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 searching for wildflower hikes, late April to late September are great times to head out and explore areas like the Colorado National Monument (CNM), McInnis Canyons or Dominguez-Escalante Canyon. For bright and discreet flowers, the vibrant petals that bloom from the native cacti burst as early as May in CNM and surrounding areas. Colorado National Monument's tall south-facing cliffs provide warmth and protection, allowing year-round flowering for an array of beautiful colors.
For higher elevations like the Grand Mesa, aim for late May-early June to hike alongside columbines, delphiniums and mountain bluebells, whose blooms last until early July, depending on the weather. Many wildflowers, including common lupine, sun spots and sneezeweed, bloom in July and continue into early fall, so you are bound to see a kaleidoscope of colors along the trails. 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 scattered across the top of this magnificent mesa.
Another unique, sensory-stimulating experience in Grand Junction is touring the lavender fields. 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 out their shop! It is filled with aromatherapy, culinary and body care products 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 fruit trees 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 and finish blooming by the first week of May, depending on the winter snowfall and spring temperatures. The contrast of pastel pink with pure white blooms is a beautiful sight worthy of visiting.
If you missed the blossoms this year, don't worry. The beautiful buds are quickly replaced with mouthwatering fruits, and many farms even offer the option to pick your own!
With dozens of vineyards and wineries in the area, it’s easy to understand why Grand Junction is celebrated as the next Napa Valley. The stunning view of the vineyards makes enjoying a glass 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 veraison process. 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.
Another popular Grand Junction destination for flower lovers is the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens. Blooms start showing off in May, around Mother’s Day. “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, 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.
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.