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Must-see towns of the Western Slope/Arkansas Valley?

by ejalvirt Online Now Sep 25, 2006 at 7:36 PM

We're planning a first trip to the greater Grand Junction area and are wondering what little towns in the area (within say 75 miles) are worth visiting for a day or two and why. Many thanks for your help.

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  • Lacristina's Profile Photo

    RE: Must-see towns of the Western Slope/Arkansas Valley?

    by Lacristina Online Now Sep 25, 2006 at 9:00 PM

    Just came back from a trip through Utah and Colorado.

    There's no reason to see Thompson Springs, Utah....BUT just north of it are the most and the best petroglyphs I have ever seen.

    About 75 miles west of Grand Junction on Interstate 70 - take the exit at Thompson Springs. Follow the main road north through town (which is just a few houses). At the end of town, keep following the road and you'll come to a sign on the right that says "Sego Canyon, Indian Writings, 3 miles." Sure enough, in three miles you'll come to a picnic parking area on the left. Be sure to follow the path all the way around as there are three large areas of drawings. It is really fabulous and very well signed with great explanations of what you're seeing.

    And now, you're only about a half hour from Arches National Park, to the south. It would be CRIMINAL not to see it while you're in the area.

    Frankly, Moab itself isn't that charming, but if you go there (just a couple of miles from the entrance to Arches), you could drive back to Grand Junction on Colorado Highway 128 which is spectacular!!!! It follows the Colorado River and it will leave you breathless.

    Of course, there's also the Rim Drive through Colorado National Monument just outside Grand Junction.


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  • bocmaxima's Profile Photo

    RE: Must-see towns of the Western Slope/Arkansas Valley?

    by bocmaxima Online Now Sep 26, 2006 at 12:43 PM

    There's Cisco, Utah. It's a ghost town with a good amount of buildings a few miles off of I-70 west of GJ. Several movies were filmed there: "Thelma & Louise" (not sure what part), "Vanishing Point" (the end sequence) and "Don't Come Knocking" (when he trades his boots and spurs). The road in/out follows the river and is really gorgeous. If you're headed south to Arches anyway (which, like Lacristina said, you totally should) it works as a great break from the interstate. There's nothing there though, so it's just a "on the way to something else" stop.
    Although very touristy, Glenwood Springs is a beautiful town.
    You could also head north to Dinosaur National Monument, which is awesome, although you again run into the problem of desolation and therefore lack of accomodations, unless you're okay with camping.
    Craig is also a pretty nice town, and I personally like Rock Springs, WY if you're willing to drive that far north.
    Telluride is also very cool, but that's pretty far south.
    HTH

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  • RE: Must-see towns of the Western Slope/Arkansas Valley?

    by LinColorado Online Now Sep 27, 2006 at 3:02 PM

    If I had to choose 1 place I would go to Telluride. It's the best town in Colorado. It's located in a valley surrounded by some of Colorado's most beautiful mountains. Activities include hiking (of course), renting a 4x4 to explore the surrounding area, skiing, Colorado's highest waterfall, free gondola up the mountain, etc. If you want to take a day to just drive and see some great scenery take the Telluride/Durango/Ouray loop. Along the way you can see Mesa Verde.

    I also like Arches and Canyonlands area in Utah, so I ditto that.

    I was a bit confused about what is the Arkansas Valley. Arkansas Valley around here usually means the Arkansas River Valley which is on the Front Range and Sawatch Range, not the Western Slope. Towns include Canon City, Salida, Buena Vista. All these are pretty scenic, but the towns are not known as "must see" towns.

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  • RE: RE: Must-see towns of the Western Slope/Arkansas Valley?

    by LinColorado Online Now Sep 27, 2006 at 3:05 PM

    I just noticed your 75 mile limit. Telluride is about 125 miles away from Grand Junction.

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  • RE: Must-see towns of the Western Slope/Arkansas Valley?

    by WingLady Online Now Sep 30, 2006 at 6:55 AM

    Montrose -- Black Canyon of the Gunnison
    Ouray -- the "Little Switzerland" of America -- possibly the most beautiful setting in all of Colorado
    Fruita -- Colorado National Monument

    Did you mean the Grand Valley? The Arkansas Valley is a considerable distance from Grand Junction and the western slope in general.

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