Colorado was the first state to officially partner with Leave No Trace to promote fun and sustainable outdoor recreation for everyone. Check out the video and see how you can get Colo-ready! 

Grand Junction is known for its scenic landscapes and endless pursuits of outdoor adventure. From hiking and biking to paddleboarding and fishing, Grand Junction is a playground for those looking to get out and explore mother nature. There is plenty of room to spread out, as well, since the Grand Junction area is 76% public land. 

A recent notable accomplishment for Grand Junction was being included in the New York Times’ “52 Places to Go in 2023”. If you decide to visit, please check out these helpful pointers to not only enhance your vacation in Grand Junction but also to help protect the area for generations to come.

 

1. Know Before You Go

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Photo: @elliannebowen

Before you set off on your next epic outdoor adventure, take the time to become familiar with the area you plan to visit. Plan ahead with your trail research so you know how long your excursion will be and the elevation gain, as well. COTREX, AllTrails, and Gaia GPS apps are excellent resources. Please also make sure you have room in your pack for extra supplies. Weather can be unpredictable, and you never know when you will need to bundle up, so multiple layers are important. Bring plenty of snacks to keep you well-fueled and sunscreen is a must in Colorado due to the elevation and sunny skies. Colorado has relatively dry air, so be sure to bring extra water. Plus, you just might hike longer than you planned once you unplug and become one with nature!

 

2. Stick to Trails

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Photo: @kate_runs_colorado

While you are out on the trail, please be sure to stay on established trail systems. Colorado’s ecosystems are very delicate, and staying on the trail helps to ensure that public lands remain in their natural state. Wandering off the trail and stepping on plants and softer soils can be extremely damaging to the environment. When looking for a place to pitch your tent, remember that great campsites are found, not made! You shouldn't have to do any altering to a site, including dispersed camping. It is also recommended to camp at least 200 feet away from lakes and streams. This will help keep the water clean and pristine, and the fish will thank you for that! 

 

3. Leave it as You Find it

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Photo: @flybynightlife

Leave what you find! Historical relics like arrowheads, pictographs, petroglyphs, ancient structures and even rocks and plants are all part of the amazing history and geology of Colorado. Most of these artifacts are hundreds of years old, and future generations will want to see them too! For rock engravings and paintings, please be sure not to touch them. Oil from your hands will darken the images, making them disappear. 

 

4. Trash the Trash

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Photo: @photos22ultra

Pack it in, pack it out - leave with everything you started with! Be an ambassador for nature and pack out everything you take with you. Go one step further and pick up other people’s trash if you see it along the way. None of us like to see trash on the trail, and it’s a danger for wildlife too. Others will follow your example and let’s be honest, it will make you feel great! 

 

5. Be Careful with Fire

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Photo: @sturgeon.dan

While everyone loves eating s’mores and telling stories with the dim glow of a crackling campfire, it is important to remember that fires can cause severe harm to nature’s landscapes, animals, and humans. Be sure to only start fires in established fire rings or pits and keep them small and under control. One ember can create a disaster. It is also important to always make sure your fire is completely extinguished, and the ashes are cool before leaving them unattended. One useful method for putting out a fire is to drown it completely with water until the sizzling of the coals stops and then mix the ashes with soil. The ashes must be cool enough for you to touch, before it’s safe to leave it unattended. Help minimize wildfire risks by always adhering to current fire restrictions.

 

6. Keep Wildlife Wild

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Photo: @fotophreak

Grand Junction is home to some of the state's most majestic animals. From bighorn sheep and bald eagles to elk, moose, and deer, wild animals are abundant in Grand Junction. Even though they may look cute and cuddly, please avoid feeding the animals. Doing so changes their natural behavior and exposes them to new predators and other dangers. Respect your distance when you see an animal. A good rule of “thumb” is if you can’t cover the animal with your thumb stretched out in your line of sight, then you should increase your distance. When taking photos of these beautiful creatures, utilize the zoom feature on your phone instead of approaching them. 

 

7. Share Our Trails & Parks

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Photo: @cwharrington

Be courteous! Grand Junction is known for its friendly locals so don’t be surprised if a fellow hiker or biker shares a friendly greeting as they pass. This is common in Grand Junction, so be sure to smile and return the favor! If you have a question while out trailblazing, don’t hesitate to ask someone – they likely can help you. Always yield to those walking uphill and give them plenty of room to pass. While you might dig your own groovy tunes, others might not, and wildlife will certainly avoid you when they hear you coming. Besides, it’s much more relaxing to let the sounds of nature serenade you. Keeping your hearing tuned into the environment will also provide you a warning if you are approaching an animal that is sounding a warning to you.

 

That’s it, you’re now Colo-ready! Thank you for helping to protect Grand Junction and this beautiful state. Visit LNT.org for more information on Leave No Trace or check out the Official Grand Junction Visitor Guide to set out on your next Colorado adventure!