Updated: Sep 28
Grand Junction is a city in Colorado's Western Slope region and it is known as the hub of Colorado's wine country. But the wine is probably not the only reason why you will want to visit Grand Junction.
Grand Junction also offers the visitor awe-inspiring natural beauty and the dramatic red rock landscape of the Colorado National Monument. Exhilarating outdoor adventures including hiking, camping or skiing on the Grand Mesa. Hundreds of miles of world-class mountain biking trails such as the Kokopelli Trail. Incredible whitewater rafting on the Colorado River. Stunning golf courses whose green fairways are right next to the craggy Redland desert.
The Colorado National Monument is often overlooked by visitors traveling to Denver, but it is one of the most scenic parks that is a lot less busy than other areas in Colorado.
Colorado National Monument preserves one of the grand landscapes of the American West. But this treasure is much more than a monument. Towering monoliths exist within a vast plateau and canyon panorama. You can experience sheer-walled, red rock canyons along the twists and turns of Rim Rock Drive, where you may spy bighorn sheep and soaring eagles.
Colorado National Monument's Rim Rock Drive is one of the most spectacular drives in the United States. Redrock canyons, crisp blue skies, and verdant green juniper splash fantastic views along the way for motorists and bicyclists. However, the road is challenging, narrow, and steep in some sections with sheer dropoffs. Special considerations must be made for road travel since motorists and bicyclists share the road. Use caution when on tight corners and hills.
For those wishing to extend there stay within the park the Saddlehorn Campground is located near the Saddlehorn Visitor Center, four miles from the west entrance and is the only established campground within the Monument.
For those more adventurous climbing is permitted within the park. The sandstone cliffs and spires of Colorado National Monument attract hundreds of climbers a year. Most routes in the park require "traditional" climbing techniques. The installation of new permanent hardware is prohibited. Please be respectful of this pristine environment, and adhere to the park's climbing regulations.
Entrance to the park is only $20 per vehicle and expect to spend at least four hours within it, even if you simply do the drive and some hikes.
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Grand Junction offers a lot of outdoor activities for adventure seekers, families and those who want to just take it all in slowly.
There are world-class mountain bike trails all around the city and bike rentals and guides are available to help you explore the area.
Likewise there are many outfitters to help you canoe or raft down the Colorado River here.
For those inspired by the landscape you may want to head over to the Dinosaur Journey Museum. Dinosaur Journey is a regional paleontological and geological museum that tells the story of the history of life in western Colorado and surrounding areas with real fossils, cast skeletons, and robotic reconstructions of dinosaurs. The hands-on, interactive museum includes over 15,000 fossil specimens in its collections, exhibits and displays featuring discoveries from the region, a viewable paleontology laboratory where dinosaur bones are prepared for display, an earthquake simulator, a dinosaur library reading, a sandbox for making your own dinosaur tracks, and a “quarry site” where kids can uncover actual Jurassic dinosaur bones.
You can also join in on a real dinosaur dig at the museum. The very popular dinosaur adventures include excavating, prospecting, hiking, rafting, touring, and prepping fossil specimens. They offer short hiking tours, half day tours as well as full day adventures.
For those who are seeking more culture and more modern history the Museum of the West is a great museum that explores what the west was really like. You get to “Ride” in a stagecoach, “fly” a 1958 Cessna from Walker Field, or gaze upon an ancient cup and ladle from the Anasazi. Study Ute and Fremont Rock Art, see the real firearms that outlaws used, sit in a one-room schoolhouse, and visit the Pastime saloon.
By now you are probably going to be parched and there is no real drinks at the Pastime Saloon. Many visitors come to Grand Junction because of the wineries and tasting rooms. With dozens of world-class wineries the area boasts some of the best wines in the US.
Along the winery route, from tasting room to tasting room you will find fresh fruit and vegetables along roadside vendors.
And just because you’re in wine country doesn’t mean there’s nothing else to drink. Grand Junction, Colorado has locally crafted beers and spirits to suit a variety of tastes. The state of Colorado is home to one of the country's most prolific craft brewing movements and the Grand Valley is no exception.
If you prefer hops to grapes, be sure to check out local Grand Junction breweries like Kannah Creek Brewing Co., Rockslide Brew Co., or Edgewater Brewery. In the nearby town of Palisade you will find Palisade Brewing Co., and in Fruita there is Copper Club Brewing Co. and Suds Brothers Brewery.
You'll find a selection of their own special beers and some hearty pub grub. In search of something stronger? Check out the Peach Street Distillery, who could stock a bar with all the different spirits they make. Try a taste of something local during your visit, and be sure to grab a six pack or a bottle to share with friends when you get home, too.
From wine, to fruit, to vegetables to craft brews, a lot of the ingredients are locally sourced and the restaurant ingredients in Grand Junction are no exception.
Extraordinary cuisine featuring local flavors and fresh ingredients can be found around every corner in Grand Junction. From modern fine dining to casual cafes and everything in between, Grand Junction has options to please every palate.
Grand Junction may not be on your radar when you plan a visit to Colorado, but it should. It offers an array of great outdoor activities, very good museums and unique vistas for photography.
As it is a little further from the popular mountain parks and is a secret among the Colorado populace, the cost of lodging, food and activities is great reduced.
If you are on a budget, this is excellent news for you as you can get a lot of exciting adventures in without breaking the bank. Below you will find links to Grand Junction Hotels at the best possible prices available, anywhere. Simply click on the selected areas to show hotels in that area offering amazing discounts. Instantly read reviews and show prices.
And remember, if you are planning on doing a lot of adventurous activities we highly recommend you grab travel insurance. World Nomads Travel Insurance is our recommended choice because it is not only affordable, but offers the best coverage – even if you do crazy things like bungee jumping or scaling a mesa of 1500 feet! You can get an online, instant quote by simply clicking here.
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