Grand Junction loves dogs, and with hundreds of miles of trails to explore and plenty of water to quench their thirst and jump 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 your getaway with your four-legged 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 many options. They are all within a five-minute walk from restaurants like Bin 707, where the lamb tenderloin is a local favorite, or Grand Junction’s original brewery, the Rockslide, which offers salmon fish and chips with award-winning brews. Lucky for you, every Tuesday is all you can eat fish n’ chips night! There are over 38 affordable hotels in Grand Junction, the majority of which are on Horizon Drive, located just off I-70. Consider the Hotel Maverick, a newly built boutique hotel next to the Colorado Mesa University Campus. You can check out all of Grand Junction's pet-friendly lodging here.
Where to Eat:
Dining is just more fun with your fur buddy, so enjoy sitting outside at Spoons Bistro and Bakery for hearty sandwiches like their specialty Ruben Burger or their Rosemary Chicken & Avocado panini. Looking to take your pup for a walk downtown and satisfy your appetite while you’re at it? Take Fido down to our favorite 50’s themed diner, Main Street Café. They have outdoor dining and the food is worth begging for. If you had to choose between Greek food, Asian bites, pub grub, beer, or wine, which would you choose? Don’t worry! Take your four-legged friend down to Blue Moon Bar & Grille, and you won’t have to make that choice. They serve up a variety of pub foods to drool over and a rotating beer menu! So relax and enjoy some fresh air on the outdoor patio!
Where to Adventure:
Now that you know where to stay and where to grub with your pup, it’s time to figure out the details they care about the most. What trails are you going to be romping on? There are hundreds of trails surrounding Grand Junction and the Grand Mesa that will have your dog smiling and ears flapping as they bound down the trail.
Photo by Michael Roush
A local favorite is Rattlesnake Arches. The second-largest concentration of arches is right here!. The trailhead begins at the parking area and guides you to rose-tinted entrada sandstone overlooking where a series of eight arches appear out of the 35 that exist - all within a 1.2 mile area. The Upper Trailhead is the easiest of the trails, but requires a 4-wheel drive vehicle to access it. This is a great spring through fall hike, but bring plenty of water. We recommend you start with this hike before you tackle the 15.5 mile Pollock Bench route. This trail, which can be done year-round, brings the other arches into view; however, it is a rigorous hike.
Looking for a more relaxed and less strenuous trail? Try out the Colorado Riverfront Trail! The 24.5-mile trail is paved, dog-friendly, and there are places to stop and rest along the way. The trail runs along the Colorado River so expect gorgeous views, soothing sounds, and a variety of birds and wildlife. There are also multiple places throughout Grand Junction where you can park and hop on the trail, but the most popular one is at Las Colonias Park. There’s parking, bathrooms, and loads of space for your pal to run around in the new dog park. If you are wanting to do something other than walking along the trail, you can head down to Watson Island, which is a disc golf course near Las Colonias Park. Dogs are welcome so they can burn off some energy while you get a quick round in.
In the Bangs Canyon area above Grand Junction, the 3-mile out and back Mica Mine trail is a local favorite. The Mica Mine trail is a gently sloping path that 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 and exploring. 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!
*In late April 2020, the Mica Mine Trail experienced a landslide where 70 tons of rock fell on the trail. The trail is still open, but please mind the hazard signs, and stay out of roped-off areas.
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. With all these furry activities you might want to stay another day or two. Since Grand Junction has some of the most affordable lodging in Colorado, it's a bark'in!