Cheers to Summer in Grand Junction with Five Happy Hour Hikes

Longer days, and cooler evenings make summer in Grand Junction the perfect time to enjoy a late-afternoon hike.

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (April 23, 2016) – Longer days, and cooler evenings make summer in Grand Junction the perfect time to enjoy a late-afternoon hike. Located in Colorado’s Wine Country, just a few hours west of Denver, Grand Junction sits amid one of the most beautiful outdoor playgrounds in the country. In a landscape dramatically different from anywhere else in Colorado, surrounded by rivers, canyons, mesas and mountains to explore, there’s no shortage of trails to seek out. Below are five local favorites, paired with the perfect post-hike libation.

Three Sisters Trail: The Three Sisters park, adjacent to the popular and more challengingTabeguache/Lunch Loop Trail system, is just minutes from downtown Grand Junction and offers 130-acres of gentle terrain that is perfect for hiking and biking for all levels, including families and kids. After an evening on the trails, head to Rockslide Brewery on Main Street for a perfectly chilled seasonal micro-brew including their summertime Honey Blonde Ale.

Palisade Rim Trail: The Palisade Rim trail is located in the Little Book Cliffs east of the town of Palisade. The trail is aptly named as it runs along the edge of the cliffs, and in many places offering rather steep views of the Grand Junction area from a vantage point some 1,000 feet above the valley floor. The Palisade Rim Trail is a moderate 8.5-mile hike, with lower mileage options, filled with great scenery, wildlife, rock art and wildflowers. Afterwards, head to downtown Palisade and sip hand-crafted cocktails using some of Colorado’s top spirits made on-site at Peach Street Distillers, the oldest locally-owned distillery in the state.

Crag Crest Trail: The largest flat top mountain in the world, the Grand Mesa rises a mile above the Colorado River Valley. With more than 300 lakes it becomes a wildflower mecca in mid-summer. Many hikers rate Crag Crest Trail their favorite Grand Mesa trek. The 10-mile circular trip winds through Colorado alpine forests to a ridge-top path with panoramic views of the San Juan Mountains, the Book Cliffs and even Utah's La Sal Mountains. The hike can be tailored to each group's ability and allotted time. Toast the sunset with a crisp lavender wine from St. Kathryn’s Cellars in Palisade. They now offer it in to-go pouches perfect for hikers to take along on the trail.

Devil’s Kitchen Trail: Located near the east entrance to the Colorado National Monument, just a short drive from downtown Grand Junction, this 1.2-mile gradual ascent trail takes hikers up 225 feet to an intriguing rock formation on the side of the canyon where tall boulders have enclosed a rock grotto. Following the hike, head downtown and relax with a wine flight at 626 on Rood, one of Grand Junction’s most celebrated restaurants, featuring dozens of Colorado wines, many of which are on tap.

Fruita Paleo Area Trail: Explore the loop trail through the 360-acre Fruita Paleontological Area which features interpretive signs describing the landscape as it existed 150 million years ago when dinosaurs and other Jurassic vertebrates roamed the area. This world-class fossil site contains a prolific record of Jurassic micro-vertebrates exposed in deeply dissected Morrison badlands. After your history lesson, head to Suds Brothers Brewery, Fruita’s premier​ brewery and restaurant located in the heart of Downtown Fruita. They offer an extensive menu traditional pub fare that can be paired with one of their handcrafted beers, brewed on site. 

About Grand Junction ( Grand Junction is Colorado’s Wine Country featuring 22 wineries with year-round tasting rooms, and boasting more than 275 days of sunshine annually which helps produce much of the state’s peach and fruit crop. It is the largest city in Western Colorado, located near the Colorado River 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 year-round golf, hiking and world-renowned biking. Among Grand Junction's spectacular red cliffs and winding canyons are the 11,000-foot Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat top mountain, the 7,500-foot Book Cliffs including the Wild Horse Area, and the 7,000-foot Colorado National Monument. Other attractions include three national scenic byways, rafting, hunting, fishing, extensive public art displays, museums, and a vibrant downtown. Grand Junction lies in the heart of the Colorado-Utah Dinosaur Diamond and the Grand Circle.