It’s not hard to guess how Cedaredge got its name: It’s a town established at the edge of the cedars growing on the southern slopes of Grand Mesa.
The name origins may be obvious, but Cedaredge has long been a town of charm that unfurls at its own pace, subtly and quietly. All it takes, though, is beholding a single sunset over one of the area’s many apple orchards to know that this place is special.
With a population of a little more than 2,200 and a Colorado-worthy elevation of 6,264 feet, Cedaredge has a cozy small-town charm and then sends visitors off into the spectacular outdoor panorama that probably drew them to western Colorado in the first place.
“Gosh, we’re pretty cool up here,” said Linda Palmer, co-administrator of the Cedaredge Chamber of Commerce. “Of course we have a lovely golf course, so golfing is a big draw, there’s hiking, camping, the Pioneer Town. In fact, the museum here in the old Pioneer Town that you can walk through is probably the best I’ve seen in the state. We just have lots to do, we have beautiful trees, we have a beautiful town park, come and have a picnic.”
A longtime home to Ute tribes, Cedaredge saw its first white settlers in the late 1800s. In 1882, the first fruit trees were planted in the Surface Creek Valley and by 1893 fruit growers from the area were winning awards at the World’s Fair in Chicago.
A watershed year came in 1895, when Henry Stolte and J. H. Wetterich planted the first commercial apple orchards north of Cedaredge. Since that time, Cedaredge has been known regionally and statewide for its apples, though in recent years more vineyards have taken root as Cedaredge becomes known for its wine.
Palmer cited wine and orchard tours among the draws for the area, “but this is also a place where you can just get on a bike and ride around through the countryside because it’s so beautiful.
“You can come just stroll down the street,” Palmer said. “It’s a nice feel because it’s not rushed, you can just slow down and enjoy.”
Up the hill: Cedaredge is at the base of Grand Mesa, the world’s largest flat-top mountain. A drive up and over Grand Mesa on Colorado Highway 65 is lovely any time of year, but summer is special because visitors can enjoy the 300 lakes and miles of trails for hiking, biking and riding ATVs. (fs.usda.gov/gmug) Step into history: Cedaredge’s Pioneer Town, created by the Surface Creek Valley Historical Society and many community volunteers, is an historical recreation of 24 buildings highlighting the area’s history from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. Pioneer Town, 338 S. Grand Mesa Drive, open for the season May 23. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Monday to Saturday and 1–4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for children 8–17. Children under 8 are admitted free. (970-856-4769, pioneertown.org)
Apple a day: Cedaredge’s biggest annual event is AppleFest, set for Oct. 3–4 in Cedaredge Town Park. There will be live music, entertainment, vendors, arts and crafts, a chili supper Oct. 1 and a gala Oct. 2. (cedaredgechamber. com/applefest, applefestmusic.net)
Go local: Local fruits and vegetables, local arts, local crafts, local vibes can be had at the Cedaredge Main Street Farmers Market. It runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Saturday from May through mid-October.
Play 18: There’s golf, and then there’s golf with a scenic background so lovely that it looks like a film set. The Cedaredge Golf Club, 500 S.E. Jay Ave., benefits from such a scenic situation. So, play a leisurely nine or 18 holes and try not to miss the ball when the views are too distracting.
(970-856-7781, cedaredgegolf.com) Find art in a shed: The Apple Shed is home to a fine art gallery and boutique shops. This former apple packing shed has been transformed into a place for watercolors and oils, sculpture, wine, fashion, artisan work and gourmet foods.
Taste a little wine: The Surface Creek Valley is a muststop on any wine tour of western Colorado. And those willing to branch out also can enjoy cider made with apples and pears grown right there in the valley, along with wine created from grapes grown in and around Cedaredge. A Cedaredge wine tour could include:
. Stoney Mesa Winery/Ptarmigan Vineyards, 16199 Happy Hollow Road. Stoney Mesa winemakers create a variety of wines and blends, from merlot to pinot noir. The tasting room is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. year-round.
. Blossomwood Cidery, 794 N.E. Indian Camp Ave.
Blossomwood features ciders created in the French tradition, as well as a gift shop offering an array of apple products. The tasting room is open from 12–4 p.m. June through November and by appointment in the off season. (970-856-3220, blossomwoodcidery.com)
. Red Mountain Ranches, 19458 Colorado Highway 65.
Local products, including wine and honey, for sale in the gift shop, as well as fruits and veggies grown there on the farm. (970-856-3803) “Yee-haw!” Cedaredge is home to the longest-running Little Britches Rodeo in America. This year it will be July 11–12 at the Cedaredge Rodeo Grounds, 24114 Cedar Mesa Road. The all-day annual event features children ages 4–18 competing in events ranging from mutton bustin’ to bull riding, barrel racing and team roping.