Hiking, Backpacking, and More in the Grand Valley
Ah, shoulder season. The often muddy “in-between” season that frustrates outdoor lovers around the state. While getting your outdoor fix during shoulder season can be frustrating, you’re not completely out of luck.
Many of your favorite camping and hiking destinations might be off the table, but don’t forget that this is THE time to hit the desert. It’s not too hot, it’s not too cold, and the variety of activities on offer in and around the Grand Valley is just right.
If you’re ready for a shoulder season adventure, here are some ideas to jumpstart the planning process.
Visit the Colorado National Monument
In Grand Junction, we’re lucky to have this stunning slice of wilderness right in our backyards. Spring is an excellent time to explore the park – it can get too hot during the summer. If you’re lucky, the early wildflowers might be in bloom.
This guide for visiting the Monument focuses on winter, but many of the tips also apply in shoulder season.
Go for a hike
One of the best things about living in the Grand Valley is year-round access to hiking trails. Many of the area’s trails stay nice and dry throughout the spring — a welcome break from the mud and ice found higher in the mountains this time of year.
These dog-friendly hikes are perfect for canine and human members of the family alike, so get out your hiking shoes and hit the trails.
Get your mountain bike ready
It’s no surprise that shoulder season is also a wonderful time for mountain biking, and there’s no shortage of trails in the area. Like hiking and backpacking, get some time on the trails early before the heat of summer sets in.
Make a visit to canyon country
We’re not talking about the more well-known canyons over in Utah! If you haven’t been to the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness yet, plan a trip this spring. It’s a quick 15 miles west of Grand Junction and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, meaning free, dispersed camping options are plentiful.
You could spend months exploring the canyon and surrounding area. Just remember to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated while enjoying this dry landscape.
Wherever you go, don’t forget layers
Even if you’ve been in Colorado for decades, this reminder is always useful. The weather can change quickly and you want to be prepared, so pack extra layers in your backpack to be on the safe side. If a surprise snow or rain storm rolls through while you’re enjoying shoulder season in the Grand Valley, you’ll stay warm and dry.