Grand Junction

Grand Junction downtown
Grand Junction redeveloped its downtown as a walkable place dotted with sculptures and lined with trees and flowers in large brick planters. Main Street has gentle curves to slow traffic. | Photo by John Leach

By John Leach

Grand Junction is the largest city on the Western Slope and a center for tourism, trade and transportation.

For many tourists, Grand Junction’s prime spot on Interstate 70, a 12-hour drive from Los Angeles, makes it a gateway to Aspen, Telluride and other ski resorts and to the canyonlands of eastern Utah.

The city also has built a name for itself as a center for dinosaurs, based on a good museum with skeletons, casts and robotic reconstructions of dinosaurs and a handful of major dinosaur digs in the area.

The area has other tourist attractions, notably the red-rock spires of the Colorado Natural Monument, the confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers and fruit orchards and wineries.

Grand Junction sits in the Grand Valley, and both the city and the valley were named for the Grand River, renamed the Colorado River in 1921. Grand Mesa rises above the valley to the east, reaching an altitude of 11,000 feet, covering 500 square miles and offering camping and hiking in the summer and skiing in the winter.

More about Grand Junction
Grand Junction history
Area map

“Must-see” attractions
Colorado Natural Monument
Grand Valley wineries
Museum of the West
Peaches and other fruit ripe from orchards

Dinosaur attractions
Itinerary: Hunting dinosaurs in the Grand Junction area
Dinosaur Journey Museum
Dinosaur Hill
Fruita Paleontological Area
Rabbit Valley Natural Area and Mygatt-Moore Dinosaur Quarry
Riggs Hill dinosaur area

More attractions
Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness
Country Jam Ranch
Cross Orchards Historic Site
Highline Lake State Park
James M. Robb – Colorado River State Park
McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area
Western Colorado Botanical Gardens

Grand Junction facts
Population: 58,566 (2010 Census).
Land area: 31.1 square miles.
County: Mesa (Grand Junction is the county seat).
Altitude: 4,593 feet above sea level.
Climate: Hot summers, moderate winters and low humidity, with abundant sunshine year-round. Annual precipitation of 9 inches, including average snowfall of 14 inches a year. July averages: 92 high and 63 low. January averages: 38 high and 17 low. More information >>