Grand Junction Offers Visitors Unexpected Adventure and Bounty on the Western Slope of Colorado
New tours, trails, dining, and lodging announced for summer 2021
Grand Junction, Colo. (April 12, 2021) - Grand Junction, Colo., is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise that affords a wide variety of experiences for visitors. This summer, in addition to a range of adventures including new biking trails and parks, tours and excursions, and water-based activities, the area also boasts many new food and beverage offerings and a recently opened hotel. The area’s popular events and festivals focused around The Grand Valley’s bountiful harvest, live music and outdoor activities are also back for the summer season.
After a year of social distancing and limited opportunities to see loved ones, things are opening up again, and Grand Junction is an idyllic location for travelers of all kinds to get back to the activities they enjoy most and reconnect with friends and family.
Biking Trails and Parks
- Palisade Plunge to Open in Summer 2021: Opening in summer 2021, the much-anticipated Palisade Plunge is set to be one of the longest singletrack downhill mountain bike trails in the U.S. A $3.2M investment nearly 10 years in the making, the 32-mile trail starts at the top of Colorado’s Grand Mesa and descends 6,000 feet in elevation to the town of Palisade near Grand Junction.
- New Bike Parks at Dos Rios and Hotel Maverick: Adjacent to the new Hotel Maverick, in the middle of the Colorado Mesa University campus, is a brand new, unconventional bike park. The new venue has been developed to be a continuous loop and can be ridden without pedaling. Bikers of all types are welcome at the new park. Another new offering for cyclists is Dos Rios Bike Playground, located in close proximity to the Colorado Riverfront Trail. The Playground features four different tracks for riders of all ages and abilities.
- INSIDER TIP: From mountain biking on Fruita’s Kokopelli Trail and Grand Junction’s Lunch Loops purpose-built singletrack, to road biking along the winding roads of Colorado National Monument and cruising on the 30-mile Riverfront Trail to connect it all, the Grand Junction area is a secret cycling mecca.
Tours and Outdoor Experiences
- New Bonsai Designs Zipline to Open Fall 2021: While Bonsai is known throughout the continent and beyond for creating the wildest designs in the aerial adventure industry, they are excited to bring what they believe is some of their best work back to their home in Colorado’s Grand Valley. Grand Junction’s new zipline across the Colorado River will launch from Eagle Rim Park and land at the Butterfly Lake in Las Colonias Park. When the tower lights up at night, folks won’t be able to decide whether it’s art or architecture.
- Historic Walking Tours with Historian Zebulon Miracle: Learn about the history of Grand Junction from a local expert. Zebulon Miracle, formerly of the Museums of Western Colorado and Gateway Canyons, has extensive knowledge of the history of Grand Junction as well as the natural history of the area and offers a variety of walking tours in the area covering topics from historic architecture and haunted history, to native peoples, landscapes and geology.
- RZR Wine Tours with Adrenaline Driven Adventures: Adrenaline’s professional drivers will guide guests through the Grand Junction area’s finest wineries, breweries, distilleries and orchards on a fleet of RZR UTVs. Learn about the wine making process, taste local libations and enjoy music in the Colorado orchards.
- INSIDER TIP: Nearly 76 percent of the land in Mesa County is public land, equating to nearly 1.8 million acres, the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined. The connectivity of the trail network is vast, and many are mixed use, which includes OHV travel, providing for miles of UTV-accessible terrain without the crowds. Hike or horseback ride to observe wild Mustangs among picturesque plateaus and rock canyons at the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Area.
- Family Fun at Las Colonias Park: Enjoy paddleboarding, kayaking, tubing or wading along the Colorado River at the newly open Riverfront at Las Colonias Park. In the heart of Grand Junction, people of all ages are enjoying paddleboarding and kayaking at the Butterfly Lake. The 130-acre park is the latest development in the “string of pearls,” connecting points of the Colorado River with parks in the Grand Junction area along the Colorado Riverfront Trail.
- GJ SUP’s new offerings on Butterfly Lake: GJ SUP has enhanced its offerings for standup paddle boarding by adding private and public lessons at Butterfly Lake in Las Colonias Park. They have also recently expanded services to support mountain bike rentals and shuttles.
- INSIDER TIP: "Grand Junction’s" name is derived from the proximity to the Colorado and Gunnison rivers. The city sits right at the confluence of these two significant riverways. Fruita’s Imondi Wake Zone is a great way to enjoy wakeboarding, kneeboarding and more, using cable systems instead of a boat. The Grand Mesa is bursting with more than 300 lakes, providing limitless fishing and kayaking in a pristine alpine environment. Opportunities for river rafting, floating, windsurfing and other water activities are also prevalent in the area.
- New Hotel Maverick: Located on the breathtaking campus of Colorado Mesa University, Hotel Maverick is a scenic destination that fosters the spirit of curiosity. This unique Colorado locale immerses guests in experiences that feed their wanderlust, offering an enriching stay just minutes away from all things CMU and Grand Junction. The hotel offers complimentary cruiser bikes for guests, a pump park, disc golf, is pet-friendly and boasts enormous grounds to wander.
- COMING SOON - El Jet’s Cantina + Sky Outpost at Dos Rios: El Jet’s Cantina® + Sky Outpost® "Born in Baja" (coming in 2022), will be a multi-acre indoor/outdoor cantina and lodging development that will also offer camping in tiny homes, Airstreams and campsites. The facility is set to be located right on the Colorado River in close proximity to downtown Grand Junction.
- INSIDER TIP: Stay at Two Rivers Winery & Chateau, an award-winning estate winery with incredible access to outdoor adventure. A glass of wine on the patio with breathtaking views or a stroll through the vineyard is the perfect way to watch the sunset in Grand Junction.
Drinking and Dining Offerings
- Bin 707 and Sister Restaurants: James Beard Award semi-finalist, Chef Josh Nierenberg, recently refreshed the look and menu at his lauded restaurant, Bin 707, and also launched tasty, fast-casual options nearby including Taco Party and Bin Burger. This summer, they have added additional outdoor patio seating in their “Pandemic Parklet.”
- Devil's Kitchen: Recently opened on top of the Hotel Maverick, this rooftop restaurant has regionally inspired craft cocktails and menu options; and is upscale, yet approachable with big views of the valley. Enjoy sharable plates, sandwiches and salads from a menu of locally sourced ingredients. Watch the sunset with a local libation.
- Hog & The Hen: This deli, specialty bodega and liquor store recently opened on Main Street. For those looking for a DIY cheese and charcuterie plate for a night in, or a top-notch deli sub for a picnic while exploring Colorado National Monument, this is the spot. Hog & Hen also features lots of local purveyors of baked goods, snacks and local craft beverages.
- Ciara’s Cantina: The newest bar and dining establishment in downtown Grand Junction, Ciara’s offers a wide range of cocktails, tequilas, mezcals and beers to sip while soaking in the sun on the biggest patio in downtown Grand Junction, complete with fire pit bars for the cool evenings. Street tacos, burritos and smothered “Borracho Fries” are tasty menu staples.
- INSIDER TIP: In addition to being known as Colorado’s wine country, Grand Junction is home to a booming beer scene that features a swath of locally crafted brews to suit a variety of tastes. Ramblebine Brewery is new to the scene with great beers in a sleek new tasting room in downtown Grand Junction.
The Return of Events in 2021
- Wild Horse Gravel, May 15: Back for 2021, Wild Horse Gravel showcases the unique high desertscape of the Western Slope. Hosted on the luxury High Lonesome Ranch, bike riders will be treated to a country cook-out, campfire, cabins, camping – or glamping – and the best local music. In short, there will be a Colorado country party to accompany the ride.
- Junior College Baseball World Series, May 29-June 5: For more than 60 years, Grand Junction hosted the Junior College Baseball World Series (JUCO), and now this summer, it returns. The tournament consistently draws young talent and is an exciting way to enjoy America’s favorite pastime.
- Country Jam Returns to Jam Ranch, June 24-26: Country music stars including Luke Combs, Toby Keith, Carrie Underwood, Ashley McBryde, Kip Moore and Hardy will play at this summertime favorite music festival.
- 2021 USA BMX Grand Mesa Nationals, June 25-27: Held ad Grand Valley BMX, this three-day competition will feature some of the top BMX riders in the country.
- Celebrating the Harvest: A number of festivals and events celebrate the bountiful agriculture of the Grand Valley. The Grand Junction "Market on Main" Farmer's Market is slated to return Thursdays from June 24 - September 29. Fields of lavender bloom in the area each summer before being harvested for use in culinary and medicinal applications, as well as aromatherapy. The Lavender Festival Returns to the Grand Junction Area June 25-27. Palisade is famous for its peach orchards, and the annual Palisade Peach Festival to be held August 19-21 is an excellent way to taste the bounty. As Colorado’s wine country, the area features more than 30 wineries and tasting rooms. Colorado Mountain Winefest returns September 18-19 for its 30th anniversary.
- The Colorado National Monument: Located just six miles from downtown Grand Junction, The Colorado National Monument is a breathtaking must-see while visiting the Western Slope and a lesser-known gem in the park system. Panoramic views of towering red rock spires are one of the many reasons why Colorado National Monument is a favorite among travelers in search of Colorado’s beautiful destinations. Drive or bike across the National Monument’s Rim Rock Drive to enjoy 20,000 acres of vibrant reddish sandstone canyons and mesas rising above the Colorado River. Numerous hiking trails like Serpents Trail are accessible directly from Rim Rock Drive.
- The Grand Mesa: Among Grand Junction's spectacular red cliffs and winding canyons, visitors will see the 11,000-foot Grand Mesa, the world’s largest flat-top mountain, which boasts more than 300 lakes. Experience varied terrains by traversing Highway 65 (the Grand Mesa National Scenic and Historic Byway). At 350,000 acres, the Mesa is also graced with deep forests of aspens set against Colorado pine, spruce and fir, affording great locales for camping, fishing, ATVing and more. For hiking enthusiasts, Crag Crest Trail offers the perfect high alpine hike atop the spine of the Mesa.
- The World’s Second Largest Concentration of Arches: The northern end of western Colorado’s Uncompahgre Plateau comes alive with remote canyons that slice through colorful sandstone layers to form cliffs, pinnacles, alcoves and—most impressively—arches. Here lies a collection of 35 natural arches, including eight major arches, tucked away in Rattlesnake Canyon. These soaring spans, protected in the 123,400-acre McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, form the world’s second largest concentration of arches.
For additional information about Grand Junction and planning a summer trip, visit www.visitgrandjunction.com.
About Grand Junction: Grand Junction is the largest city in Western Colorado, located at the junction of the Gunnison and Colorado Rivers, between Salt Lake City and Denver on Interstate 70. At an altitude of 4,586 feet, warm summers and moderate spring, fall and winter seasons allow for incredible year-round outdoor recreation opportunities. Among Grand Junction's spectacular red cliffs and winding canyons are the 11,000-foot Grand Mesa and the breathtaking 7,000-foot Colorado National Monument. Surrounded by an abundance of public lands – in fact, over 76 percent of the County is public land, Grand Junction is also a mecca for hunting, fishing, dirt bike and ATV riding. Other attractions include three national scenic byways, rafting, boating, golfing skiing, extensive public art displays, museums, 30 nearby wineries and tasting rooms, and a vibrant downtown featuring creative culinary options, shopping, Grand Junction Convention Center and the Avalon Theatre. Visit Grand Junction is a Department of the City of Grand Junction and is the official Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) for the region. For additional information, visit www.visitgrandjunction.com.