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Colorado Moms Popular Travel

Summer Fun with Kids on the Western Slope, Colorado: From A to Z

Western Slope Colorado Summer with Kids A to Z

This is a guest post from Veronica Daehn Harvey. Veronica lives in Western Colorado with her amazing husband and children. Read more from her at


Looking for activities to do with your kiddos on the Western Slope this summer? From the Colorado National Monument in Grand Junction to the hot springs in Ouray, this side of the Rockies has plenty to offer families looking for a little adventure. Check out our A- to Z-list of things to do on the Western Slope (and get your kids to keep track of everything you do on the list this summer!):

Western Slope Colorado Summer with Kids A to Z

A – Adventure Bound River Expeditions offers river rafting and inflatable kayaking trips that begin and end in Grand Junction or Steamboat Springs.


B – The Western Colorado Botanical Gardens in Grand Junction are a summer oasis of lush greenery, butterflies and more. Summertime at the gardens features live music one Saturday a month. Year-round, admission on the first Friday of each month is only $1.


C – The Children’s Nature Center in Fruita has amphibians, reptiles, lizards, snakes and more! 

Or if you’re in southwestern Colorado, check out Canyons of the Ancients National Monument near Dolores. It contains more than 6,000 archaeological sites representing Ancestral Puebloan and other Native American cultures.


D – Dinosaur Journey – This hands-on, interactive dinosaur museum in Fruita is sure to be a hit among any dinosaur lover!


E – Enstrom Candies. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried Enstrom almond toffee. Really. Stop by the main location in Grand Junction at 701 Colorado Ave. You can also get coffee, ice cream or an assortment of other treats. 


F – Fruita’s Mike the Headless Chicken Festival, May 16-17 features a pancake breakfast, a 5K run, live music and much more.


G – The Grand Mesa, just east of Grand Junction, is the world’s largest flat-top mountain. Much of the Mesa is within Grand Mesa National Forest. In the winter, snowshoe or ski. In the summer, hike, camp, fish or mountain bike and enjoy the Mesa’s more than 300 lakes. Hikers should explore Crag Crest Trail.


H- Hot Tomato Pizza in Fruita. Go there. You won’t be sad. After a day of Fruita mountain biking, this is the perfect place to relax and refuel. Delicious pizza, beer, wine, live music, atmosphere.


I – Imogene Pass Run. Not for the faint of heart (or couch potato), this run held every year on the Saturday following Labor Day weekend is 17 miles over Imogene Pass, which crosses a ridge connecting Ouray and Telluride. It is the highest mountain pass in the San Juan Mountains. 


J – James M. Robb Colorado River State Parks. From Fruita on the west end, to Island Acres on the east end and three stops in between, this is one park split into five sections (Island Acres, Corn Lake, Colorado River Wildlife Area, Connected Lakes and Fruita.) To visit the park, follow the Colorado River west from Debeque Canyon to Fruita, and enjoy five uniquely different river- and lake-based outdoor recreation opportunities. 


K – Devil’s Kitchen. This short and fairly easy hike in the Colorado National Monument is perfect for families, and the view at the top is priceless. 


L – Lavender farms. From Paonia to Fruita, the Western Slope has several lavender farms. Learn more about them and lavender at the 4th annual Lavender Festival July 11-13, 2014, in Palisade.


M – The John McConnell Math & Science Center in Grand Junction is a world-class center that integrates teaching and hands-on excitement into a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math learning environment encompassing students, educators, families and community. Open to the public.


N – Colorado National Monument. Absolutely breath-taking, the Colorado National Monument is a must-see for visitors to the Grand Junction area.


O – Ouray Hot Springs. Ouray’s sulfur-free hot springs are an attraction for many on the Western Slope. You won’t be sad, if you go.


P – Palisade. This Western Colorado gem on the eastern edge of the Grand Valley is worth spending at least a few hours in. Wineries, fruit stands, small town charm. Need more?


Q – Though tours are not available, driving by the Yule Marble Quarry operated by Colorado Stone Quarries in Marble might be worth a shot.


R – Grand Junction Rockies Baseball. With fireworks after Friday home games all season (including on the Fourth of July) and other promotions, a Rockies game is sure to be a fun family outing.


S – Steadfast Steeds Mustang Sanctuary in Glade Park is devoted to showcasing America’s wild horse as a living national treasure.


T – The Tabeguache (pronounced TAB-a-watch) Trail crosses public land for 142 miles, connecting Montrose and Grand Junction. It’s an adventurous trail best for users with knowledge of backcountry survival.


U – The Ute Learning Garden in Grand Junction is 2.5 acres of native plants the Utes used on their annual migrations. 


V – Vega State Park near Collbran sits at 8,000 feet on the northeast edge of Grand Mesa National Forest. Birding, fishing, hiking, camping and more.


W – Westlake Skateboard Park in Grand Junction is 18,000 square feet of fenced concrete bowls and street skate area.


X – X Lazy F Ranch in Crawford. Just look at the photos on the website. Plus, kids 12 and under are free.


Y – The Yampah Spa Vapor Caves in Glenwood Springs are natural geothermal steam baths. Enough said? Yes.


Z – Zipline over the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon near Glenwood Springs. Check out Glenwood Canyon Zipline Adventures.