Grand Junction doesn’t experience a mud season thanks to its high desert terrain and warm temperatures during spring, which literally begins in March. You can still explore the Grand Junction area and not worry about leaping over mud puddles.
What is Mud Season?
Everyone knows there are four seasons and that winter turns to spring, but for most of Colorado there is a fifth season – mud season. At the beginning of spring, the heavy winter snowpack begins to melt away causing country roads and hiking trails to become muddy. The mud comes from a combination of snow and ice melting, combined with early spring showers. The moisture from the snow melt and the rain can’t be absorbed quick enough by the thawing ground, which results in muddy conditions making activities like hiking and trail running a bit trickier than usual.
Luckily, Grand Junction is known for being a different side of Colorado. Due to the high desert climate, temperatures in March begin rising toward 60 degrees, with April averaging high 60’s and May in the low 70’s. Evening temperatures do not drop below freezing. This makes for great adventures year-round in Grand Junction – especially while the rest of the state is thawing out during mud season!
Make the Most Out of Spring in Colorado
Visiting Colorado during mud season doesn’t necessarily mean facing muck and sludge. Sure, if you head to the Rocky Mountains where there is an abundance of snow in winter and rain in spring, you can expect muddy terrain in May. But some regions of the state, like Grand Junction, experience a considerably drier spring season.
Why doesn’t Grand Junction have a mud season? It all comes down to location and climate. Grand Junction is located on high desert land, giving it a semi-arid climate and an average of 242 sunny days per year, this explains why Grand Junction’s “mud season” is not as apparent compared to other parts of the state.
Colorado Spring Activities Around Grand Junction
Many of Grand Junction’s attractions can be enjoyed year-round. Locals and guests hang out in Downtown Grand Junction while viewing over 115 sculptures and murals that line the sidewalks while enjoying cafes, boutique shopping and fun DIY shops like candlemaking, pottery and painting. For the outdoor adventurist, recreating outside includes hiking, biking, OHV’ing, water sports and climbing. Spring 2023 is experiencing higher-than-normal water levels on the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers, requiring expert experience and safety equipment to navigate appropriately and safely. For up-to-date river information, check out the City of Grand Junction Facebook page. Here are a few other popular activities to do around Grand Junction that truly shine in springtime.
Visit Colorado’s Fruit Capital
Grand Junction is known for its rich, fertile soil that provides a perfect environment for growing all types of fruit, like peaches, cherries, apples, apricots, and grapes. This has also made it the ideal spot for crafting wine - the Grand Junction area has over thirty wineries and tasting rooms, each with its own character and vibe.
There are many ways to experience Grand Junction’s wine scene. On a clear spring day, rent an e-bike from Palisade Cycle & Shuttle and cruise from one renowned winery to another. Sipping on a glass of local wine, while being surrounded by nature and enjoying the fresh spring air, creates a magical experience. The stunning vistas along the ride add to your day’s adventure. For a more unique experience, sign up for a horse-drawn carriage wine tour that takes you along country roads to a variety of vineyards and wineries.
Explore the Colorado National Monument
Open year-round, the Colorado National Monument is a great springtime destination, especially for those that love outdoor adventure. Known for its deep canyons and majestic red rock formations, the Monument has miles of scenic hiking trails that immerse you in its unique landscape.
Trails are dry while the melting snow flows down the canyon walls creating waterfalls and natural pools alongside the 43 miles of hiking trails. The No Thoroughfare Canyon trail leads you through sandstone formations and is particularly well-known for its refreshing springtime water features. Whether you’re on foot, road bike, or even horseback, the Colorado National Monument is well worth exploring this spring.
Enjoy the Springtime Blossoms and Blooms
As winter fades to spring, a vibrant color palette shines through Grand Junction’s landscapes in the form of blossoms and blooms. Fruit orchards that dot the countryside around Grand Junction start to bud in April and finish flowering by early May. The deep pink-colored peach blossoms and the vibrant greens contrast perfectly with the light pink of the apple tree blossoms, transforming local orchards into stunning backdrops for photos. Don’t fret if you miss the blossoms, the fruit begins to grow in early June and the reward is worth the wait.
Springtime is also when cacti and many other species of wildflowers start to bloom and continue to display vibrant colors throughout the summer. On a hike, look for white primrose petals and purple gilia blossoms. If you plan to visit a little bit later in the season, prickly pear and other types of cacti erupt into beautiful yellow, pink and red flowers that decorate the trail, making your hiking experience colorful and interesting. You can also stop by the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens in Grand Junction to explore an even wider variety of local and exotic plant species.
Springtime in Grand Junction
Don’t let Colorado’s mud season stop you from planning a post-winter vacation in Grand Junction. Spring is a great time to visit the area, particularly if you’re looking to explore unique landscapes without crowds and no mud puddles. For more travel ideas and help planning your visit to Grand Junction, Colorado, check out the Official Grand Junction Visitor Guide.