Here’s to a New Year’s resolution you can actually keep! Get out and enjoy something new this year. Resolve yourself to knock these 10 quintessential Colorado experiences off your bucket list in 2019! Whether you’re a tourist or a local, you won’t want to miss out on these one-of-a-kind moments. This list has everything New Year’s resolution dreams are made of - travel, adventure and relaxation.
1. Try Something New at Colorado National Monument
Birders, hikers, climbers, cyclists, geologists, photographers, and outdoor-enthusiasts need to add the Colorado National Monument to their bucket list. The stunning landscape is part of the Colorado Plateau and offers a memorable experience for explorers of all ages. View the massive rock formations dating back hundreds of millions of years, motor along the historic 23-mile Rim Rock Drive, look for wildlife such as mule deer, big horn sheep, and red-tailed hawks or hike through numerous canyons – some plunging 500 feet!
2. Attend Colorado’s Only Lavender Festival
Walk through fields of lavender with the mountains as your backdrop at Colorado’s only lavender festival. The Annual Lavender Festival in Palisade, Colorado allows attendees to tour lavender fields, attend workshops, sample lavender infused treats and shop from a variety of vendors and artisans. This one of a kind festival takes place every July and is a must-do for Colorado locals and visitors alike!
3. Surround Yourself with Peaches in Palisade
If you haven’t tried a mouth-watering Palisade peach, this is the year to do so. Grand Valley’s climate creates the perfect conditions for growing unrivaled large, sweet and juicy peaches. For a full Palisade peach experience, check out the Palisade Peach Festival. Taking place in mid-August, this weekend festival boasts fresh peaches and produce, chef demos, activities, music, contests, and more.
4. Experience the Wonder of the Book Cliffs
Spanning from Colorado to Utah, the Book Cliffs are the longest continuous escarpment on Earth. Hiking Grand Junction’s looming and beautiful backdrop is certainly one for the bucket list. As one of the more popular Book Cliffs hikes, Mount Garfield offers a challenging climb with a 2,000 foot elevation gain over just two miles. This demanding hike is well-worth the views, and you may even see wild horses grazing on your trek to the top. If you’ve already accomplished this feat, try to reach the summit at sunrise for a dazzling new perspective.
5. Journey the Grand Junction to Moab Trail
Take your gravel grinding to the next level by journeying the Grand Junction-Moab Trail this year. Make your plans now, because the approximate 155-mile trail is only accessible two months of the year, May and October, when conditions are ideal and the huts are reserved months in advance. The trail passes through stunning sites of the west, offering views of Unaweep Canyon, Paradox Valley and more.
6. Wander into Grand Mesa National Forest
Grand Mesa National Forest is home to more than 300 lakes all sprinkled across the largest flat-top mountain in the world. Whether you prefer camping, hiking, fishing, mountain biking or cross-country skiing, Grand Mesa has an abundance of trails and lakes to explore all year long. For a short but rewarding hike to vibrant, emerald waters teeming with large trout, consider the Lost Lake Trail. And when snow starts to fall, plan your backcountry skiing experience – the ungroomed West Bench Trail travels through snow-covered meadows, aspens and spruce.
7. Plan a Getaway to Colorado’s Lesser-Known National Park
Whether you’re residing in Grand Junction or on vacation, you’ll want to explore the natural beauty of its surrounding areas. Consider a day trip to one of Colorado’s more obscure national parks less than two hours from Grand Junction. Named “Black Canyon” because parts of the gorge only see a few minutes of sunlight each day, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is defined by some of the steepest canyons in the world. The Gunnison River is surrounded by imposing cliffs and craggy spires. There are plenty of activities from vigorous kayaking to hiking to scenic drives, so you have a variety of options that will satisfy your adventurous spirit.
8. Explore Grand Junction’s Vibrant Downtown
As Western Colorado’s largest city, Grand Junction has a lively downtown with boutique shopping for one-of-a-kind finds, farm to table dining, hip entertainment, and so much more. Make it one of your goals to explore a new part of this very walkable and scenic downtown area, whether it be eating at a new, trendy restaurant, visiting a museum or viewing over 100 sculptures along Art on the Corner, now is the perfect time. A few notable places to consider are the Museum of the West, Western Colorado Botanical Gardens and Avalon Theatre. And don’t forget sip on a few craft beverages, the brews and wines are award-winning around here.
9. Ski or Mountain Bike at Powderhorn Mountain Resort
Did you know the Powderhorn Mountain Resort is open all year long? When ski season comes to an end, the Powderhorn Bike Park opens for the summer. No matter your skill level, the resort features trails ranging from novice to difficult, so you’ll find what you’re looking for. Take a lesson for skiing, snowboarding or mountain biking if you’re new to the sport or just want to improve your technique. Powderhorn is a favorite for its short lift lines, family-friendly atmosphere, affordability and amazing views.
10. Become Immersed in Colorado’s Wine Country
The Grand Valley is Colorado’s wine country, with the state’s largest concentration of vineyards and wineries. Take a wine tour and sample award-winning Colorado wines at vineyards such as Two Rivers Winery and Grande River Vineyards. To truly immerse yourself in Colorado’s wine culture, make sure you have tickets to the Colorado Mountain Winefest which takes place every September in Palisade. USA Today awarded it best wine festival in the country – it sells out so plan ahead!
With ten new ideas to inspire your bucket list, start planning your epic adventure to Grand Junction. Choose from a variety of lodging options, get further inspired with things to do and start your 2019 off with a bang!