Grand Junction, Colorado


Grand Junction is more than just the mid-way point between Denver and Salt Lake City. This small town on Colorado’s western slope is a great place to explore the great outdoors. Home to Colorado National Monument (23,000 acres of windows, arches, and canyons) and Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness Area, part of the 122,300-acre McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, Grand Junction boasts miles of hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking trails of varying length and difficulty. But that’s not all. Grand Valley, as the broader area is known, is situated on the banks of the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers making it an ideal destination for fishing and rafting, both white water and float trips. And it is a primary stop on the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway. While it may be hard to imagine, this rocky, semi-arid environment on the Uncompahgre Plateau once looked more like the mouth of the Mississippi River with conifers, cycads and ferns. But what makes Grand Junction and the surrounding area a great place to hunt rocks and find bones? Thanks to mountain uplift and erosion the area’s geological and paleontological history is today exposed. The Morrison formation, found here, is Late Jurassic sedimentary rock roughly 150 million years old!

History & Culture
The fruit growing region on Colorado's western slope known as Grand Valley was inhabited long before white farmers dug their first canal and irrigated the banks of the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers in 1882. Ute Indians and their puebloan ancestors have occupied areas of western Colorado and eastern Utah from at least 800 a.d. And while North America's largest dinosaurs can hardly be called inhabitants, they roamed Grand Junction and the surrounding roughly 150 million years ago. The Morrison formation, as the local rock is called, is late Jurassic.
Farming in Mesa County
Colorado State Univeristy
Ute Indians
Late Jurassic Dinosaurs
Utah Geological Survey
Online maps are a great travel planning resource and a great way to get the kids involved in a family vacation. Plot your route to Grand Junction and find your way when you arrive. Map hiking and biking trails in Grand Junction and Colorado National Monument and, in addition to locating the trailhead, discover which trails are easy, moderate, and extreme.
Books are a great way to introduce younger children to a new adventure and get teens and tweens ready for a family trip. Find recommended reading lists for adults and kids and learn more about the U.S. state of Colorado through guidebooks, novels and historical fiction. Books about dinosaurs will help kids get ready for a dinosaur dig whether they are budding paleontologists or simply interested in learning more about the beasts that roamed in the western United States.
Music & Sound
Music is a great way to introduce children to a local culture and embark on a journey through sound. Listen to Native American music, from hip-hop to pow wow, and tune in to storytelling online. Find cowboy song and listen to the tunes. Discover the sound of the Parasaurolophus and find out how scientists created the voice from a fossil. And gain insight to the U.S. state of Colorado in a different way.
Native American Music
Native Radio
Cowboy Song
Cowboy Cultural Music
Dino Sounds
Scientific American
Read Grand Junction newspapers online and in addition to finding out what's happening in Grand Valley discover what the locals are talking about. Getting the latest dinosaur news will help prepare you and the kids for the family trip. Discover the latest fossil finds. Find out what scientists and researchers are saying.
Grand Junction Newspapers
The Daily Sentinel
Dinosaur and Fossil News
Yahoo! News
Kids' Stuff
Online resources make learning about dinosaurs and landforms fun. Get tips for finding fossils and learn to identify what you discover. Find fun facts about dinosaurs, dig online and put your knowledge to the test. Follow paleontologists to a dig site in Mongolia and learn about more than dinosaur bones. Tune in to geology and discover the earth inside out. Find out what's below the dirt in your backyard and why landforms have funny shapes.
Associations and non-profit organizations can be a valuable resource as well as a means to get involved. Learn more about a few of the entities working to uncover and preserve Colorado's past.
Natural History
Museum of Western Colorado

Great family attractions in Grand Junction

Adventure Travel

Related tips for travel with kids

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Which of the following are descendents of the Anasazi:
Yanomamo Indians
Hopi Indians
Navajo Indians
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