Camping in Grand Junction’s Backyard!
Right out the door in Grand Junction there are great places to camp within 20 miles. Plenty of scenery to enjoy, outdoor sports and activities abound. The closest is Colorado National Monument, offering a scenic loop drive, or fabulous bike loop and miles of hiking trails for all levels. The steep canyon walls and rock formations are incredible, offering infinite photographic opportunities. Bighorn Sheep are prevalent on rocky ledges. Stop often and look! Camping at the Saddlehorn Campground offers sites amongst Juniper and Pinon Pine in this spectacular monument.
Mesa County is fortunate to have The Colorado River State Park – now renamed James M. Robb – Colorado River State Park in 2005, to honor a visionary. Mr. Robb was instrumental in creating this “string of pearls,” or five distinct sections, in the park. 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. 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. Two areas have camping along river sections, Fruita and Palisade. These scenic campgrounds are deluxe with water and electric hook-ups, showers, boating, fishing, bike paths, picnic and play areas.
Further to the west and north of Fruita lies Highline Lake State Park with a green grassy area between sites in the campground and along the lake’s picnic ground sloping to the beach. Many campsites are shaded by tall mature cottonwoods. The campground offers boating, swimming, fishing, mountain bike / hiking trail, picnic area and scenic views of the Bookcliffs.
Colorado National Monument, Fruita, CO
Colorado National Monument is a National Park Service unit near the city of Grand Junction, Colorado. Sheer-walled canyons cut deep into sandstone and granite–gneiss–schist rock formations. 20 mile drive from east entrance to west entrance. Camping is on the west side of the Monument in Saddlehorn Campground. Visitor’s center located in the park, 5 miles from the west entrance. Information on hiking trails, rock formations, gift shop, as well as geological display in museum area and video are available in the visitor’s center.
Address: Rim Rock Drive, Fruita, CO 81521
Hours: Open 24 hours
Established: May 24, 1911
Phone: (970) 858-3617
Reservations: National Park Service
Saddlehorn Campground is located near the Saddlehorn Visitor Center, four miles from the west entrance (near Fruita, CO), and is the only established campground within the Monument.
- A-Loop is open year round, first-come, first-served basis
- B-loop is reservable Mid-March through October. Reserve through www.recreation.gov or 1-877-444-6777
- C-Loop is designed for group camping as well as individual camping. Groups of 15 or more people require reservations through the monument by calling 970-858-3617 Ext. 300
- Sites are suitable for tents and recreational vehicles (length limit is 40 feet), with some pull-through sites
- Restrooms have flush toilets and water available during the summer
- Each site includes a picnic table, charcoal-only grill, and a parking area
- No electric hookups or showers
- Wood fires are not permitted anywhere in the monument
Colorado River State Park, Fruita, CO
The Fruita Section is in the City of Fruita, ½ mile south of exit 19, off of Interstate 70. The Colorado National Monument, McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area and a vast network of mountain bike trails are a short drive away. View the Fruita section map.
The Fruita section campground provides:
- A visitor center and bookstore.
- Playgrounds, great fishing, paved bike path to Fruita and 30 miles of river front
- Walking distance to the Dinosaur Journey Museum, shopping and restaurants
- Views of the Grand Valley, the Bookcliffs and Colorado National Monument
- Full hook-up or electric hook-up.
- Walk-in tent camping.
- Address: 595 595 Highway 340, Fruita, CO 81521
Hours: Closes 10PM
Reservations: 1-800-678-2267 or 303-470-1144 Denver Area
Website: James M. Robb State Park
Colorado River State Park, Island Acres Section, Palisade, CO
The Island Acres section is just east of Palisade at exit 47 from Interstate 70. Nestled along the Colorado River in Debeque Canyon, Island Acres offers opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing and swimming.
The Island Acres section campground provides:
- A spectacular backdrop of the surrounding canyon walls and maybe even a glimpse of wild horses or Big Horn sheep
- Three fishing lakes, two of which are stocked
- A fourth lake, the “Swimmin’ Hole,” with a sandy beach and natural lake swimming
- Full hook-up or electric hook-up sites.
- Tent camping sites
- Two playgrounds
- First time visitors should be aware the campground is located adjacent to the Interstate and train tracks. View the Island Acres campground map. However, most folks tune out any noise and enjoy the scenery. Reservations for Island Acres are recommended for summer weekends, during community events, stays of more than three nights or for a particular site.
- Address: 1055 I-70, Palisade, CO 81526
Hours: Open Year Round
Phone: (970) 464-0548
Reservations Reserve America: Reservations page or call 1-800-678-2267 or 303-470-1144 Denver Area.
Highline State Park, Loma, CO
An oasis in the desert, Highline Lake is the recreation epicenter for the Grand Valley with two lakes, lush grass, trails and trees.
No matter the season, Highline Lake State Park is a diverse and welcome retreat. Connected to miles of trails and close to communities, the park makes an ideal base camp for exploring the Grand Junction area. Whether passing through on mountain bikes, or as an end destination, the park welcomes campers, anglers, families and groups.
Birders have plenty to see here. The Audubon Society designated the park an important bird area; thousands migrate through the area every winter.
- 36 campsites are equipped with a grill, fire ring, and picnic table.
- Tent or RV sites, most are a mix of sun and shade.
- Boating, fishing, swimming, mountain bike trails, hiking, birding.
- There are no electrical hook-ups.
- Capacity for each campsite is six people.
- Campers must have a camping permit and a parks pass.
- RVs are not allowed on the grass.
- There are three walk-up tent-only sites between sites 8 and 14.
- Tents may set up anywhere in the grassy areas behind the campsite as long as they are not encroaching on another campsite.
- Address: 1800 11 8/10 Rd, Loma, CO 81524
Reservations Online Link
Website: Highline State Park
Take the Loma exit from I-70, turning onto Highway 139 North. Travel 6 miles to Q Road, then turn left onto Q Road. At 11.8 Road, turn right and follow 11.8 Road to the East park entrance.
Other areas to check out:
- Sweitzer Lake State Park, Delta, CO
- Vega State Park, Colbran, CO
- Rifle Falls State Park, Rifle, CO
- Harvey Gap State Park, Silt, CO
- Ridgeway State Park, Ridgeway, CO
- Paonia State Park, Paonia, CO