20+ Super Sweet Things to do in Grand Junction from a Local

Last Updated on June 13, 2024 by foxintheforest

Grand Junction is the western gateway to Colorado, so it’s a stop on many road trips, but it’s also a destination in its own right.

The gorgeous desert landscape of the Western Slope sets it apart from the rest of Colorado, and the terrain provides so many things to do in Grand Junction.

I’ve lived in Colorado for nearly 15 years, so I have spent lots of time in Grand Junction.

That means I’ve got the inside scoop on all the best things to do in Grand Junction if you want to travel like a local, not a tourist.

About this Guide to the the Best Things to doin Grand Junction

Inside this local guide to the most fun things to do in Grand Junction, you’ll find:

  • Where is Grand Junction & how to get there
  • Why visit Grand Junction
  • The best Grand Junction things to do
  • Additional local Colorado travel resources

Where is Grand Junction?

Grand Junction is the biggest town on the Western Slope of Colorado and is close to the border of Utah.

It’s just under a 4-hour drive from Denver along I-70, making Grand Junction a great weekend getaway from Denver.

Map of the Best Grand Junction Things to Do

Map of the best things to do in Grand Junction.

Is Grand Junction Worth a Visit?

Grand Junction is absolutely worth a visit and would be a great stop on a Colorado road trip itinerary or a drive from Denver to Moab.

The landscape transition as you drive from the Colorado foothills to the desert terrain is one of the best scenic drives in Colorado.

The Best Outdoor Grand Junction Things to Do

With rivers, lakes, canyons, and more to explore, the list of outdoor Grand Junction things to do is a long one that’s full of fun!

View of the stunning natural scenery in and around Grand Junction.

1. Explore Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument is one of the prettiest places in Colorado and an absolute must-visit when you’re in Grand Junction.

The hikes in Colorado National Monument take you through desert terrain featuring stunning sandstone spires and cool canyons.

2. Walk the Riverfront Trail

One of the top Grand Junction things to do for everyone is to walk (or bike or rollerblade) along the Riverfront Trail through town.

The 24-mile paved path along the Colorado River is a perfect way to explore what makes Grand Junction great.

3. Shred on the Mountain Bike Trails

Grand Junction and the nearby town of Fruita are known as a mecca for mountain bikers in Colorado.

You’ll find so many amazing singletrack trails to explore, including the popular Lunch Loops. In the summer you can get your downhill fix at the Powderhorn Bike Park.

View of a person mountain biking along the trails in Fruita Colorado.

4. Raft the River Rapids

Since Grand Junction gets its name because it sits at the junction of the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers, going rafting on the river is definitely one of the best things to do in Grand Junction.

Mild to Wild Rafting offers mellow trips down the Class I rapids of Ruby Horsethief Canyon.

5. Hit the Slopes at Powderhorn

Skiing is obviously one of the most classic things to do in Colorado, and Powderhorn Mountain Resort is the place to hit the slopes in Grand Junction.

Powderhorn is especially great for less experienced skiers, since 70% of its runs are beginner or intermediate.

6. Take a Scenic Drive on the Grand Mesa Byway

Grand Mesa is the largest flat-topped mountain in the world, and the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway is the perfect way to explore this unique landscape.

As you drive from Cedaredge to Palisade, you’ll see old-growth forests, aspen groves, meadows, mountains, and so many lakes, along with the mesa itself.

Aerial view of the stunning yellow foliage along the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway near Grand Junction.

7. Glimpse the Wild Horses at Little Book Cliffs

If you’re looking for unique things to do in Colorado, you’ll love Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range.

Here you can observe and photograph the wild herd of palominos, paints, grays, blacks, bays, sorrels, blue and red roans, and even appaloosas as they roam through the canyons and plateaus.

8. Hike in Big Dominguez Canyon

For one of the best hikes near Grand Junction, head to Big Dominguez Canyon. You can hike as deep into the canyon as you want, and you’ll pass waterfalls and petroglyphs along the way.

Also, keep an eye out for bighorn sheep who frequent the area.

View of Mount Garfield near Grand Junction and a spot where you can do the best hikes in Grand Junction.

9. Hit the Links at a Golf Course

Grand Junction is great for golfers with multiple courses to choose from.

Check out Redlands Mesa Golf Course, Tiara Rado Golf Course, and Chipeta Golf Course for beautiful views from the fairway or get a quick (and cheap) 9 holes in at Lincoln Park golf Course close to town.

The Best Cultural Things to Do in Grand Junction

If you need to relax after all the adventure, you’ll find plenty of fun Grand Junction things to do to stimulate your mind while your body takes a break.

10. Stroll Around Downtown

Downtown Grand Junction is a lovely place for a stroll, and the pedestrian-friendly Main Street features fantastic shopping at a variety of boutiques, great restaurants to pop into for a meal, and public art on just about every corner.

On First Fridays, visit the galleries at the Art Center to browse the creative works while nibbling snacks and sipping wine.

Aerial view of Grand Junction, Colorado covered in snow in the winter.

11. Go Back in Time at the Museum of the West

At the Museum of the West, experience history by “riding” in a stagecoach or “flying” a 1958 Cessna.

You can also view Fremont and Ute art, see the weapons used by Wild West outlaws, and visit an old saloon.

12. Immerse Yourself in the Botanical Gardens

Stop and smell the flowers at the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens.

Explore the many specialty gardens, including the Antique Rose Garden, Cactus Garden, and Western Heritage Garden, as well as the tropical rainforest and butterfly house.

13. Appreciate the Art Center

The Art Center in Grand Junction consists of four art galleries featuring work by both national artists and local western Colorado artists.

Attend an event (like First Fridays), take a class, or just peruse the galleries and appreciate the art.

14. Enjoy a Concert at the Avalon Theatre

The historic Avalon Theatre was built in 1923 and restored to its former glory in 2014. It’s now an awesome space to check out a concert or watch a film.

15. Find Fossils at the Dinosaur Journey Museum

Dinosaur Journey is a fascinating look at the paleontological history of western Colorado through over 15,000 fossils, cast skeletons, and robotic dinosaurs.

16. Experiment at Eureka! McConnell Science Museum

Eureka! McConnell Science Museum features interactive exhibits for kids and adults to learn about biology, physics, earth science, space, electronics, and more.

17. Experience the Past at Cross Orchards Historic Site

The Cross Orchards Historic Site is home to agricultural heritage, vintage equipment, railroad cars, and historic buildings, including an 1890s barn/packing shed and bunkhouse that are on the National Register of Historic Places.

View of the stunning natural landscape in and around Grand Junction Colorado.

The Best Foodie Things to Do in Grand Junction

Taste your way around the Western Slope with these fun things to do in Grand Junction for foodies.

18. Visit the Vineyards

Wine tasting makes for a relaxing weekend getaway in Colorado, and Grand Junction is in the heart of Colorado Wine Country.

Do a tasting at Two Rivers Winery & Chateau, stop by Bin 707 Foodbar for a long list of wines, and visit nearby Palisade for more vineyards.

19. Pick Your Own Fruit in Palisade

‘Palisade is known for its prize peaches, and you can pick your own fruit at one of the many farms and orchards.

Summer is peach season, while spring features apricots and cherries, and fall is harvest time for pears and apples.

View of the orchards in Palisade where you can pick your own fruit as one of the best things to do in grand Junction.

20. Try the Tasty Food

You won’t go hungry in Grand Junction! Start your day with a perfectly crafted cup at Kiln Coffee and pair it with a fresh-baked bagel or pastry from Main Street Bagels.

Trailhead Cafe has hearty breakfast burritos and sandwiches for lunch. For dinner, enjoy the classic fine dining at The Winery Restaurant or the intriguing seasonal cuisine at 626 on Rood.

And don’t forget a sweet treat from Enstrom Toffee & Confectionery.

21. Have a Local Pint

Kannah Creek Brewing Company offers 15 of their craft beers on tap to pair with craveable brick oven pizza.

Their second location, Edgewater Brewery, is right on the Riverfront Trail with a lawn and shady patio that’s the perfect spot for live music and corn hole games.

One Thing NOT to Do in Grand Junction

Okay, so I’ve made a few mistakes over the years, and this one is certainly at the top of my list.

For whatever reason, it’s on nearly every list of things to do in Grand Junction, but I actually don’t recommend it – here’s why!

22. James Cobb State Park

While James Cobb State Park is found on a lot of lists of best things to do in Grand Junction, this local would honestly say skip it.

The park sits between strip malls near a highway, so it’s not exactly a tranquil place, and there are so many better things to do in Grand Junction.

Additional Colorado Travel Resources

Looking to explore the best of Colorado like a local, not a tourist? Then check out these handy resources:

Picture of Meg Atteberry
Meg Atteberry

Meg is a long-time Colorado local and outdoor industry professional. She's spent the last 15 years hiking, climbing, mountaineering, and canyoneering all over Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Nevada in search of the best views. She's written for Outside Magazine, REI, Backpacker Magazine, and appeared on the Weather Channel.

Hi There!

Meg Atteberry standing on a mountain sticking her tongue out

Meg aka Fox is a 30-something who's born to explore. Toddler mom, queer, and neuro-spicy her favorite things to do are climb in the alpine and camp in the desert. Her mission is to get you out on your greatest adventure.