Nine Ways to Enjoy a Grand Junction Winter

Cycling the Colorado National Monument

Grand Junction, Colorado (PRWEB) December 04, 2012

Grand Junction, Colo. – Colorado’s western side is a treasure trove of well-kept winter secrets. In a region known for world-class skiing, the Grand Junction area adds wineries, prehistoric monsters, scenic drives, and Western culture to make for an unforgettable winter getaway. And unlike other Colorado winter destinations, Grand Junction’s mild winter climate (53 degree year round average) lets you enjoy four seasons of activities — all winter!

Here are just a few ideas to round out a winter visit:

    Grand Mesa: The world’s largest flat-topped mountain – the Grand Mesa – covers some 500 square miles just east of Grand Junction. A prime summer destination for hiking, biking, and boating, during the winter the mesa offers visitors miles and miles of excellent backcountry skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling, as well as groomed Nordic tracks.

    Powderhorn Resort: Nestled against the side of the Grand Mesa and less than an hour’s drive from downtown Grand Junction, Powderhorn Resort offers an intimate skiing experience for skiers of all ages and abilities. The mountain features 1,600 skiable acres with 63 trails, five lifts, three terrain parks, and spectacular views of alpine forests and red rock desert.

    Explore Colorado’s history (and prehistory): Grand Junction is home to two truly unique museums. The Museum of the West takes visitors back to the “real wild West” of Anasazi ancestors, early settlers, and the economic development of the west, with interactive displays that take you right into adobe houses, one-room schoolhouse, and even a full-size uranium mine. Go even further back in time at the Dinosaur Journey Museum, where hands-on interactive displays use real fossils, cast skeletons and robotic reconstructions of dinosaurs to bring Colorado’s prehistoric denizens to life.

    Colorado National Monument: There are so many ways to enjoy the stunning red rock canyons of Colorado National Monument during the winter. The 23-mile Rim Rock Drive is the only paved road through the Monument, climbing from the Grand Valley floor up onto the Uncompahgre Plateau. Although portions of the park may be closed to car traffic during the winter, much of the closed road and unpaved trails are open – and uncrowded – for hiking and snowshoeing.

    Golf: The Grand Valley’s mild winter temperatures and sunny days make it one of the few places in the world where you can ski in the morning and golf in the afternoon. And with 90 holes in 5 outstanding courses, you can pick your game!

    Biking: Sunny days also keep a good portion of local bike trails free of ice and snow. Bicycles are permitted on the open portions of Colorado National Monument’s Rim Rock Drive when snow plowing is not in operation. Trails in the Fruita area offer spectacular views of the Colorado River; favorite loops include Mary’s, Rustler’s, Horsethief Bench, and Steve’s. The Riverfront Trails system includes paved and unpaved trails of varying difficulty in and around Grand Junction, Fruita and Palisade.

    After the Harvest: During the winter, the vineyards of Colorado Wine Country are quiet, but many of their wineries and tasting rooms are still offering a taste of summer. Several area limousine services offer guided half and full-day tours; if planning your own tour, be sure to call ahead to inquire about winter hours.

    Retail Therapy: Downtown Grand Junction a great place to shop, with more than 100 locally-owned and independent businesses, including Benges (Colorado’s oldest operating women’s shoe store) and Colorado’s favorite candy store, Enstrom, which still offers toffee made with the same recipe from the store’s beginnings 60 years ago. Sidewalk cafes and the streetside sculpture exhibits of Grand Junction’s Art on the Corner program round out the whole shopping experience.

    Grand Junction by Harley: From the nearby Colorado National Monument and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park further south, or lesser-known local rides, the expansive scenery and winding roads of the Grand Junction area have made it a year-round favorite among bikers. Flying or driving in? The local Harley showroom offers rentals and can suggest a route to match your taste for adventure.

About Grand Junction (

Nestled near 11,000-foot Grand Mesa and the 7,500-foot Book Cliffs, Grand Junction is the largest city in western Colorado. At an altitude of 4,586 feet, warm summers and moderate spring, fall and winter seasons allow for year-round golf, hiking and biking. Boasting more than 275 days of sunshine annually, Grand Junction recently was named one of the eight sunniest cities in the United States by Among Grand Junction’s spectacular red cliffs and winding canyons are the Grand Mesa, the world’s largest flat-topped mountain, the Colorado National Monument, Bookcliff Wild Horse Area, two national scenic byways and five golf courses. Grand Junction lies in the heart of the Colorado-Utah Dinosaur Diamond. The area also is home to Colorado’s wine country, with nearly 30 vineyards and wineries.

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