Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Grand Junction, CO

  • Published 2023/01/09

Grand Junction is one of the best places to visit in Colorado.

It is the largest municipality outside the Front Range Corridor.

This small but lively home-rule municipality serves as the county seat of Mesa County.

Grand Junction prides itself on its council-manager form of government, proving that it is beautiful and well-run.

With many free things to do, this central commercial and transportation hub between the Green River and the Continental Divide is ideal for a weekend getaway or a spur-of-the-moment adventure.

From short hikes to wildlife viewing spots, Grand Junction offers locals and visitors many activities, all amidst gorgeous mountain views!

Here are the free things to do in Grand Junction, Colorado:

Explore the Grand Mesa

Scenic view of Grand Mesa

Chris Anthony Brian /

Spanning hundreds of square miles in the Colorado Rockies, Grand Mesa is a remarkable natural formation with its flat top and high cliff sides.

As the biggest flat mountain top worldwide, Grand Mesa features an abundance of outdoor activities available year-round.

During the summer months, you can go boating, fishing, wildlife watching, or even take a hike along one of the many mesa trails that boast incredible views at every turn.

The winter brings a blanket of snow perfect for skiing and snowmobiling.

View from Grand Mesa's summit

Jeremy Janus /

Located at elevations reaching 11,000 feet, visitors can explore more than 300 pristine alpine lakes for fishing and wild swimming.

You can also take on the many trails for biking or hiking that wind through evergreens and other local vegetation.

There are also plenty of opportunities to glimpse some of Colorado’s native species, such as elk, bears, Colorado Bison, and bighorn sheep.

Experience an adventure like no other by exploring Grand Mesa, a true jewel in Colorado’s stunning landscapes.

Have a Fun Picnic at the Canyon View Park

Nestled in the hills, Canyon View Park is a scenic outdoor adventure playground.

Its sprawling grounds boast plenty of opportunities to explore and enjoy nature.

With generous open spaces, sheltered picnic areas, accessible playground facilities, and plenty of courts and fields.

Enjoy an outdoor barbecue followed by a baseball game or catch up with friends.

Play some sand volleyball before exploring the trails or strolling around the pond.

With its hilltop views and abundance of activities, it’s no surprise that Canyon View Park has become a much-loved retreat for many years.

Walk along the Big Dominguez Canyon Wilderness

Follow along the rim of Big Dominguez Canyon Wilderness, a haven of geological majesty.

Witness the awe-inspiring beauty of sweeping panoramic vistas, towering mesas, and deep red rocks.

Admire nature’s bounty as you catch glimpses of wildlife – from deer and moose to mountain lions and wild turkeys – that are rarely seen elsewhere.

Visit Big Dominguez Canyon Wilderness’ life-giving springs, which flow all year round to nurture the land with clean water and brimming beauty.

This slice of paradise is perfect for those seeking a peaceful escape from nature.

Rediscover yourself in the variegated landscape and find joy among the intricate trails that challenge, inspire, and reward all who traverse them.

Conquer the Tabeguache Trail

The 142-mile Tabeguache Trail traverses a gorgeous, untamed desert landscape between Grand Junction and Montrose.

If you’re up for the challenge of a multi-day trip, you will be rewarded with views of canyons and lakes along the trail, made all the more stunning by the relative lack of human presence.

However, visitors should bring lots of water and survival equipment, such as compasses or GPS.

When traveling throughout the hunting seasons, wearing orange-colored caps or coats is essential so hunters can distinguish you from game.

Depending on the conditions, the terrain may be too muddy for mountain bikes or other vehicles, so check the weather reports before you go to the Tabeguache Trail.

Stroll through Downtown Grand Junction

Daytime view of Grand Junction Downtown

randy andy /

Stroll through the stunning Downtown Grand Junction in the heart of Colorado’s western gateway.

This area has something for everyone, from old-fashioned architecture to modern businesses and restaurants.

Many locals and visitors time their visits to enjoy everything this bustling municipality offers.

Sculptures at Grand Junction Downtown

randy andy /

The unique sculptures that line Main Street provides a whimsical touch, while the historic buildings house fantastic restaurants and shops that showcase what this delightful town offers.

Get lost in the maze of unique stores, and marvel at the souvenirs, outdoor apparel, custom jewelry, and art.

Whether you’re looking for an adventure or want to explore Grand Junction, take a walk downtown.

Shops along Grand Junction Downtown

Michael Rosebrock /

Learn a New Sport at Columbine Park

Columbine Park is the perfect spot to learn a new sport.

Spanning 12 acres, it has all the facilities you need for an active and enjoyable experience.

Plus, the park offers more than just sports.

Consider having a picnic with your family at one of the tables throughout the grounds.

There’s also an open green space for informal socializing and a playground for the kids.

If you want to stay longer, restrooms, a shelter, and softball fields are available on-site.

Columbine Park should provide a great experience, whether playing basketball or volleyball or just breathing the fresh air.

Join the First Fridays in Grand Junction

First Fridays in Grand Junction offer a fantastic opportunity to discover the area’s distinct and creative talents.

Various galleries and art studios open their doors from early to late evening, with plenty of friendly faces, food, and beverages.

First Friday gatherings are a joyous atmosphere, where visitors can walk between venues, enjoy plenty of food and beverages, and mingle with other artists.

See works by famous regional artists such as Terry Shepherd, or join the local artist group the Outsiders for a fantastic night exploring talents from the area.

All you need to do is show up at the Grand Junction Art Center, and the staff will be happy to give directions.

Take advantage of this cultural experience immersed in creative energy!

Make an Adventure of the Colorado Riverfront Trail

Exploring picturesque western Colorado is as easy and enjoyable as ever, thanks to the Colorado Riverfront Trail.

The trail winds along the shores of the Colorado River, offering riders and hikers unparalleled views of Grand Valley’s breathtaking scenery.

This scenic stretch of concrete runs from Loma to Fruita, Grand Junction, and Palisade.

With its abundance of green foliage drawing a sharp contrast against the steep canyons of the Colorado National Monument, you’ll enjoy a panoramic experience that presents photo opportunities along the way.

Along this incredible landscape, you’ll find lakes, parks, and other recreational facilities backed by Walter Walker State Wildlife Area.

It is an equally delightful riverside paradise complementing your journey even further.

Whatever sort of outdoor adventure you seek in Western Colorado will certainly be made all the richer with a visit to the magical Colorado Riverfront Trail.

Explore the Gorgeous Crag Crest Trail

The Crag Crest Trail in Colorado’s Grand Mesa is known for its stunning beauty, with majestic rock formations, bountiful forests, and sweeping valleys.

As a challenging ten-mile loop, the Crag Crest Trail is marked as an official National Recreation Trail, perfect for hikers and bikers alike.

There are two access points to begin your exploration of the trail; both trailheads feature incredible views that can only be found in this part of Colorado.

The grand reward, however, awaits at the top of the path: a spectacular natural sight that reveals miles of green land before you.

The top section of the trail features an exciting and challenging terrain that promises a unique view with every turn.

With its breathtaking views and unique nature, this trail is one-of-a-kind and worth exploring!

Visit the Cross Orchards Historic Site

Welcome sign of Cross Orchards Historic Site

Jeffrey Beall, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Step back in time at the Cross Orchards Historic Site, a living history museum showcasing how life was lived centuries ago.

Explore the gorgeous architecture of bygone eras and peruse vintage locomotives, machinery, and farming artifacts while taking in the scenic countryside.

Initially built in the 1890s, this majestic barn and bunkhouse have been nationally recognized for their historical significance.

They are now on the National Register of Historic Places.

The farm, which currently spans 25 acres and features several supplementary displays, has undergone renovations to give it a look typical of the early 20th century.

Visitors can travel back in time and experience living in the Grand Valley in the 1900s thanks to costumed guides.

Cross Orchards Historic Site is the perfect place to explore and create lasting memories, as it offers endless possibilities for learning and fun!

Go Skating at the Eagle Rim Skateboard Park

Atop the mighty Colorado River’s cliff, Eagle Rim Skateboard Park is a 9,000-square-foot paradise for all visitors.

Eagle Rim Skateboard Park offers something for every type of skateboarding enthusiast, with an abundance of thrilling ramps and tracks to explore.

Whether you’re into inline skating or grind-box challenges, prepare for a delightful afternoon.

This park also offers grills, horseshoe pits, picnic areas, play structures, open areas, and a trail system connecting directly to downtown Grand Junction and beyond.

After getting your fill of adventure on wheels, you can also rest in the adjacent park shelter with restroom facilities, drinks, and shade.

Bond with Your Dog at the Canyon View Park Dog Park

Located at the northernmost tip of Canyon View Park, the 3.2-acre Canyon View Dog Park is an ideal destination for dog lovers and their pups.

Surrounded by a six-foot chain-link gate, Canyon View Dog Park features two double-gated entry points containing distinct areas for both small and large dogs.

This Meadows-Esque paradise provides ample space for pups to run free.

Owners must take precautions before allowing their furry friends to run free in the off-leash area.

They must unleash them before entering to avoid any potential clashes or confrontations between pups.

In this safe space, canine companions can run without worry, and owners can breathe easily, knowing no harm will come to their beloved pets.

People with four-legged besties shouldn’t miss this wonderful amenity Canyon View provides!

Discover the Charms of the Kindred Reserve Open Space Park

The first open space park in Grand Junction, aptly named Kindred Reserve Open Space Park, is a beautiful gem situated at South Broadway.

Spanning 37 acres with 1.75 miles of dirt paths, it’s no surprise that Kindred Reserve Open Space Park provides an ideal environment for an array of outdoor activities.

Enjoy hiking and jogging to bird-watching across the beautiful Book Cliffs and Grand Mesa backdrop.

The area is also abundant with native animals and several species of birds to satisfy wildlife enthusiasts.

This blanketed natural haven has become an integral part of the local community and bears an inspiring backstory.

What was once a lonely parcel of land is now teeming with nature-seekers thanks to grassroots efforts by the city’s residents to support its preservation and protection for years to come.

This shows that Grand Junction citizens are unified in their commitment to preserving its rich open spaces for generations.

Discover Las Colonias Park

Aerial view of Las Colonias Park

Mad Squid Productions /

Located just outside downtown Grand Junction, Las Colonias Park is a 130-acre paradise that offers many activities and great views, making it a recreational destination for all ages.

Whether you want to enjoy a leisurely family picnic, an adventurous bike ride, or catch your dinner, there’s something to do and enjoy at this park.

With plenty of open space, amenities such as grills and restrooms, plus fun activities like playgrounds, fishing spots, and skate parks, it’s a surefire way to guarantee lasting memories.

Even though the park is firmly rooted in modern times, its wide range of options also pays homage to its legendary past.

Las Colonias Park is along the bluffs of the Colorado River near one of Grand Junction’s famous landmarks, the junction between Gunnison and Colorado Rivers.

Connecting with the community via an extensive Riverfront Trail system allows for endless exploration and wonderful experiences against stunning scenery.

Other Things to Do Nearby

See the Petroglyphs at the Ute Petroglyph/Palisade Rim Trail

Just off the US Highway 6 and directly east of the Colorado town of Palisade is where you’ll find the Ute Petroglyph/Palisade Rim Trail.

The route moves up a hill on the opposite side of the waterway to a plateau where Ute Indians may have occasionally made a camp.

Located roughly 20 minutes from Grand Junction, the Ute Petroglyph/Palisade Rim Trail begins at the southernmost parking area.

Hikers go on this trail daily to see the engraved carvings on a few of the rocks, called petroglyphs.

Once you’ve ascended the slopes to the semi-level region at the summit, you can see the cliffs where the petroglyphs are.

You should follow the path surrounding the cliffs to the left, continue with the shorter trail leading up to the rocks, and start to notice the rock art mainly depicting deer.

Final Thoughts

Grand Junction is a municipality of historic charm and attractions.

Whether you want to stay a few days or take a weekend visit, you should find something of value during your stay in Grand Junction.

Explore the free things to do in Grand Junction, Colorado!

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