Travel Colorado: Grand Junction and Palisade

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My family and I were privileged enough to call Grand Junction home for three years. The mild temperatures, amazing views, and friendly people make this city a special place to call home or to visit. Palisade, about 13 miles away, is known as the “Peach and Wine Capital of Colorado.” This city has that small town, friendly feel along with stunning scenery and ideal temperatures.

Getting There

Driving to Grand Junction and Palisade from Colorado Springs takes around 5.5 hours and is well worth the time. You will travel through some of the most beautiful places in Colorado including Vail and Glenwood Springs. Take I-25 N to 1-70 W and follow this Highway for 257 miles until you arrive in Palisade. Or continue farther west until you reach Grand Junction. Another route that you can take to avoid Denver or weekend ski traffic is US-24 to CO-9. Then turn right on Hwy 285 N which merges onto 1-70 W.

Grand Junction History

Grand Junction is the largest city on Colorado’s Western Slope. The name Grand Junction stems from the junction of the Colorado River (formerly known as the Grand River) and the Gunnison River.

Settlers were drawn to the fertile Grand Valley for its agricultural potential in the Late 1900’s. Grand Junction remains one of Colorado’s largest producers of peaches, pears, cherries and corn. Additionally, it is home to more than 20 wineries, making it to earn the title of Colorado’s Wine Country.

Grand Junction is an outdoor lover’s paradise.  It is home to The Colorado National Monument and the Grand Mesa. The monument is perfect for hiking and biking amidst stunning rock canyons. The Grand Mesa is a nearly 10,000-foot, flat-top mountain, offering a variety of activities such as skiing and hiking, fishing and biking.

Palisade History

This town was named for the geologic formations the palisades of Mancos Shale north of town. These formations were created by the uplifting of the area combined with erosion and the downcutting of the Colorado River. This city (population 2,686) sits along Colorado River as it emerges from DeBeque Canyon. It boasts magnificent mountains, vistas and astounding views every direction.

The area was first settled by the Ute Indians and later by settlers who were attracted to the mild temperatures and unique terrain that had optimum peach and grape growing properties. Called the “Banana Belt,” the area’s geography prevents spring frosts and the 78 percent sunshine statistic makes the area ideal for peach farming and wineries.

Five Must Dos

Visit the Colorado Natural Monument and the Grand Mesa

Grand Junction is an outdoor lover’s paradise. It is home to The Colorado National Monument and the Grand Mesa. The monument is perfect for hiking and biking, amidst stunning rock canyons. The Grand Mesa is a near 10,000 feet, flat top mountain offering a variety of activities such as skiing and hiking, fishing and biking.

Palisade Peach Festival

This festival recently celebrated it’s 100th year. Held mid-August each year, this festival celebrates Palisade’s top peach production in Colorado. This event features live music, peach eating contests and a Peach cuisine and BBQ throw down,, vendors, a farmer’s market, parade, and more!

Bananas Fun Park

This amusement park features go-karts, miniature golf, bumper boats, laser tag, an arcade, an aquatic play center and more fun attractions! Open year round (except the seasonal aqua attraction) it is the perfect place to enjoy some family time.

 Winery Tours

With over 27 different wineries scattered throughout Palisade and Grand Junction, you are sure to find a new favorite wine to enjoy or to bring home to share with loved ones. Of course the area’s famous crops—peaches, and cherries—are delicious featured in the local wines. Or if you would like to enjoy tastings from many of the local wineries in one place, be sure to attend the Colorado Mountain Winefest held each September in Palisade.

Highline Lake

Known as the oasis in the desert, this lake has plenty of activities including camping, biking, canoeing, water sports and more.

Five Great Places to Stay 

Palisade Wine Valley Inn

Celebrating 13 years in Palisade, this adult-only Bed and Breakfast Inn is located in the heart in Palisade. Featuring a late night hot tub, homemade breakfasts and plenty of charm, this is the perfect place to stay on your next vacation.  

Wine Country Inn

This wine-themed hotel surrounded by working vineyards, was voted best hotel by Free Press Readers. Featuring complimentary breakfasts and afternoon wine tastings, as well as a seasonal pool and all-year hot tub.

Fairfield Inn and Suites by Mariott

Located in downtown Grand Junction and easily accessible to nearby restaurants and shops, this is a great place to stay if you would like to be at the heart of the action. This hotel features a complimentary hot breakfast and a large indoor swimming pool.

Doubletree by Hilton

Near the regional airport, this hotel is perfect families. It features a complimentary shuttle, an outdoor tennis court and pool, and two restaurants.

Willow Pond Bed and Breakfast

Located in a small farm community minutes away from downtown shopping and dining, this quaint house features homemade breakfasts made with local ingredients and personally decorated bedrooms. 

Five Great Eateries

Kannah Creek Brewing Co. and Edgewater Brewery

These sister restaurants featuring handcrafted burgers, pizza, and freshly brewed beers are local favorites. Edgewater Brewery has a great outdoor patio where you can play lawn games and listen to live music.

Bin 707 Foodbar

Located in downtown Grand Junction and featuring seasonal Colorado cuisine with an adventurous menu, this is the place to be.

Suehiro Japanese Restaurant and Sushi

In the mood for something different? This long standing downtown restaurant is a true favorite. 

Inari’s A Palisade Bistro

A quaint neighborhood bistro in the heart of downtown Palisade, Inari’s features an eclectic dinner menu of seasonal changing items.

Palisade Brewing Company

Their motto: “Just because you are in wine country doesn’t mean you can’t make good beer” is appropriate. Plus there is plenty of delicious grub to round out their menu.

Check out more posts from Colorado Springs Moms Blog’s “Travel Colorado” series here

We at Colorado Springs Moms Blog love to travel this beautiful state. We suspect you do, too. Our newest series called "Travel Colorado" highlights our writers' favorite spots, in no particular order. We hope this compact, virtual guidebook provides you with the inspiration and the tools for your Colorado adventures.
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Adrienne is a Colorado native and would not want to live anywhere else! She spends her days juggling the many demands of three sons, and her school-age daughter. When she is not busy deciphering the perplexing young boy brain, or trying to please her diva daughter, you will most likely find her nose in a book, or writing. She loves encouraging her fellow parents in their journey. Recently she has begun a new career as a Real Estate Broker with Colorado Home Finder Realty and is definitely enjoying the roller coaster ride. She also loves finding great happy hour places with her husband, Shawn, and acting young and sometimes crazy with friends! She does not spend enough time outdoors (unless forced to) and comes up with any excuse to put off cleaning her chaotic house. She is very grateful for her completely imperfect life.