Got scenery? Grand Junction does. More than 1.3 million acres of Colorado scenery. Grand Mesa, rising abruptly on the eastern end of the Grand Valley, has an average elevation of about 10,000 feet and is considered to be the largest flat-top mountain in the world. More than 200 lakes dot the mesa, each surrounded by vast forests of spruce, pine and aspen. A designated scenic byway (Hwy 65) crosses Grand Mesa, taking travelers from the sheer sandstone depths of Plateau Canyon to the alpine beauty of the Colorado high country.
Powderhorn Resort on Grand Mesa offers 1,600 skiable acres, 600 of which are groomed, with a vertical drop of 1,650 feet. The resort receives an average of 20-plus feet of snowfall annually, making it a prime destination for skiers and snowboarders from across western Colorado. Best of all, it's less than an hour's drive from Grand Junction.
For a genuine thrill during the summer months, take Highway 65 to the top of Grand Mesa, then follow Lands End Road to the edge of the plateau. At Lands End Overlook, the earth seems to drop away beneath your feet, and your 10,000-foot-high perch gives you an eagle's-eye view of hundreds of miles of breathtaking landscape, from the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado to the La Sal Mountains of eastern Utah.
To the west of Grand Junction lies Colorado National Monument, a maze of deep red sandstone canyons sitting atop a rugged base of the oldest rocks on Earth. Water, wind, and time have worked artistic magic in the rock, creating one-of-a-kind monoliths that line the entire length of 23-mile Rimrock Drive. The monument is a favorite of photographers, who visit in all types of weather to capture the landscape's unique and changing appearance. Colorado National Monument offers numerous hiking trails, and the Devil's Kitchen and Saddlehorn picnic areas within the monument are superb locations for group events.
South of Grand Junction lies the Uncompahgre Plateau, whose imposing presence is accented by rugged canyons and forests of pine and aspen. Slicing through the Uncompahgre is Unaweep Canyon, where a designated scenic byway (Hwy 141) carries travelers through a landscape that varies from red-rock desert to mountain valley.
North of Grand Junction is the Bookcliffs, a unique stretch of cliffs whose resemblance to books lining a shelf gave it its name. The most famous landmark in the Book Cliffs is Mount Garfield, a prominent feature that serves as a popular backdrop for many a photo from the orchards and vineyards near its base.
In town, the Riverfront Trail snakes for miles along the mighty Colorado River, passing through cottonwood forests and beneath the heights of Orchard Mesa and the Redlands. The trail has many access points, and visitors can spend an hour or a day exploring the beauty of the riverside environment.
When it comes to the Grand Junction area's glorious Colorado landscape, there's no end to the opportunities for discovery, inspiration and relaxation.