Grand Junction named one of New York Times’ 52 places to go in 2023

Tucked between Madrid and La Guajira, Colombia, the Western Slope city of Grand Junction has landed on The New York Times’ “52 Places to Go in 2023” for its many surrounding natural features, outdoor attractions and vibrant downtown.

Citing the area’s similarities to Moab, Utah and Arches National Park, New York Times travel writer Elaine Glusac calls Grand Junction “a bonanza of canyons, arches and cliffs, without the hordes of tourists.”

Rattlesnake Canyon in the 123,700-acre McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area has the second-highest concentration of natural arches in the U.S., which are reachable by off-road vehicles or a 14-mile round-trip hike.

Also featured in the listing are the hiking trails in the Colorado National Monument about 10 minutes out of town.

The Palisade Plunge — a mountain bike trail from the top of 10,000-foot Grand Mesa down to the Colorado River — opened in 2021 and added a 32-mile trail and 6,814-foot descent to the area’s offerings.

“All trails lead back to downtown Grand Junction,” Glusac wrote. “Filled with shops, craft breweries, locavore restaurants and wine-tasting rooms from area vineyards.”

The area’s vineyards caused Food + Wine Magazine to recently dub Grand Junction as “the new Sonoma.”

The New York Times publishes its “52 Places to Go” list annually, and this year’s list also includes the likes of London, Istanbul, New Haven, Conn., and Monument Valley.

“Travel’s rebound has revealed the depth of our drive to explore the world,” the list reads. “Why do we travel? For food, culture, adventure, natural beauty? This year’s list has all those elements, and more.”

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