Travel Like A Local In Grand Junction

The Grand Junction area is full of outdoor wonders and adrenaline-pumping adventures. The area is known for its epic hiking and biking trails, challenging OHV terrain, wild horses, and craft beverages customized to highlight the area’s abundant orchards. With a number of people moving to Grand Junction, the topic of conversation is often, “what do the locals love to do?” Read on to get a taste of how we roll… 

Rock Crawl Through the Toughest Trails

Photo by Adrenaline Driven Adventure Company 

 

Surrounded by over one million acres of public lands, the Grand Junction area is a haven for anyone who likes to kick up dirt. Trailheads like the North Fruita Desert and Grand Junction OHV Area provide mile after mile of epic off-roading in every direction. For intense rock crawling adventure, 21 Road and the Billings Canyon Jeep trail is a must. Both trails navigate through tight turns, steep ascents, and exhilarating climbs over daunting boulders. Billings Canyon trail is rated a 9 out of 10 for jeeping. While these classic Grand Junction routes are incredibly fun, you'll need 35-inch tires and a winch to conquer most of these trails. Don't have your own off-road vehicles? You can rent one from Perri’s Power Sports or MotoDiscovery, or go on a guided tour with Adrenaline Driven Adventure Company.

Roam with Wild Horses

 
 
 
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Tucked into the winding canyons behind the Book Cliffs, the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Area is a rugged preserve that covers over 36,000 acres. Over 100 wild horses roam the open canyons in small bands of up to ten. It's one of three wild horse sanctuaries left in the country. Trails zig-zag through the canyon, and since the area sees hikers throughout the year, many of the horses aren't shy of people. This gives you an even better chance for spotting majestic mustangs – a rare experience that not many have the chance to see.

The National Park You’ve Never Heard Of

 
 
 
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It’s called the Colorado National Monument, but everyone who visits it tends to ask the same question, “why isn’t this place a national park?!” We promise that you have never seen such striking landscapes. Seeing millions of years of the Earth’s history in plain view in the exposed canyons provides a much-needed perspective. On top of that, being able to experience the starry night sky within a few minutes' drive from Downtown Grand Junction is truly a privilege.

Walk Among Dino Bones

 
 
 
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There aren’t many places left where you can still see dinosaur bones in the Earth where they’ve been for the last 65 million years. In Grand Junction, you can get closer to dinosaur history than you ever have before. Venture down the Trail Through Time, the Fruita Paleontological Area, or Dinosaur and Riggs Hill to see ancient bones and learn more about the giant creatures that once roamed the landscapes of Western Colorado. Be sure to visit the Dinosaur Journey Museum to get even closer to history. You can see complete skeleton fossils of dinos like Velociraptors, interactive displays, and a working paleontology lab! In the summers, you can even join an active expedition to help search for dinosaur bones. You might unearth the next significant discovery!

Snowshoe across the World's Largest Flat-Top Mountain

 
 
 
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Winter comes late in Grand Junction, due to the area being high desert. But once it does snow, you’ll find the locals playing on top of the world’s largest flat-top mountain.

Snowshoers can hike anywhere cross-country skiers can go, including the groomed Grand Mesa Nordic Council trails, as long as snowshoers walk next to the groomed tracks. If you need a pair of snowshoes for this adventure, rest assured Grand Junction’s Board & Buckle has you covered with rental equipment. Check out a full list of places to rent here. For those who choose to ski or snowboard, Powderhorn Mountain Resort is an affordable ski destination boasting 250” of pow, on average. Ice fishing more your style? With 300 lakes on top of the Mesa, you’ll understand why this is an anglers paradise.

Sip on Crafted Goodness

 
 
 
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By now you have earned your apres drink and one of the favorite hang-outs is Highlands Distillery, known for expertly crafted beverages. Highlands Distillery makes up their own unique blend of vodka and a 12 Gin - made with juniper and 11 other secret botanicals. The tasting room mixes up drinks designed by their head distiller, like the Provence Lemon Cooler. This drink is made with vodka, lemon juice, muddled blackberries, homemade lavender syrup from Belli Fiori Lavender Farm, and topped off with a lavender garnish – it’s sure to cool you down after your adrenalin-filled adventure. Highlands is also known for their seasonal concoctions, so no matter what season, they are mixing in the area’s homegrown ingredients, including the lavender farm which is right next door.

Now that you have worked up an appetite, check out these popular dining spots. Be sure to stroll through downtown afterward to check out 100 high-end sculptures that frame the wide sidewalks of Grand Junction’s thriving downtown, all part of the award-winning Art on the Corner program.

Check out more ways to experience Grand Junction in the Grand Junction Official Visitor Guide. You’ll wonder why you haven’t visited sooner!