Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Palisade, CO

  • Published 2022/08/01

Palisade is a sun-drenched valley in the heart of Colorado, amid vast mesas and the Colorado river running through it.

Palisade takes its name from the Mancos Shale grand palisades, dramatic formations resulting from the Colorado River’s erosion.

Palisade is highly known for its fruits, the Palisade Peaches, earning a reputation as the Peach Capital of Colorado.

Its desert climate of brilliantly sunny days and chill starry nights come together to create lovely fruit.

It is a charming town known throughout the region for its wineries, orchards, vineyards, farms, and mild weather.

The locals at Palisade are hard-working, filling their days with a frank tell-things-like-they-are mentality.

A local creative community also thrives here, including sculptors, glass and clay artists, and oil, pastel, and watercolor artists.

You can visit music festivals, farmers’ markets, mountain bike trails, fruit and wine byways, hiking spots, historical societies, and more.

Discover the best things to do in Palisade below.

Meet Friendly Animals at Sunset Orchard Alpacas and Fiber Works

Sunset Orchard Alpacas and Fiber Works specializes in fiber processing, finished alpaca products, and of course, alpacas themselves.

They provide farm tours for the old and young to give educational opportunities and excellent customer service.

Find yourself charmed by these adorable and friendly animals and appreciate their lovely products.

You can tour the mill to learn how they process natural fibers into yarns and other finished results.

You can also join trekking tours where you travel with an alpaca through a tunnel filled with peach trees.

Before the trip, every trekker will get a quick alpaca behavior overview and then paired with their animal.

Their farm store focuses on their breeding program, producing animals for fiber consistency, fineness, and volume.

If you want to learn about creating and crafting items from alpaca fiber, join their Fiber Arts classes, which include refreshments and materials from local wineries.

See cute animals at the Sunset Orchard Alpacas and Fiber Works!

Admire Lovely Art at Blue Pig Gallery

For a pretty souvenir of your Palisade vacation, head over to the Blue Pig Gallery.

Find it in downtown Palisade.

Its collaborative gallery displays an incredible array of art, including glass, fiber, sculpture, photography, paintings, and more.

Its gift gallery, the Piglet, located in the Art Cellar, contains a collection of affordable art such as ceramics, glass, jewelry, scarves, and cards.

See the works of Chris Eaton, who paints some of the nation’s most stunning public lands.

His paintings include the Colorado Plateau, the Pacific Northwest, the High Plains, and beyond.

Admire the paintings of Garry Jensen, who uses splashes of light and color to highlight the western landscapes in Colorado and Utah.

Check out the creations of Robert and Linda Hiatt-Neely, who have designed stained glass windows for 23 years, specializing in red rock landscapes and the west’s wildlife.

Discover new art at the Blue Pig Gallery.

Relax and Have a Drink at Carlson Vineyards

At Carlson Vineyards, the owners believe wine is something for the masses, not just the elite and select few.

The founders Parker and Mary Carson first planted their vines on four acres in East Orchard Mesa near Palisade.

They wanted to make wine from superior grapes and fruits from Delta County and Palisade farms.

While they took the winemaking art seriously, they also wanted a little fun.

They aimed to create fine wines that people enjoyed, friendly, affordable, and unpretentious.

Current owners Garrett and Cailin Portra aim to maintain the Carlsons’ legacy and join the Chicago wine industry.

Check out Carlson Vineyards’ welcoming tasting room, relax in the sun and sip wine in their beautiful flowering gardens.

Pick Quality Fruit at Clark Family Orchards

If you’re craving fresh fruit during the spring, summer, and fall, visit the Clark Family Orchards in Palisade!

In 1897, Phoebe and James A. Clark planted the first fruit trees in the valley on their 20-acre farm.

The Grande Diversion Dams and Palisade canal systems came right after, so they watered their first crops with buckets hauled by horse-drawn wagons from the Colorado River.

They also used discs and horse-drawn plows to till the ground for planting.

Today, this old-fashioned tradition continues at the orchard.

The Clark Family Orchard has expanded to include more than 100 leased and owned acres, producing vegetables, plums, pears, peaches, apricots, and cherries.

Many visitors and residents make special pilgrimages to the orchards to buy fresh produce.

You can also purchase and order their delicacies online or find them at local festivals, especially the annual Palisade Peach Festival.

Buy Fresh Goods at Palisade Sunday Farmers Market

The Palisade Sunday Farmers Market is the best place to relax and unwind on Sunday mornings.

Have a grand time weaving your way among stalls as you search for the perfect gift, fresh produce, and other souvenirs for your loved ones.

Local vendors have an endless supply of fresh produce ready for you as well as exceptional artisan items.

All the goods here are homemade or homegrown, each perfectly unique.

You will find everything from beverages to juices, beets to cucumbers, gifts to jewelry, soaps to lotions, lavender to flowers, and garlic to mushrooms.

There are also chef demonstrations from Palisade restaurants, delicious meals, cold and hot drinks, and other goods like fruits, honey, jellies, jams, bread, and more.

You can grab a bite at a rotating food truck or have a street-side meal from restaurant parklets.

Start your Sunday morning right at the Palisade Sunday Farmers Market!

Taste Minimalist Wines at Maison La Belle Vie Winery

‘Maison La Belle Vie’ translates to ‘House of the Beautiful Life’ in French.

The winery exemplifies this phrase with its beautiful ambiance and surroundings, topped off with quality wine.

Owner John Barbier loves to say that life is too brief for cheap wine.

With this as a foundation, the winery emphasizes taste, quality, and elegance in every sample.

Mr. Barbier grew up in France’s Loire Valley and has perfected his family’s knowledge and skill in winemaking.

The winery has used this knowledge to grow the best fruit, the key to making the best wine.

Mr. Barbier’s vineyard expertise and knowledge of western Colorado’s arid desert region have resulted in fantastic wine.

He uses the age-old practice of dry farming, which works well with western Colorado’s climate, allowing the fruit’s complexity and flavor to embolden.

The Maison La Belle Vie Winery continues a tradition of minimalism, reflecting the purity of grapes in each bottle.

Have a Fun Ride with JR’s Carriage Service

Do you want to see Palisade and the Grand Valley from an entirely original point of view?

Ride with JR’s Carriage Service, which encompasses western heritage by providing carriage adventures.

Couples, families, groups, and even wedding parties can take a ride in the service’s horse-drawn carts and carriages.

The carriage will wind through Palisade and the surrounding area.

JR’s Carriage Services can serve as a lovely, transportive wine tour.

You can also join its sunset tour to see the sky turn various colors above the Colorado horizon.

It can also take you on a horse-drawn pub crawl, an orchard and fruit stand tour, and a downtown historical tour.

You can choose from their listings of signature horse-drawn tours or customize your memorable ride.

If you are a driving enthusiast, you will get a platform to build, dream, and purchase a great variety of horse-drawn vehicles.

Taste Unique Goodies at Nana’s Fruit and Jam Shack

Becky and Lance Davis, or Nana and Papa, can answer any of your questions about Palisade peaches.

They are number one in the art of shipping fresh Palisade peaches across the country in perfect condition.

They believe there is something extraordinary in the art of growing peaches and knowing that friends and family will enjoy them together.

Their story started in 2000 when they bought a truckload of Palisade peaches and brought them back home to sell.

The peaches were a big hit and inspired them to grow their own.

They opened the original Nana’s Fruit and Jam Shack at their Palisade farm in 2011.

The store takes advantage of Palisade’s perfect fruit-growing climate.

Nana’s Fruit and Jam Shack not only creates yummy syrups, sauces, jellies, and jams but also grows and sells peaches and fruit to make these products.

Enjoy Classic Flavors at Talon Wine Brands

Talon Wine Brands boasts a wealth of winemaking know-how and deep family roots.

The Foster family has worked in the wine world since 1976, when Reed Foster Jr. co-founded Ravenswood Winery and ran it for 30 years.

Eventually, his son Glenn learned artisanal winemaking’s basic techniques and principles.

Glenn and his wife Natalie discovered the booming wine industry in Colorado in 1995.

In 2005, the Fosters opened their small venture, the Colorado Wine Shop, soon renamed Talon Winery, for Glenn’s love of falconry.

When they discovered a trio of small wineries in Palisade, they made a leap of faith by purchasing them, giving rise to Talon Wine Brands.

All of their wineries offer a dignified lineup of award-winning wines.

People know Talon Winery for its classic flavors and fruity wines from the finest grapes.

Enjoy sipping from a bottle of the finest Talon Wine Brands!

Inhale Fresh Scents at Sage Creations Organic Farm

Sage Creations Organic Farm is a family farm that has developed and grown over the years into a nursery, lavender distillery, and ten-acre farm.

Owner Paola Legarra has worked in marketing and organic farming for the past 25 years.

She made her first lavender planting in 2006, marking the beginning of the farm.

As she expanded her lavender fields, she added body items, plant starts, and farm-distilled essential oils to her product line.

Palisade’s unique mix of high desert elevation and mountain weather leads to tasty vegetables, fruits, herbs, and high-quality lavender.

They open their boutique plant nursery in early spring with hundreds of rare heirloom varieties of peppers, tomatoes, and other plant starts.

Their lavender blooms in June and July, and their fields spill over with purple and pink.

You can stroll through the lavender fields at Sage Creation’s Organic Farm, watch the bees and hummingbirds, and pick lavender to your heart’s content.

Down a Glass of Spirits at Peach Street Distillers

Peach Street Distillers comprises a group of friends who toil hard to turn local fruits and grains into incredible spirits.

They can’t stop concocting, tasting, and tinkering to create the most impressive and inspired spirits.

They insist on doing things the hard and correct way, from grain to glass.

They don’t hesitate to experiment, and when they fail, they get back up and start experimenting again.

They start with grains and fruits from some of the state’s most devoted growers, often upcycling fruits “too ripe” for the market.

Their products deliver high proof and maximum flavor in just one distillation, and they bring out their unique colors and flavors in each of their spirits.

Try their bourbon, made from Rocky Mountain water, all-Colorado grains, and a great deal of liveliness.

Taste their whiskey, distilled from specialty malts to keep it authentic and local Colorado grains.

Sample their gin from hand-picked juniper berries of Colorado’s western slope infused in Armagnac Gin.

Get your drink on at Peach Street Distillers!

Celebrate the Palisade Peach Festival

Every year, sweet fragrances fill Colorado, and its signature fruits become tasty and juicy.

The fruits beckon crowds of people who come for the Palisade Peach Festival.

The tradition of a peach harvest festival goes back to the early days of the 1800s when people celebrated Peach Days.

Every year, you will find a wealth of peach-infused delicacies: preserves, brandy, salsa, wine, ice cream, pie, and of course, lots of peaches.

There are many cooking demos and peach-eating contests, encouraging everyone to eat the peaches while they’re still flavorful and tasty.

At the festival, the Palisade Lions Club holds a pancake breakfast where the community gets together to consume sausage, eggs, and pancakes drenched in peach syrup.

Then the Town Grouch and the Peach Queen with her court parade through town, accompanied by live entertainment, a street dance, and an ice cream social.

Join the Palisade Peach Festival for a wonderful time with family or friends.

Enjoy Special Occasions at Varaison Vineyards and Winery

Varaison Vineyards and Winery is an elegant winery located outside downtown Palisade.

Ron and Kristin West purchased an elegant Victorian home in 2004, dreaming of turning the property into a vineyard and winery.

Over several decades, Ron had worked in the scientific side of making wine.

He wanted to create wines that he enjoyed.

The Wests transformed the estate into a world-class establishment.

Using all their skills, the family began to craft an educational experience, an approach to deriving winemaking inspiration from the Old World.

The Varaison wine experience combines tasting presentation, standout wine style, and a charming setting.

Judges warmly received Varaison’s varietals at the Paris Wine and Spirits Expo.

Today, you can enjoy your special occasions at Varaison in their event pavilion.

Likewise, check out the heritage rose garden, fire pit, hearth, and patio area.

Taste fine wines at the Varaison Vineyards and Winery.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Go Hiking at Mount Garfield

Mount Garfield on a sunny day

marekuliasz /

Are you seeking a bit more than an idle stroll around town?

For a strenuous and energetic hiking experience, try braving Mount Garfield, located 13 minutes northwest of Palisade.

It is the high point of the Book Cliffs, a mountain range that forms the northern boundary of the Grand Valley.

Settlers who moved into the Grand Valley in 1882 dedicated the mountain to the memory of President James Garfield, assassinated in 1881.

Rows of beautiful peach tree in front of Mount Garfield

Teri Virbickis /

Two trails lead to the top of Mount Garfield: the two-mile Mount Garfield trail and the 2.5-mile Gearhart Mine Trail.

Gearhart Mine Trail detours to a tramway and an old coal mine.

Meanwhile, the Mount Garfield trail leads hikers four miles to the top of the iconic mountain.

Once on top, you will see incredible views of the Grand Valley and the thriving fields of Clifton and Palisade.

Show Off Your Athletic Skills at Powderhorn Mountain Resort

Cable car in Powderhorn Mountain Resort

Linda Armstrong /

Powderhorn Mountain Resort is one of the most family-friendly ski resorts in the west, found in Mesa, Colorado.

It’s 35 minutes from Palisade, tucked along western Colorado’s beautiful Grand Mesa, offering 1600 acres of mountain terrain and endless stunning views.

Powderhorn receives 250 inches of light powder snow in winter; 70% of their runs are ideal for beginner or intermediate skiers or snowboarders.

Snow covered buildings in Powderhorn Mountain Resort

Linda Armstrong /

Winter activities include skiing, cross-country skiing, snow tubing or downhill sledding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and snowboarding.

Summer brings the Powderhorn Bike Park, which completes the mountain’s natural terrain and gives everyone an exhilarating ride.

The resort also has designated hiking areas with breathtaking views of the valley.

Entrance of Powderhorn Mountain Resort

Jeffrey Beall, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Their Scenic Chairlift Ride will lift you away to the top of the Flat Top Flyer of Powderhorn’s peak, where jaw-dropping views await.

Since the Grand Mesa is the world’s largest flat-topped fountain, western Colorado’s cliffs, mesas, valleys, and canyons provide unparalleled views.

Bring your winter sports gear to the Powderhorn Mountain Resort!

Final Thoughts

Find something out-of-this-world at Palisade with its sweet, plump fruits, incomparable vineyards, enigmatic valleys, and crisp desert evenings.

You will discover active recreations, festive events, beautiful nature, and some of the finest spirits in the country.

You rarely get to visit a magical and mysterious place like Palisade.

Book your trip now and discover the many things to do in Palisade for yourself.

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