or bachelorette parties.
3. Get Serious About Mountain Biking. The Grand Valley has some of the best mountain biking in the world, yes world! For the serious bikers, head to Fruita and the 18 Road Trailhead.
Idea: Mountain biking does not have to be hard-core, check out the newly expanded Three Sisters Park. *Careful* -the adjacent Lunch Loops trail system is for advanced riders only. The kiddos would also like the easiest and most family-friendly trails: Rustler's Loop (at Kokopelli), Kessel Run (at 18 Road), or Prime Cut (Bookcliffs).
4. FOUR! Actually, there are five beautifully designed public golf courses. Highlights include elevated tees with a red rock backdrop of the Colorado National Monument.
Idea: Don’t miss the #3 public golf course in Colorado as ranked by golf digest, The Golf Club at Redlands Mesa.
5. Follow Your Nose to the Lavender Fest, featured every July. There’s a lot more than grapes and peaches growing here. Visitors can learn more about the unique purple plant that’s used in everything from perfume to homeopathy to culinary dishes during the annual Lavender Festival in Palisade.
Idea: have you tried lavender wine? Or peach wine? Or strawberry rhubarb wine?
6. 50 years and going strong at the Museum of the West. Fulfill your inner cowboy or cowgirl with a trip to a museum dedicated to the Western lifestyle in downtown Grand Junction.
Idea: have you ever imagined what life was like for a pioneer? “Ride” the stagecoach to see for yourself. Or really go back in time with a dino dig at their sister museum, Dinosaur Journey, in Fruita.
7. That’s One Big Wine Festival! Actually, it’s the largest in the state of Colorado. Third weekend of September is the vino filled Colorado Mountain Winefest.
Idea: don’t wear white pants; the grape stomp is a memory worth jumping in for!
8. Raft the Mighty Colorado. Or float tranquilly downstream with cocktails at the end. Our guides can deliver all levels of water-loving adventure, from Westwater Canyon to Ruby-Horsethief and beyond.
Idea: try Stand Up Paddleboarding to surf the river, Colorado style.
9. Shop Downtown Grand Junction. You won’t find big box chain stores here. You will find galleries, boutique shopping, unique toy stores, charming candy stores, bookshops, cute kids’ clothing, bike shops, outdoor gear, specialty retailers and weekly farmers' markets.
Idea: watch them make the sweet tooth cure, almond toffee, at Enstrom Candies.
10. Hike or ski the Grand Mesa. The world’s largest flat top mountain is your year-round paradise. Oh, and 300 lakes = a lot of fishing.
Idea: Not all hikes are created equal; seek the popular and challenging Crag Crest Trail. Remember your camera.
Bonus: Take Me Out to the Ball Game. The Colorado Rockies’ Minor League affiliate, the Grand Junction Rockies, begin their season each June.
Idea: Come cheer on the dedicated teams at JUCO, the Junior College World Series, that battle it out for the champs title in the last week of May.
Ready to Visit Grand Junction?