Nestled amidst the stunning Colorado landscapes, Grand Junction is a well-known mecca for snowmobile enthusiasts. With pristine alpine wilderness, temperate winter climate, and an abundance of well-maintained snowmobile trails nearby, Grand Junction has solidified its position as a top destination for those seeking the ultimate snowmobiling experience. Whether you are a seasoned rider or a newcomer to the sport, this quintessential Colorado town is a must-visit destination for winter adventure seekers.
From trails across the world’s largest flat-top mountain – the Grand Mesa - to the scenic Uncompahgre Plateau, get ready to snowmobile in this picturesque, Colorado winter wonderland. Looking for affordable lodging? Check! Grand Junction has over 31 hotels and 280 vacation homes that are super affordable, so you can plan to stay a few extra days. The average lodging rates are $75 - $125 per night, during the winter season, and many include breakfast.
Preparing for Your Snowmobiling Adventure
The snowmobiling season typically runs from the beginning of December to March or April, depending on snowfall. Check current trail conditions before planning your ride to confirm the area you plan to explore is open and safe. Monitoring the weather forecast ahead of time is also recommended. Avoid riding in extreme weather conditions like heavy snowfall or high wind, and make sure you're familiar with the area you'll be riding in or download a map of the area from COTREX or AllTrails.
Wearing the appropriate gear is another essential step you won't want to skip. Dress in protective and warm layers and wear a properly fitted helmet to ensure your safety during your snowmobiling adventures. Always stick to designated snowmobiling trails and areas, and be considerate of others when in multi-use areas.
Snowmobiling Trails in the Grand Junction Area
For both thrill-seekers and nature enthusiasts, snowmobiling trails around Grand Junction offer an exhilarating journey through some of Colorado's most pristine winter forest landscapes. Brace yourself for heart-pounding adventures as you navigate through the snowy wonderland - you will soon understand why this is the best snowmobiling terrain in the area.
Grand Mesa’s Sunlight to Powderhorn Trail
Among the numerous snowmobiling gems that Grand Junction has to offer, the sprawling Grand Mesa stands out as the most popular playground for snowmobilers. Just a short 45-minute drive from Downtown Grand Junction stands the Grand Mesa. Its high alpine elevation provides the climate for plenty of fresh powder regularly throughout the winter season. The extensive network includes 800 square miles of groomed trails that wind through pristine forests and open meadows, delivering panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.
The most popular snowmobiling trail on the Grand Mesa is the Sunlight to Powderhorn Trail, or “The SP Trail” for short. This well-groomed trail stretches 123 miles from the Sunlight Ski Area to the Powderhorn Ski Area, making it one of the longest snowmobile trails in the contiguous United States. Several miles of side trails can be explored from The SP Trail, and the main trail is marked with green reflectors to help navigate in winter weather conditions. The Sunlight to Powderhorn Trail has two trailheads, one accessible from the Grand Mesa Visitor Center and the other one off Four Mile Road near Glenwood Springs. Other top areas to try out while on the Grand Mesa are the Bonham, Bull Creek, Cold Sore, and Vega trails, each offering unique challenges and scenery.
Uncompahgre Plateau Trails
The Uncompahgre Plateau and parts of the Uncompahgre National Forest offer miles of both groomed and ungroomed snowmobiling trails the perfect day trip for Grand Junction visitors. This 1.2 million-acre area boasts wide-open spaces and scenic climbs suitable for riders of all experience levels.
The Dave Wood Bypass Trail is a 1.9-mile long trail on the plateau, starting at the Dave Wood Snowmobile Trailhead and ending at Forest Road 402. Fun fact: the Dave Wood Road and trail are named after the man who led Colorado’s largest pioneer freight service, hauling supplies to mining towns. The trail typically opens in December and is used for various winter activities, including cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.
For a more adventurous and remote ride, embark on the Dry Creek Trail. This less developed groomed trail leads uphill for about 7 miles to Divide Road. Enjoy wintery views along the ride through Dry Creek Canyon’s rock formations, trees, and frozen creek, with the possibility of catching a glimpse of the Grand Mesa in the distance.
White River National Forest Trails
For visitors driving to Grand Junction from Denver or those seeking a day trip, a detour at Glenwood Springs allows you to explore the expansive trail system that winds through the 2.3 million acres of White River National Forest. With a blend of diverse terrain, including meadows, mountains, and trees, this area is a snowmobiler’s playground.
To explore a remote and scenic part of the White River National Forest, take the Transfer Trail just north of Glenwood Springs. Four-wheel drive is recommended for access to this trail. The terrain on Transfer Trail varies, offering a mix of groomed trails and ungroomed backcountry riding. Some trails are wide and well-marked, while others may involve more technical riding through forests and across open slopes.
If you’re looking to adventure through the sprawling Flattops snowmobile trail system covering this area, head to the West Elk Trailhead on Forest Road 245, where a large parking lot is available. If you’re planning to visit the Flattops, check out the club’s reports on the latest trailhead conditions or for more information on trail maps, safety information, and other resources.
Snowmobile Rentals & Tours in Grand Junction
Once you’ve determined which of these top snowmobiling areas you plan to visit, the next step is to secure a snowmobile. Visitors to the Grand Junction area are in luck, as several local rental shops and providers offer snowmobile rentals and tours that are perfect for first-timers. When possible, make reservations in advance to ensure availability, especially during peak snowmobiling season. Here are some options to consider:
Altitude Outdoor Adventures
For those eager to explore the snowy Grand Mesa, Altitude Outdoor Adventures offers guided snowmobile tours suitable for all experience levels. Discover historical points of interest as you ride through the scenic beauty of the Grand Mesa. Single and double-rider snowmobile options are available and reservations can be made online.
Thunder Mountain Lodge
Thunder Mountain Lodge also offers snowmobile tours on the Grand Mesa. Choose from family-friendly guided tours lasting 2-3 hours, or opt for an unguided half-day or full-day snowmobile rental. For those looking to bring their own sled or pick up one for the day, Thunder Mountain has on-site snowmobile rentals and fuel services. If you’re bringing a snowmobile from out of state, non-resident snowmobile stickers can also be purchased here.
Are you a seasoned snowmobiler looking to buy your own equipment? Ride the Grand Junction area’s trails to your heart’s content with a snowmobile from All-Terrain Motorsports, a family-owned and operated regional dealership. Browse their extensive inventory online or visit the dealership located in Grand Junction.
Once you've secured your sled, you'll be ready to hit the trails and explore the stunning winter landscapes surrounding Grand Junction, creating unforgettable memories in the heart of Colorado's winter wonderland.
Winter Adventures Await in Grand Junction
Grand Junction is a haven for snowmobiling enthusiasts of all levels, offering impressive landscapes and well-maintained trails for winter adventure seekers. From the expansive Grand Mesa to the picturesque Uncompahgre Plateau and the vast White River National Forest, the Grand Junction area provides diverse terrain and captivating experiences. Whether you choose to explore with guided tours, local rentals, or your own snowmobile, the opportunities for unforgettable snowmobiling adventures on this side of Colorado are endless. Prepare for an exhilarating journey through snowy landscapes and get ready to create lasting memories in Grand Junction.
As you prepare for your snowmobiling adventure in Grand Junction, Colorado, remember that the area is filled with a wealth of other winter activities waiting to be explored. So, after your snowmobiling experience, consider delving into the many other winter activities like skiing and snowshoeing or hiking in sneakers in Colorado National Monument.