If you’re the type that likes to ease into winter and not be forced to bundle up until you’re ready, then you need to plan a trip to Grand Junction. Colorado’s Western Slope is high desert, which means winter happens a little differently. Thanks to the area’s temperate climate, it’s possible to enjoy your favorite summer activities, while dabbling in winter fun as much, or as little, as your heart desires.
Hiking & Biking
The Grand Junction area receives very little snow. This means many popular trails around Grand Junction stay open for hiking and mountain biking all year long. Most days, all you need is sneakers or your favorite pair of hiking boots and a light jacket to enjoy the great outdoors. The Colorado National Monument and McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area remain popular destinations for hikers throughout the winter season.
When it does snow in Grand Junction, it doesn’t take long for the sun to warm the red sandstone canyons and cliff faces, which quickly melts off the snow. The area's four public golf courses even stay open throughout the winter season. You’ll find folks taking advantage of sunny afternoons while enjoying beers and birdies.
Maybe you're looking for the best of both worlds, where you can spend a morning enjoying time on the snow and the afternoon in your favorite pair of hiking boots. Lucky for you the Grand Mesa, the largest flat-top mountain in the world, is only 45 minutes from Downtown Grand Junction and is a winter wonderland. The Mesa averages 250 inches of light, fluffy snow, and transforms into a paradise for skiers, snowshoers, sled heads, and ice fishermen. The best part is, you won’t experience the stressful traffic jams that I-70 is known for. More time to play!
Downhill skiers who have taken to the slopes at Powderhorn Mountain Resort swear by this mountain. Carved into the steep slopes of Grand Mesa, Powderhorn has renowned tree skiing and plenty of access to the backcountry.
Those looking for cross country skiing will love the 30 plus miles of groomed trails maintained by the Grand Mesa Nordic Council. Snowshoers can also venture out on the cross-country trails. Proper trail etiquette is to stay on either side of the groomed ski trails.
Since the Mesa is bursting with over 300 lakes, the possibilities for ice fishing are endless. Many lakes are accessible along the 63-mile Grand Mesa Scenic Byway, so grab your favorite pole, some tasty bait, and a trusty auger and get out there on the thick ice. If you want a more secluded location, strap your snowshoes on and hike into a lake that you can call your own for the day.
Downtown Grand Junction
After a morning spent playing in the snow, it's an easy drive back to Grand Junction, where you can spend the late afternoon exploring Grand Junction's beautiful Downtown, home to over 100 award-winning outdoor sculptures. Downtown is bustling with boutique stores, trendy coffee shops, farm to fork restaurants, and plenty of activities to enjoy. And oh so easy to park! There is a free parking garage, plenty of street parking that is only 50 cents per hour and free after 4 p.m., including free weekends and holidays. Pinch me!