Grand Junction loves dogs, and with hundreds of miles of trails to explore and plenty of water to swim in, dogs love Grand Junction! Although traveling with your furry companion is rewarding, it does take a little extra planning. Here are some suggestions to make planning your getaway with your furry friend easy and fun!
Where to Stay:
If you prefer to be downtown, four hotels, SpringHill Suites, Hampton Inn, Fairfield Inn, and the new Tru by Hilton are all pet-friendly, providing you with plenty of options. They are all within a five-minute walk from restaurants like Bin 707, where the Colorado lamb tenderloin is a local favorite, or Grand Junction’s oldest brewery, the Rockslide, offering their internationally-known salmon fish and chips is a crowd favorite. Lucky for you, every Tuesday is all you can eat fish n’ chips night! If you prefer to visit downtown but hunker down elsewhere, Horizon Drive is where the majority of all Grand Junction’s hotels are located. Consider the Clarion Inn, Grand Vista, Travelodge and Super 8 for you and your best friend. You can also explore all Grand Junction's pet-friendly lodging here.
Where to Eat:
Photo by @geoffmobilej
Dining is just more fun with your furry buddy, so enjoy sitting outside at Spoons Bistro and Bakery for hearty sandwiches like their specialty Ruben Burger or their Rosemary Chicken & Avocado panini. Out in Palisade, surrounded by 26 wineries just east of Grand Junction, is Palisade Brewing Company, pouring local favorites like Dirty Hippy, along with seriously tasty BBQ. Dive into Pulled Pork Nachos - tortilla chips covered in smoked pork, sour cream, salsa, pickled jalapenos, all smothered in house-made beer nacho cheese. Venture out west of Grand Junction and you’ll find yourself in Fruita at the Hot Tomato, known for their specialty pizza pies that are a favorite with hikers and mountain bikers. Their covered outdoor patio is buzzing with friendly energy and enhanced with a cold beer from New Belgium and a Stinky Deluxe, a pie with mozzarella, meatballs, feta, fresh tomatoes, jalapenos, and garlic.
Where to Adventure:
Photo by @martylikeslife
Now that you know where to stay and where to eat with your pup, it’s time to figure out the details they care about the most. What trails are you going to be exploring? There are trails in Palisade, Grand Junction, Fruita and the Grand Mesa that will have your dog smiling and ears flapping as they bound down the trail.
The Palisade Rim trail can be hiked as a 3-mile loop or as an 8-mile loop. Both options climb above the Town of Palisade and provide epic views of the orchards and vineyards below, as well as the Colorado River as it snakes through the valley. The trail is steep and rocky, making it an excellent option for dogs who love to climb and jump. Also along the way, at the top of the lower loop are petroglyphs. Signs along the trail will navigate you to them.
In the Bangs Canyon area above Grand Junction, the 3-mile out and back Mica Mine trail is a favorite. The Mica Mine trail is a gently sloping path the works its way up Ladder Canyon. Surrounded on both sides by steep canyon walls, this trail is not only very scenic but also wide, making it perfect for pups who love to dart back and forth, sniffing everything. There is also a small stream that runs down the canyon from early spring to mid-summer, so your dogs will thank you as they quench their thirst and cool off!
If you’re headed towards Fruita, check out Mary’s Loop. The trail starts with a steep and rocky climb but soon transforms into a gentler incline. Overlooking the Colorado River and red sandstone cliffs, the long straight sections and gentle turns make this the trail for dogs that love to run. Mary’s Loop also serves as a connector to trails like Horsethief Bench Loop, Wrangler Loop, and Steve’s Loop, providing plenty of different combinations and views along the way.
Photo by @thatcoloradochick
If a woodsy hike is more your pup’s style, explore Lake of the Woods trail on the Grand Mesa. This out and back hike dips and climbs through a forest of pine trees. After about 4.5 miles, you’re rewarded with Cottonwood Lake, a pristine alpine lake of blue glacier water. Along the way to Cottonwood Lake, you'll also pass several smaller lakes, so if your dog loves to swim, this is your hike.
Always remember to check local leash laws and know before you go. Help take care of Colorado by picking up after your pet and remember to Leave No Trace. Now that you know where to stay, eat, and explore, it's the perfect time to start planning a visit to Grand Junction.