The landscape surrounding Grand Junction provides an ideal environment for year-round outdoor adventure. With plenty of sunshine and mild weather, almost any day is perfect for 18 holes of golf, an epic mountain bike ride, or a scenic hike in Colorado National Monument. But did you know Grand Junction has several lesser known activities worthy of checking off any bucket list. Here are five ideas for discovering some of Grand Junction's hidden gems.
1. Rock Climbing, Canyoneering, and Adventure Hiking
With granite, sandstone, big wall climbing, bouldering, and a bunch of different cracks and towers, the high desert area surrounding Grand Junction is a peak location for rock climbing, canyoneering, and adventure hiking. While not always recognized for these activities, areas such as Colorado National Monument, the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, Unaweep Canyon, and McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area are incredible areas for enjoying these sports. It is highly recommended to use a guide such as Colorado Alpine & Desert Adventures for a safe and enjoyable rock climbing or canyoneering experience.
Photo credit: Ted Stedman
2. Unique River & Lake Adventures
Looking to cool off on the water this summer? Grand Junction has you covered with a variety of activities, two of which are not found anywhere else in Colorado! Jet Boat Colorado, the only jet boat in the state, takes guests on either a mild, scenic tour or wet, wild adventure down the Colorado River! Another unique water sport in the Grand Junction area is offered at Imondi Wake Zone, set to open in summer 2018. Located on a 30-acre lake near Fruita, this will be Colorado's first ever cable wakeboarding park. For those searching for a more serene alpine experience, head up to Grand Mesa where over 300 lakes are readily accessible for fishing, stand up paddle boarding (SUP), canoeing. For even more ideas, check out our Beat the Summer Heat with Water Activities page.
3. Dinosaur Museum, Trails, and Digs
For a glimpse into life during the Jurassic period, visit Dinosaur Journey Museum to see real dinosaur bones being studied in the paleontology lab. Take a hike on any of the three dinosaur trails in the Grand Junction area where 140 million year old dinosaur bones can still be found in their natural state in the wild. The Trail Through Time, Riggs Hill, and Dinosaur Hill are all have well maintained trails where people can enjoy a relatively easy 1 to 1.5 mile hike.
4. Tour The Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range
The Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range, located just eight miles northeast of Grand Junction, is one of only three ranges in the United States designated to protect and manage wild horses on public lands. Approximately 80 to 130 wild horses roam the 36,000 acres of rugged canyons and plateaus. Visitors can access the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range with either a 4-wheel drive vehicle or by horseback. Make sure to take maps or a GPS, as this is a very vast, remote area that is not well-traveled. For a guided experience, Rimrock Adventures offers trips to see the wild horses; these rides typically last 2-4 hours. In addition to viewing wild horses, the ride also offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy beautiful scenery and the chance to see other desert wildlife.
5. Agritourism in Action
Grand Junction is a perfect base camp for an agritourism adventure. Dig in and get your hands dirty at Sage Creations Organic Lavender Farm. Not only does the farm offer a “u-pick” experience, but they also educate visitors on the ins and outs of growing their own lavender. Several orchards also offer pick your own experiences, including Fruit Basket Orchards, Green Barn Fruit Company, B2 Orchards Tree Farm, Palisade Peach Ranch, and Bolton’s Orchards & Farm Market. Nothing beats biting into a juicy peach picked straight off the tree! Please call orchards in advance to confirm availability. For farm animal lovers, check out SunCrest Orchard Alpacas, where visitors can get up close and personal with the animals, as well as learn about the process of transforming their wool into fiber and yarn at the on-site mini mill.