From backcountry routes deep in the canyons to epic-length adventure races, the Grand Valley has it all!
When most non-residents hear the name "Colorado," their minds instantly envision soaring snowcapped mountain peaks, endless ski slopes, and alpine fields of wildflowers. But what most non-residents might not realize is just how incredibly diverse the state of Colorado is! In addition to an endless variety of mountains, this state is also home to endless expanses of rolling prairie, lush orchards, high elevation valleys, verdant meadows, and dry, sandy, hot deserts.
Colorado's Grand Valley dominates the desert-based recreation and tourism in the state. Every spring and fall, thousands upon thousands of visitors flock to Fruita and Grand Junction to camp in the warmth of the desert and recreate on the fabulous trails spread across the region. While most of the visitors may just drive over I-70 from Denver, the trails have gained such a reputation that tourists now fly from around the world to experience them.
Trail runners visiting the Grand Valley have a veritable smorgasbord of routes to choose from! While the multi-use trail systems around the valley all offer superb trail running opportunities, the creme de la creme can be found in Colorado National Monument.
"Colorado National Monument is an absolutely gorgeous place that very few hikers know about," writes Nancy Anderson. "It is Colorado's version of the Grand Canyon... without all the people!" For an in-depth look at Colorado National Monument, check out the dedicated guidebook, here.
Just outside of the Monument, McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area is home to trails that are even further under the radar. For instance, did you know that Rattlesnake Canyon Arches is home to the second-largest concentration of arches in the world, after Arches National Park? Bet not!
Finally, the race scene in the Grand Valley continues to grow with the Desert Rats races of multiple lengths, the Desert Rats Trail Running Festival, and so much more! Check out this guidebook for a deep dive on the Desert Rats Kokopelli 150 Adventure Race.
Explore these hidden wonders and so much more on your next trip to Fruita and Grand Junction!