Colorado National Monument with Little Snow

Grand Junction was honored to be mentioned as the base camp for one of Outside's 2023 Travel Awards. The Colorado Plateau was awarded the "Public Land Winner" and Grand Junction was highlighted as the top destination for travelers hoping to explore this award-winning area. The Grand Junction area is surrounded by over 1.6 million acres of public land, so it's no surprise that adventure travelers were encouraged to base their adventure out of Grand Junction. See below for the full section regarding the Colorado Plateau.


Public Land Winner: The Colorado Plateau

"Boasting 30 national parks, monuments, and recreation areas, the Colorado Plateau is arguably America’s greatest natural playground. Shaped by the Colorado River over millions of years, the landscape’s dramatic canyons, monoliths, and mesas form a 150,580-square-mile expanse of high desert straddling the region’s Four Corners and include the spectacular spires of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park and the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park. Now is the time to appreciate such magnificence: the river is one of the country’s most hotly contested water resources, and it’s threatened by drought. New weeklong, Navajo-led trips from the Grand Canyon Conservancy’s Field Institute provide the ultimate deep dive into the greater national-park area and its Indigenous connections (from $2,800). To explore on your own, base out of Grand Junction; this western Colorado adventure hub is a 30-minute drive from Colorado National Monument and surrounded by top-notch hiking and mountain-biking trails, campsites, and wineries. Riverfront accommodations ranging from RV sites and tiny homes to Airstreams can be found at Camp Eddy (from $50), just half a mile from Las Colonias Park, a 140-acre space along the river that’s popular with paddleboarders and kayakers. Stargazing nearly anywhere on the plateau is epic, but the Star Tower at Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch (from $475), scheduled to open this summer, is our choice for the annular eclipse, which this year falls on October 14. Located minutes from the namesake national monument in southwest Colorado—a designated International Dark Sky Park—the two-story building resembles Anasazi ruins, and its rock-exposed bedroom features a deck where you can watch the interstellar action." —J.M.


For the full list of travel award destinations, click here to view the article on
Click here to subscribe to