Escape to Grand Junction for the Winter: Skis Not Required

Grand Junction offers a wide variety of winter activities for the entire family

Snow is flying in Colorado, the first ski resorts are opening their lifts and winter clothes are being pulled out of closets and from under the bed. As fall quickly turns into winter, now is the perfect time to escape to Grand Junction, Colorado.

One of the main pastimes in the mountains is skiing and snowboarding, and while Powderhorn Mountain Resort revieves over 250 inches of snow each winter, Grand Junction is an excellent location to explore other activities as well — some that might be surprising in the winter months. Due to its location in the extreme western part of the state and its temperate weather, guests can enjoy many warm weather sports well into October and November and even later. Why not take an afternoon to play 9 holes at one of Grand Junction’s five golf courses? From the classic 9-hole Lincoln Park Golf Course to the dramatically scenic red rock backdrop of the Colorado National Monument at The Golf Club At Redlands Mesa, Grand Junction can indulge a yearning for greens into the winter.

For those not quite ready to put up their mountain bike, there are hundreds of miles of trails to explore by bike or by foot. Trek into Cactus Park, a popular route that leads to ancient petroglyphs and a waterfall in Big Dominguez Canyon; traverse canyons and plateaus in the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse area, where 80-120 wild horses roam. Mountain bikers can entertain themselves exploring Mack Ridge: six loops off of Kokopelli’s Trail, a 142-mile bike route that connects Grand Junction, CO with Moab, UT.

If family activities are on the agenda, Grand Junction has options to entertain visitors young and old. Strap on your skates (or rent a pair) at Spin City, one of Grand Junction’s newest attractions, which also features a bowling alley, laser tag facilities and an arcade. Families will enjoy visiting Bananas Fun Park, a Grand Junction favorite. The activities include a huge family arcade, laser tag and a laser maze. It’s a destination in itself and one that promises to entertain kids of all ages. Interested in “big kid” toys? Take time to visit the Gateway Canyons classic car collection, where more than 80 rare and iconic automobiles are on display daily. 

Of course, there are plenty of on-the-snow activities for winter enthusiasts. Skiers and snowboarders will revel in the best skiing in western Colorado at Powderhorn Mountain Resort, only 45 minutes from Grand Junction atop the Grand Mesa. With 1,600 acres of terrain and nearly 1,700 feet of vertical drop, Powderhorn is a gem of a destination for any snow lover or powder hound. Other snow-based activities near the resort include snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sledding and snow tubing for those who’d like to explore the mountain on other accoutrements. For cross-country and skate skiers, Mesa Lakes Resort is home to several interconnected trails (ranging from half-hour loops to four or five hour-loops) and can access the longer West Bench Trail.

Nestled near 11,000-foot Grand Mesa and the 7,500-foot Book Cliffs, Grand Junction  is the largest city in western Colorado. The area is known as Colorado's Wine Country, with nearly 30 vineyards and 21 wineries. At an altitude of 4,586 feet, warm summers and moderate spring, fall and winter seasons allow for year-round golf, hiking and biking. Boasting more than 275 days of sunshine annually, Grand Junction recently was named one of the eight sunniest cities in the United States by TourismReview. Among Grand Junction's spectacular red cliffs and winding canyons are the Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat top mountain, the Colorado National Monument, Book Cliff Wild Horse Area, two national scenic byways and five golf courses. Grand Junction lies in the heart of the Colorado-Utah Dinosaur Diamond.