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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Near the regional airport, this hotel is perfect families. It features a complimentary shuttle, an outdoor tennis court and pool, and two restaurants.
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
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.
Located in downtown Grand Junction and featuring seasonal Colorado cuisine with an adventurous menu, this is the place to be.
In the mood for something different? This long standing downtown restaurant is a true favorite.
A quaint neighborhood bistro in the heart of downtown Palisade, Inari’s features an eclectic dinner menu of seasonal changing items.
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.