Grand Junction Wildflower Hikes
The peak season for wildflowers around Grand Junction is earlier than most of Colorado due to warm winters and no mud season. So, if you come to the area in search of wildflower hikes, late April and early May are great times to head out and explore areas like the Colorado National Monument (CNM), McInnis Canyons or Dominguez-Escalante Canyon. For bright flowers that are a little more discreet, the vibrant petals that bloom from the native cacti burst as early as May in CNM and surrounding areas.
For higher elevations like the Grand Mesa, aim for late May-early June to hike alongside columbines, delphiniums and mountain bluebells. Pack a picnic and enjoy the crisp mountain air, while looking across the largest flat-top mountain in the world or drop a line in one of the 300 alpine lakes are scattered across the top of this magnificent mesa.
Another unique, sensory-stimulating experience in Grand Junction is the Colorado Lavender Festival, which takes place every June. Guests love to feast their eyes on acres of purple and “pick your own” lavender at Belli Fiori Lavender Farm. Don’t forget to check their shop! It is filled with aromatherapy, culinary and body care products that are all infused with the lavender grown on their farm. The family also owns a distillery, called Highlands Distillery. Their technique is uber-sophisticated and worth a sip! ‘No surprise, there’s a lavender drink.
Blossoms to Fruit: Orchards in Bloom
PC: Ali Von Lewinski
Grand Junction is known as the fruit capital of Colorado and springtime is when many of the fruit it produces begin to bloom. The spring blossom season for sprouting apples, peaches, pears and cherry orchards burst into color and is stunningly beautiful.
The fruit blossom season begins in April, starting with apricots, peaches and cherries. While peach blossoms are predominantly pink, both cherries and apricots blossom in pure white. Both of these buds typically unfurl in mid-to-late April, depending on the winter snowfall and spring temperatures. The contrast of pastel pink with pure white blooms is a beautiful site worthy of visiting.
With dozens of vineyards and wineries in the area, it’s easy to understand why Grand Junction is being celebrated as the next Napa Valley. The stunning view of the vineyards in the spring makes enjoying a glass so much more meaningful and flavorful.
According to Britany Crowell, part of the family-owned Two Rivers Winery & Chateau, “Grapes go through different stages as they grow. Clusters start to form, and the little white flowers appear when they’re first waking up, which is usually in early May. By Memorial Day, the leaves have appeared on the vine. Then, the grapes start to ripen in late August and sugar develops during the process of veraison. This is when they begin to take on the color of the specific grape varietal they represent.” Stop by Two Rivers Winery & Chateau, enjoy a glass of wine served by their expert team, and walk through the vineyards – we promise it’s a transformative experience. The 2022 dates for the “Music in the Grapevines” outdoor concert series that features rotating acoustic and band music are:
May 24 – Stray Grass
June 22 – Exit 42
July 19 – Wild Flight
August 16 – Donny Morales and Glen Patterson
September 7 – Stray Grass
Another popular Grand Junction destination for flower lovers is the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens. Blooms start showing off in May, around Mother’s Day, which is on May 8 this year. “Memorial Day (May 30) to Labor Day (September 5) is usually the best window to see a lot of blooms at the Gardens,” said Botanical Gardens employee Chandra Boulden.
There are still opportunities to see blooms in the wintertime. With more than 600 species of exotic tropical plants, as well as local plant species and a butterfly house, the Gardens offer a feast of colors and scents even in the winter. The Botanical Gardens are open year-round (closed Sunday and Monday for groundskeeping), so winter guests can enjoy watching butterflies emerge from cocoons every two weeks, visit the turtles in the rainforest room, or bundle up for a walk along the river near Las Colonias Park.
Additionally, the summer concert series in the Gardens has just as much appeal for the auditory sensory experience. The tentative 2022 schedule of concerts is:
May 7: Tulips and Julips
June 17: Concert in the Gardens from 6 to 10 p.m.
July 22: Boys of Summer Concert from 6 to 10 p.m.
Aug. 26: Peach Street Revival concert from 6 to 10 p.m.
No matter the bloom season or the timing of your visit, you’ll find ample lodging options, from affordable and convenient to luxurious and decadent.