When winter arrives in Colorado, you might feel resigned to packing your hiking boots in storage and focusing on snow sports – or just staying indoors until spring comes along. But in Grand Junction, hiking and many other outdoor adventures continue year-round. With an average November temperature of 52 degrees Fahrenheit, there are plenty of opportunities to hike and see majestic landscapes that are unique to the western side of Colorado.
While Grand Mesa and other areas of high elevation receive snow and cold temperatures that you expect of a Colorado winter, the lower elevation of the Grand Junction area provides mild temperatures through the winter with hardly any snow. So, if you’re not ready to hang up your hiking boots just yet, here are some great Grand Junction fall and winter hikes in Colorado.
Hiking in Colorado National Monument
Sunshine and great views, but with significantly cooler temperatures, makes the end of the year a great time to hike in Colorado National Monument. A light jacket is all you will need, especially if the sun is shining, which is most of the time. For a short hike, try the Alcove Trail. This easy, self-guided nature trail will take about an hour and is only ½ mile round trip. For a longer hike, consider Liberty Cap or Monument Canyon. Rock spires, juniper forests and bighorn sheep provide unexpected and unique views. Want to know the best part about Colorado National Monument? It’s not crowded, so you can really escape and enjoy your time with nature.
Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area and Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Area
You can’t go wrong with any winter hike in this high-desert wilderness and conservation area near Grand Junction. The contrast of red rock canyons and pristine, blue skies is stunning. With little vegetation to block your view of the horizon, there’s no end to the photo opportunities. A highly-recommended Colorado winter hike (which also includes a waterfall) is Big Dominguez Canyon. Early winter is also a great time to spot wildlife, like bighorn sheep, as they stock up on food before winter frosts.
Little Book Cliffs
Just eight miles from Grand Junction, the Little Book Cliffs offer great scenery and a glimpse into Colorado’s Wild West. The area is one of only three wild horse sanctuaries in the U.S., so keep your eyes open for herds of mustangs! This BLM area is open to other activities, including horseback riding and biking. The horses often migrate to DeBeque during the winter months, so you might want to consider venturing out in that direction if you are determined to see these wild giants.
Grand Junction is surrounded by hundreds of thousands of acres of public land, much of which is just as delightful during the winter months as it is during the summer. Read more about other outdoor activities around Grand Junction.
No matter what winter hiking you take on, the Grand Junction area will not disappoint. Plus, you’ll have no shortage of affordable lodging opportunities, with 38 hotels in the city, plus vacation rentals.