Grand Junction is a popular family-friendly playground all year long. From hiking in Colorado National Monument to tobogganing down an old ski hill, there is a variety of both fair-weather activities and snow-packed fun for the kiddos and the adults.
Grease up the saucers and throw on your bibs because Grand Junction offers some of the best sledding spots in Colorado. Just 45 minutes from Downtown Grand Junction sits the world’s largest flat-top mountain, the Grand Mesa. A few miles beyond Powderhorn Mountain Resort, you'll find the Old Mesa Ski Hill. Locals refer to this as Old Powderhorn because that’s exactly what it is. In 1950, there were two rope tows and ski runs that thousands of skiers enjoyed until nearby Powderhorn opened. The ski traffic went to Powderhorn, but the snowy hill remains and is now a popular sledding area.
Downtown Grand Junction
After a day of playing in the snow, warm up with hot cocoa from one of Downtown’s delicious coffee shops and wander the sculpture-lined sidewalks. As part of Art on the Corner, there are over 115 sculptures and murals in Downtown Grand Junction. Combine the art with the lights that are strung through the trees and Downtown Grand Junction becomes a magical winter wonderland. With some of the sculptures being interactive, the kiddos are sure to get all their energy out - after all, Downtown is a designated city park. While they play with the art, stop into some of the Downtown shops. From boutique shops and outdoor retail to antique stores and art galleries, there is a wide variety of products to peruse! Also, there are plenty of cafes, coffee shops and wine tasting rooms to keep you nourished and quenched.
Even if you don’t know how to skate, we have all imagined skidding across an alpine lake under bluebird skies. Well stop dreaming, and make it happen! At 11,000 feet, the Grand Mesa’s 300 lakes provide pristine ice-skating conditions. The snow melts during the day and then at night it freezes, creating a smooth layer of ice that is just waiting to be skated on. Locals pitch in and shovel, so it’s a true team sport. If you prefer to skate closer to Grand Junction, try out Mack Mesa Lake or Connected Lakes to enjoy a sunny day on the blades. Or if you’d rather be indoors, stop by River City Sportsplex, in Grand Junction, to carve it up in the rink. Check out their Cosmic Skating, where night skating includes a dark rink, light show, music and fun...all while jiving out on the ice.
Don’t let the snow stop your family from hiking some of your favorite Grand Mesa hikes. Strap on the snowshoes and hit the trails. The Grand Mesa Nordic Council grooms cross-country ski trails all winter long, which makes for some awesome snowshoe routes. Just remember to walk next to and not on the groomed trails. You can also veer off the beaten path and explore some of the more remote areas of the Grand Mesa, like South Mesa Lake and Lost Lake.
For an exciting day of fishing, take the kiddos to one of the 300 lakes on the Grand Mesa. Some of the most popular ice fishing spots include Island Lake and Sunset Lake. Bait up the poles, sit back and wait for a hungry trout to come take a bite. Don’t forget to make sure your fishing license is up to date before you go!
CNM Winter Hiking
One of the best parts of Grand Junction in the winter is the easy access to snow-covered mountains on the Grand Mesa, and then only 45 minutes away, you can be soaking up the sun in weather that is 20 degrees warmer. Grand Junction rarely sees snow last for more than a few days. This makes for an awesome day of trekking in the Colorado National Monument, which is known for its accessible trails and majestic views. For an easy hike that kids and adults love, try out the Canyon Rim Trail. You will see epic views of the Colorado National Monument's vast landscape and spires. Also, a quick stop along Rim Rock Drive, as you approach the top of the Monument, is Upper Ute Canyon View - walk to the left of the "mummy" and yell cowabunga. We promise you'll be laughing hysterically when you hear the response.