One great spot is the Colorado River, which flows through the area and offers several options for lazing away summer days. Choose from placid float trips to some wild whitewater rides, depending on your preference and the section of river you visit. If you’re just looking to enjoy some scenery and take advantage of the water’s cooling effects, choose a float trip. Palisade Wine Country Float Trips offers several options that will have you drifting past placid wine country scenery for a few hours of relaxation. They’re perfect for all ages, from toddlers to the elderly.
If you’re up for getting really wet and wild, seek more adventure down river at Westwater Canyon for some of the West’s most challenging whitewater rapids. Find more information about rafting, floating and local outfitters in Grand Junction, which includes Adventure Bound River Expeditions, Rimrock Adventures and Colorado Discover Ability.
A couple of local state parks also make great destinations in your mission to stay cool.
James M. Robb State Park, from Fruita on the west end, to Island Acres on the east end and three stops in-between, this is one park split into five sections. To visit the park, follow the Colorado River west from Debeque Canyon to Fruita, and enjoy five uniquely different river and lake based outdoor recreation opportunities. The sections or “pearls”, are listed in order from east to west and each offer something different. You can find more information on the State Park website.
- Island Acres (swim beach and several have picnic areas)
- Corn Lake
- Colorado River Wildlife Area
- Connected Lakes
Highline State Park is another popular spot with locals in summer. There’s fishing, boating, a beach, shaded picnic spots and, for the athletic, mountain biking and hiking options. For more on this park, visit the Highline State Park site.
And speaking of public lands, the Grand Mesa rising above the valley also offers respite from the heat in summer. The largest flattop mountain in the world, its altitude -- 10,000 feet —is your first clue that temperatures will be milder. The mesa, with more than 300 lakes, much of it national forest, offers fishing, kayaking, canoeing, camping and other outdoor activities spring through fall. There’s also some great bird- and wildlife-watching. Once you escape the heat, you may be inclined to do some hiking, and a favorite route is the Crag Crest Trail. For more on the mesa, head to the Grand Mesa page.
If you prefer to stay in town, check out the Lincoln Park Moyer Pool, operated by the city of Grand Junction’s Parks and Recreation Department. This outdoor facility is only open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, the splash pad is FREE, and it has a water slide that makes it popular with kids (and the young at heart). If you prefer to get out of the sun, try the Orchard Mesa Community Center Pool (at the middle school of the same name) for swim facilities with lockers and other amenities.
Whether or not it’s hot, Grand Junction is a cool place to visit.
Where do you go to cool off in Grand Junction? Share your favorites on social media and tag it with #shareGJ.