Grand Junction is the biggest city on the Western Slope and ranks as one of the best places to visit in Colorado. It’s full of activities and attractions, including hiking, mountain biking, shopping, and lots more.
I’m a Colorado local, and I’m here to help you discover the best things to do in Grand Junction! Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, history, and culture, or tasty eats, the Grand Junction area has something for you.
Table of Contents
- 21 Best Things to Do in Grand Junction
- Colorado National Monument
- Downtown Grand Junction
- Grand Mesa
- James M. Robb Colorado River State Park
- Cross Orchards Historic Site
- Powderhorn Mountain Resort
- Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Area
- Grand Junction Motor Speedway
- Dinosaur Journey Museum
- Main Street Bagels
- Mountain Biking
- Western Colorado Botanical Gardens
- Eureka! McConnell Science Museum
- Museum of the West
- Raft the Colorado River
- Chipeta Golf Course
- Big Dominguez Canyon
- The Art Center
- Enstrom Toffee and Confectionery
- The Avalon Theatre
- FAQs About Grand Junction Activities
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21 Best Things to Do in Grand Junction
Colorado National Monument
See the striking red rock canyons and wide open skies people dream of when they imagine the west
If you can only pick one thing to do in Grand Junction, let it be this. The Colorado National Monument features red rock formations and beautiful, sheer canyons. You may spot bighorn sheep or eagles flying high above.
While at the Colorado National Monument, don’t miss the Rim Rock Drive. It provides a great overview of the area and is one of the best road trips in Colorado.
👉 Pro Tip: You can nab an America the Beautiful pass at REI, which allows admission to the Colorado National Monument, plus national parks, grasslands, and more! REI also donates 10% of the proceeds back to national forests and parks.
Downtown Grand Junction
Old meets new with historic buildings housing trendy boutiques, restaurants, and up-and-coming artists’ galleries
In downtown Grand Junction, you’ll find places to eat and shop, along with plenty of art galleries. In fact, the area is a Colorado Certified Creative District. Along with the galleries and artisan-owned shops, look for sculptures along the street. On First Fridays, art galleries stay open late for more browsing, and several offer snacks and wine tastings.
If you’re still looking for a hotel, downtown is also one of the best places to stay in Grand Junction.
Hike and bike the largest flat top mountain in the world
Hiking and mountain biking trails allow you to enjoy the beauty of the Grand Mesa that overlooks Grand Junction. To plan your outing, stop at the Grand Mesa Visitor Center to learn about all the outdoor activities in the Grand Mesa National Forest.
👉 Pro Tip: As with many parts of Colorado, bugs can be an issue at certain times of the year! On hikes, we use this Ranger Ready spray which repels bugs without harsh chemicals or bad smells.
Enjoy Colorado’s wine country (and sample other tasty produce, too!)
Colorado’s Western Slope is known for its agriculture and is home to Colorado Wine Country. Palisade, located next to Grand Junction, is particularly known for its delicious wines. It’s also known for the Palisade peaches which we Coloradans eagerly wait for each summer. Tour some of the many area wineries, or head to the Palisade Peach Shack to pick your own tasty fruit.
👉 Pro Tip: Wondering what to pack for your trip to Colorado? Check out Abigail’s packing list, which includes those items many of us forget when we hit the road!
James M. Robb Colorado River State Park
Get out on the Colorado River at this western Colorado State Park
At the Colorado River State Park, you can spend a day kayaking or canoeing while taking in the gorgeous scenery. There are also ponds and the river for fishing, and trails for hiking and mountain biking.
Cross Orchards Historic Site
See Colorado’s agricultural heritage up close
The Cross Orchards Historic Site has historic buildings and equipment to teach visitors about what it took to grow crops in the late 1800s. In fact, the 1890s barn and bunkhouse are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The site is free, but on Saturdays, there is a ride-on train that costs $3 for adults and $2 for kids.
Powderhorn Mountain Resort
Ski or enjoy summer outdoor activities at an affordable, family-friendly resort
Powderhorn Mountain Resort is one of the best ski resorts in Colorado. It’s perfect for families, college students on a budget, or anyone trying to make their money stretch. Lift tickets are affordable, and the small resort makes it easier for parents to keep track of their kids. In summer, the slopes turn into downhill mountain biking trails.
👉 Pro Tip: After a day of skiing or biking, nothing beats soaking in one of Colorado’s best hot springs!
Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Area
See these majestic animals roaming free
Colorado is home to several herds of wild horses, including one close to Grand Junction. This particular herd has palominos, grays, bays, and a variety of other breeds so you’ll likely see a variety of horses. They’re also rather used to people, and may even pose for a photo or two if you’re careful and keep your distance.
👉 Pro Tip: If you’re trying to figure out when to plan your Colorado vacation, be sure to check out my advice on The Best Times of Year To Visit Colorado!
Grand Junction Motor Speedway
Indulge your need for speed on this outdoor sprint kart track
The Grand Junction Motor Speedway makes for a great family activity, or a creative date idea if you both love a good adrenaline rush! The road racing circuit is almost a mile long, featuring straights where you can build up speed, followed by hair-raising, hairpin turns.
Dinosaur Journey Museum
Learn about Colorado’s prehistoric inhabitants at this hands-on museum
At this museum, you’ll get to experience an earthquake, make your own dinosaur tracks, and uncover dinosaur bones at a simulated quarry site. Dinosaurs once roamed the area, and here, you’ll learn about the ones that lived on Colorado’s Western Slope. Real fossils and reconstructions create intriguing, interactive exhibits.
👉 Pro Tip: Before your travels through Colorado, be sure to check out our list of Denver museums!
Main Street Bagels
Grab a bagel and people-watch downtown for a while
Main Street Bagels is housed in a quaint brick building in downtown Grand Junction. In the morning, treat yourself to a bagel while you decide what things to do in Grand Junction that day. They also serve coffee, sandwiches, soups, and salads, so it’s a great lunch spot while you’re out and about, too.
Challenge yourself with Grand Junction’s network of awesome trails!
Grand Junction’s mesas and rock formations make it the perfect place for outdoor adventures like mountain biking! The Lunch Loop trails at the Tabeguache Trailhead are a popular choice that promises beautiful views and some tricky terrain. Joe’s Ridge is another great ride with easy climbs and some fun downhills.
👉 Pro Tip: Colorado is full of wonderful, unique places. Check out my list of fun & interesting facts about this amazing state!
Western Colorado Botanical Gardens
Wander through a variety of gardens and visit a butterfly pavilion
At the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens, there are several different gardens including a tropical rainforest and a succulent garden. There’s also a children’s secret garden to explore, along with a butterfly pavilion.
Eureka! McConnell Science Museum
Spark kids’ interest with this science museum made just for them
This Grand Junction science museum is geared towards kids. It features fun things like a space shuttle simulator, a bubble exhibit, and experiments involving shadows and water. Hands-on demonstrations and experiments take center stage, so kids won’t get in trouble for messing with these museum exhibits!
Museum of the West
Check out a brief history of the west at this Grand Junction museum
This museum covers everything from ancient tools used by the Anasazi to a 1958 Cessna from Walker Field in Grand Junction. Visitors can check out a one-room schoolhouse and visit an old-time saloon at this museum as well.
🚗 Planning a road trip? If you’re traveling through Colorado by car, check out Abigail’s recommended Colorado road trip itinerary to several Colorado landmarks and hot spots!
Raft the Colorado River
Spend a day admiring Colorado’s landscape from the water
Rimrock Adventures leads float trips and whitewater rafting trips on the nearby Gunnison and Colorado Rivers. You’ll find Colorado River rafting tours just east in Glenwood Springs, too. For those experienced and adventuresome, you can also kayak or canoe downriver on your own.
Chipeta Golf Course
Play a quick nine holes or a full game at this Grand Junction oasis
The Chipeta Public Golf Course is available for anyone to play a round or two. To really mix things up, try their footgolf course – a mix of golf and soccer.
Big Dominguez Canyon
See petroglyphs and wildlife in this scenic, remote canyon
Big Dominguez Canyon has many scenic hiking trails, several of which lead to beautiful waterfalls. You may spot bighorn sheep in the canyon, along with petroglyphs and rock shelters from long ago.
The Art Center
Browse more than 300 works of Western Colorado art
The Art Center showcases Western Slope artists throughout the years, with both historic and contemporary pieces of art. You’ll also find rotating, themed exhibitions, along with art classes for all ages.
👉 Pro Tip: Be sure to check out my list of tips for traveling to Colorado to help you know what to pack and how to prepare!
Enstrom Toffee and Confectionery
Treat yourself to a Grand Junction sweet confection
Enstrom Toffee and Confectionery has been a Grand Junction staple since the 1960s. Stop in at the original store and treat yourself to their renowned almond toffee, butter toffee, and other chocolate confections.
The Avalon Theatre
Catch a show at one of the largest performing arts venues in Colorado
This historic Avalon Theatre was built in 1923 and hosts singers, dance performances, theater productions, and movies. The theater has room for more than 1,000 guests, and its updated layout ensures everyone can see the stage and hear the performances well.
FAQs About Grand Junction Activities
What is Grand Junction Colorado known for?
Grand Junction Colorado is known for being Colorado’s wine country. The area is perfect for growing grapes and peaches, and there are many wineries in town and in nearby Palisade.
Grand Junction is also the biggest Colorado city on the Western Slope, and it’s the halfway point on a drive from Denver to Salt Lake City.
Is Grand Junction worth visiting?
Grand Junction is worth visiting. The city is home to many wineries and orchards. It’s also the home of the Colorado National Monument, with breathtaking views of the canyon and striking red rocks. The Grand Mesa is the largest flattop mountain in the world and features beautiful lakes and mountain views.
Is it safe to visit Grand Junction Colorado?
It is mostly safe to visit Grand Junction, Colorado. The city has a higher crime rate than the national average; however, many of those crimes are not against tourists. Of the violent crimes in the city, about one-third were against strangers. The city also has a high rate of property crime and shoplifting.
When you travel to Grand Junction, take the same precautions you would when traveling anywhere. Be sure to lock car and hotel doors, stay in well-lit areas, and try to avoid walking alone at night.
For more tips on whether it’s safe to travel in Colorado, check out Is Colorado Safe to Travel in 2022?
Grand Junction may not get the love that the Front Range does, but there is so much to do there that it’s definitely worth a visit! If you’ll be in Colorado for a while, be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Colorado for more tips on where to travel and what to do.
Hopefully, this list of things to do in Grand Junction has given you some great ideas for your own Western Slope vacation!
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