Palisade, CO: Colorado National Monument

 Well, “hay” there, minions!  We’re coming at ya from Palisade, in the Grand Valley of Western Colorado.

Palisade is part of the Palisade/Grand Junction/Fruita trifecta of quintessential Colorado cities, with wide open views, outdoor recreation galore, and more wineries that you can shake a grape at:  more than a quarter of the state’s wineries are here! 

The landscape here is littered with darling little fruit stands, this being a peachy place for peach orchards.  

The Palisade Basecamp campground is hard not to like, given its natural setting, as well as its convenient location.  

Next door, a marijuana dispensary.  That’s right, the “Happy Camper” dispensary is next door to a campground!  That’s pure marketing gold, regardless of how you feel about marijuana!

Next door to the other side, Colterris Vineyards, one of the nicest wineries in town, offers tasting flights of 100% locally-produced wines amongst the vines. 

Perhaps this winery was a little too wonderful, as I don’t remember much of the 2nd half of the day. 

Above: 2020, Palisade, Colorado. Below: 2018, Monteforialle, Italy.

Apparently “the hills are alive” after heavy wine tasting, no matter where I am, amiright Julie Andrews?

One night, Colterris hosted a live concert with an Eagles tribute band.  We had the best seat in the house … at our RV!  We could hear the music easily with the winery being right next door.  

Our primary reason for the stay in Palisade was to see the gorgeous nearby Colorado National Monument.

The Rim Rock Drive is 33 twisty, turny miles with multiple pullouts and scenic viewpoints.  

Colorado literally means “colored red,” and you’re immediately reminded of that seeing the red-rock monoliths and canyons.

Though there are some hiking trails throughout, it is certainly the kind of place where you can enjoy a “windshield tour” and not even have to feel guilty about it.

Many hardy souls take on Rim Rock Drive, a trophy ride for roadies, on two wheels.  This is not for the faint of heart, or the out of shape … you’ll be going up and down huge elevation changes throughout!

Popular viewpoints include Independence Monument, the largest free-standing rock formation in the park at 450 feet high.

The Coke Ovens, named for their resemblance to the man-made structures used to produce clean-burning fuel from coal of the same name (not the ubiquitous drug of the 70’s), are very unusual formations.

The roads in Colorado National Monument resemble this trip so far … many unexpected twists and turns (Covid closures, snow in September, wildfire smoke rerouting the entire last month of the trip), but around every new bend … unexpected delights!

Up next: heading into Utah for the final three weeks of this trip! Expect many other natural treasures ahead, including Capitol Reef National Park, Goblin Valley State Park, Grand Escalante National Monument, and so much more!  Thanks for touring along!

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