While most of the area west of 105 is blanketed in snow for the duration of winter, there are areas and towns where temperatures stay just high enough to not suffer unrelenting subzero temperatures and snow cover. Grand Junction is one of those towns.
Sitting in between mountains and high dessert, Grand Junction differs from many other parts of the state in that it has a slew of year-round offerings. From hiking to wine tastings, golf and great food, Grand Junction is well positioned for any type of adventure you are searching for.
Hike or Ski
It isn’t that Grand Junction isn’t a winter destination, it’s just that being in a high-desert area, more than one season can be supported at any one time. The incredible Colorado National Monument and Grand Mesa are good examples. Both are a short drive from downtown and offer activities from hiking to downhill skiing.
For a true winter experience take your skis or snowshoes to Grand Mesa (the largest flat top mesa in the world no less) and snowshoe, cross country ski, or downhill ski at Powderhorn Mountain Resort. The modestly-sized resort gets an average of 250 inches of powder each winter and claims to have best tree-skiing in the Rockies. Then there are the affordable tickets and lift lines are shorter than at the bigger resorts.
For something less wintery head the opposite direction to Colorado National Monument. While there may well be snow on the ground (but maybe not, call ahead to check), there will definitely be times and trails that require nothing more than a sturdy pair of hiking boots. Window Rock Trail is great for a stroll. Starting at Saddlehorn campground (which is open year round if you like the idea of some winter camping) it is just 0.25 miles one way and makes its way through pinyon-juniper woodland to overlook with excellent views of Monument and Wedding Canyons.
Par for the Courses
If you happen to like gentle walks and have a thing for funny trousers, the Grand Junction area has several golf courses that stay open throughout winter as long as there isn't any snow on the ground.
For a full round there are at least three courses: Chipeta Golf Course is a premier, 18-hole, executive course located five miles south of downtown Grand Junction; the Golf Club at Redlands Mesa (above) is Grand Junction's newest golf course and was ranked the #1 public golf course in Colorado in 2017 by Golfweek; and Tiara Rado Golf Course which is at the base of the Colorado National Monument. Right in the middle of town is Lincoln Parks nine-hole course. It is the oldest operating golf course on the Western Slope and was built in 1926.
To get into the spirit of the season, take a stroll around Grand Junction’s picturesque and very walkable downtown. Lined with trees laden with festive lights, downtown is also home to over 100 sculptures as well as boutiques and even craft studios offering classes in candle making, Pinterest crafts and pottery among others.
Also downtown, there are plenty of great places to eat and drink, including a few breweries and even a few wine tasting rooms.
Speaking of wine, Grand Junction sits right in the middle of Colorado wine country with numerous vineyards and tasting rooms within a short drive in several directions. The closest to downtown is Two Rivers Winery and Chateau. Practically backing onto National Monument, the winery is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
You can read more about Grand Junction in the spring 2019 issue of West of 105 magazine by visiting westof105.com/magazine
Photos: Visit Grand Junction