Grand Junction, Moab make list of top desert towns

Grand Junction is among 14 places named “America’s Coolest Desert Towns” in the April edition of Travel+Leisure magazine.

The getaway-focused publication picked Grand Junction as a top desert destination for sitting “at the crossroads of some of the West’s most grandiose natural sites,” including Colorado National Monument, the Colorado River, Grand Mesa, and the Little Bookcliffs. The magazine also highlighted local vineyards and peach orchards and proposed tourists check out art on Main Street. The magazine suggested guests stay at The Chateau at Two Rivers Winery.

Nearby Moab, Utah, also made the list of top desert destinations, as well as St. George, Utah; Taos and Silver City, N.M.; Tubac and Winslow, Ariz.; Marfa and Terlingua, Texas; Borrego Springs and Palm Springs, Calif.; Virginia City, Nev.; Bend, Ore.; and Yakima, Wash.

The coverage “is worth its weight in gold” for publicizing Grand Junction tourism opportunities just before people embark on summer travel plans, according to Barb Bowman, director of sales and division manager for the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau. Peak tourism months for the Grand Valley are March through October, she said.

Bowman said it helps that the article came out around the same time an online Sunset magazine article highlighted Grand Valley wine country. featured Carlson Vineyards, Grande River Vineyards and Two Rivers Winery in the article “Colorado: The next wine country,” and listed the Grand Valley as one of its “Top 15 secret wine country escapes.”

“It gives us a better opportunity to capture more travelers who are coming to Colorado. Instead of just going to Aspen or Denver or other cities, now Grand Junction becomes one of the opportunities,” Bowman said.

Although she’s not sure exactly how many tourists the articles will attract, Bowman said people who come to the visitor’s center have said in the past they made travel plans based on articles they read about the Grand Valley in various publications.

“These are two top publications in the U.S. that any of our peers would forever want to be in,” Bowman said of Sunset and Travel+Leisure.


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