October 17, 2017

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Grand Junction, Colorado

Known as Colorado’s Wine Country, Grand Junction is located in the Grand Valley along Colorado’s Western Slope. It is surrounded to the north by weathered Bookcliff rock formations that cut across the skyline.

To the south, lies Grand Mesa, the world’s largest flat-topped mountain and along the western corridor, stand the majestic canyons and monoliths of Colorado National Monument.

Grand Junction is also known as dinosaur country, and features a number of hikes, museums and digs, where you can step thousands of years back in time.  In fact, many of the first dinosaur fossils were found in Western Colorado near Grand Junction, including the first Stegosaurus ever found.

The area’s first human inhabitants were a little-known aboriginal civilization who moved into the area about 200 A.D.  Around 1400, the first groups of Ute Indians moved into the area and stayed until forced onto reservations in 1881.  The Utes were scarcely gone when homesteaders, ranchers and town builders made their way to the Western Slope.

These early settlers found the area ideal for growing fruit and grapes, and by 1899, Colorado boasted a grape harvest of 586,300 pounds and production of 1,744 gallons of wine. Prohibition greatly impacted the area and the wine industry did not fully recover until the late 1960’s. By 1990 the industry had come into its own and the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board was founded.  Today, Grand Junction and its surrounding communities are home to almost half of all the wineries and vineyards in Colorado.  The Grand Junction area is also well known for growing a variety of fruits such as peaches, cherries and apples.  The dramatic landscape and abundance of fruit and wine, make Grand Junction and ideal location experience the great outdoors.

Attractions

Over the years, Grand Junction has retained the quiet charm of years past. Victorian-era architecture and old-fashioned community events like the Farmers’ Market Festival and the Parade of Lights, are just a few of the events and attractions guests can enjoy. Downtown Grand Junction boasts one of the nation’s largest sidewalk sculpture galleries and features almost 100 sculptures.  Learn about Grand Junction and the West at the Western Colorado Center for the Arts.  You can also explore the Museum of the West, the Botanic Gardens or take in a show at the Grand Junction Symphony or Two Chairs Theater Company.

Dinosaurs: Be sure to check out the Dinosaur Journey Museum which features Colorado’s best robotic dinosaurs.  Examine real dinosaur fossils, dig into hands-on exhibits, and see full-size cast skeletons.  Combine dinosaurs and hiking with The Trail Through Time, a 1.5-mile interpretive trail where you can view 140-million-year-old dinosaur fossils at a working fossil quarry.

Fruit and Wine: Explore the natural bounty of the area with a wine tour, go wine-tasting, or browse the many vegetable and fruit stands. The Colorado Mountain Winefest is the area premier wine event held in September.  Festival highlights include wine and food pairing events, chef demos, grape stomps, winery tours and chocolate and wine tastings.

Colorado National Monument: Colorado National Monument showcases the grandeur of the Western Slope of Colorado.  You’ll experience towering monoliths within a vast plateau-and-canyon panorama, and discover sheer-walled, red rock canyons along the winding Rim Rock Drive.

Dining

Head to the charming and historic downtown for a taste of Grand Junction. You’ll find a variety of restaurants, pubs, bistros, casual delis, coffee shops, pizza and sports bars to satisfy your every craving. 626 on Rood offers modern cuisine and extensive wine bar while Pufferbelly Station Restaurant features home-style cooking.  Discover late-night entertainment at a number of great coffeehouses featuring live music and dance clubs.

A Colorado icon and homegrown favorite is Enstrom’s.  Famous for its almond toffee, the family still follows the same original recipe that Chet Enstrom perfected at the legendary Grand Junction candy store 60 years ago.

Shopping

Downtown Grand Junction is filled with more than 100 independent art galleries, charming boutiques, and antique shops where you find everything from great clothing, unique jewelry, shoes, books, music and more.  You’ll find more locally-owned stores in the North Avenue shopping district or check out the Grand Mesa Center, where you’ll find all your favorite chains.

www.visitgrandjunction.com