Look, Grand Junction’s got a few separate reputations and each one probably has a little validity to it. In the past month, we’ve heard the town described as “The last affordable housing market in Colorado,” as well as “One of the last places in the Wild West where you can still buy quality methamphetamine out of a vending machine.” Really, though? We adore this town, and, similar to a pre-pubescent us trying to take you to prom in ninth grade, you really just have to give it a chance.
Colorado National Monument
The Colorado National Monument has classic western slope beauty, regardless of whether you want to find some nice hiking, or you just want a nice view so that when the sun sets orange and blue, you can look over at your friends and annoyingly say, “That’s how you know God’s a Broncos fan right there, am I right?” The park’s main event is Independence Monument, a 450-foot tall spire sticking straight out of the ground. Back in 1911, John Otto installed iron pipes and footsteps into the side of the monolith so that he could climb it and raise an American Flag on its summit every Independence Day. Maybe this Fourth of July, you could get all fuckered up on clear corn liquor before scaling the tower in your cowboy boots with an American Flag in your teeth, you know, the way that American rock climbing was originally envisioned?
Drink Your Bodyweight in Wine at a Palisade Vineyard
While we’ve always loved the breweries in Junction, the surrounding desert biome actually makes for some stellar wine country. Head down to Palisade where you’ll find no shortage of vineyards and wine tastings, complete with boujee little patios and views of the mesas that surround Grand Junction. We’re not wine people, so we can’t really tell you which wineries trumped others. After our fourth tasting, the vast assortments before us just started to all taste like fermented grape juice.
The Absolute Mindfuck that is Junction’s Fraction Roads
We don’t know who designed Grand Junction’s traffic infrastructure, but we’re assuming that they did it with an abacus and a sundial. Anyone who drives around the town for more than five minutes is liable to have an aneurysm from trying to understand the road names and their corresponding fractions. Whether you’re taking a right on B 4/10 Road, or trying to find 28 3/4 road, this town is absolutely great for making you white-knuckle the steering wheel while you have flashbacks to your parents screaming at you about common denominators back in middle school.
Get You’s a Mountain Bike
Sure, we could tell you that Grand Junction is just a stone’s throw away from some phenomenal paddle boarding on the Colorado River, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you that Grand Junction has the best single track we’ve ever had the pleasure of drunkenly launching over our handlebars on. The town has trails that fit all skill levels. For smooth and flowy single track, take the family out to Fruita, where you’ll have access to 18 Road and the Kokopelli Trail System. If you’re trying to strap on your stars and stripes bicycle helmet and go straight Evil Knievel on a full suspension, you could get mega hardcore on the Lunch Loops trail system, which is just a few minutes outside of town and only two miles away from the Handlebar Tap House. If pedaling uphill is beneath you, go check out the Powderhorn Downhill Bike Park, where you’re guaranteed to get an awesome story for the next person who asks about your broken collar bone.
When Colorado originally legalized marijuana, it left the details up to respective municipalities, and when it came down to it, the people of Mesa County said, “billions of dollars in tax and fee revenues? No thanks!” For nearly ten years, dispensaries weren’t allowed in Mesa County but they’re now allowed in and the industry is mighty new. We always stock up along the I-70 corridor on the way.