In my previous post, it appeared that we stayed at James Robb State Park for more than 14 days. The reality was we moved to Junction West RV Park in Grand Junction for a week after reaching the 14-day limit, then we returned to James Robb for our final 14 days. Staying at Junction West was nice, for it was closer to the town of Palisade where we made several visits.
Known as the peach and wine capital of Colorado, Palisade is nestled along the Colorado River and flanked by majestic cliffs and mesas. It’s also home to an array of fruits and vegetables, but the star of that group is the sweet and luscious peach! We arrived at the height of peach season, and Palisade, along with the nearby cities of Grand Junction and Fruita, are dotted with roadside stands filled with fresh, local produce.
One Sunday morning found us strolling through the Palisade farmers market in the heart of fruit and wine country. Everywhere we looked there was a peach concoction of some sort, and we liked all of them! Palisade lived up to being called a peach of a town.
We drove the Palisade Fruit and Wine Byway while wine tasting. Kevin and Laura first introduced us to Palisade wine when we had dinner and a bottle of Maison la Belle Vie with them at Island Park, Idaho. We liked it so much that we vowed to visit the winery when we got to Palisade. But one winery wasn’t enough, so we checked out Hermosa Vineyards a few miles down the road as well. While smacking our lips appreciatively of the wines, we thought Palisade red wines could go toe to toe with the high-end reds we’ve had in California!
Besides peaches and wine, Palisade also has lots of options for outdoor fun. For us that meant several good hiking trails to keep our blood flowing – when we weren’t drinking wine or beer. Two trails offered great vistas of Palisade and Grand Valley, along with the surrounding cliffs for which the town is named.
Palisade Rim Trail
This beautiful trail at the base of Little Book Cliffs took us up and around the southern edge of the cliffs, with phenomenal views of the wine country and the Colorado River. As a bonus we discovered some petroglyphs along the trail:
We would not have known there’s a hiking trail on Mount Garfield, or even the name of the mountain, had it not been for the owner of an Asian market where we shopped. When we mentioned to her that we’re hikers she suggested Mount Garfield and Lunch Loops trails. So that’s the name of that big mountain that can be seen from every vantage point in the valley. Duh!
When we returned home we immediately researched the trail and learned that it’s rated as difficult, with a 2,000′ elevation gain in 2 miles and some hazardous sections. Steve and I looked at each other and blurted out, “let’s do it!”
The hike along the ridge was steep and strenuous. Once we reached the rocky hillside after the ridge, we crossed a nice meadow and began another ascent.
After the excitement of making it to the top, we enjoyed lunch with spectacular views of the nearby badlands, the valley to the south, Grand Junction to the west and Colorado National Monument in the distance:
The trek to Mount Garfield was short but challenging. For us it was the gnarliest and most gratifying hike we’ve done since Picacho Peak kicked our butts in 2013.
Twenty years ago today Steve and I first set eyes on each other, and seven years later to the day we were married. So this post is a dual anniversary for us – here’s to another wonderful 20 years!
Next up: The top and bottom of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison