The city of Grand Junction is the home rule municipality that is the
county seat and the most populous municipality of Mesa County,
Colorado, United States. The city has a council–manager form of
government, and is the most populous municipality in all of western
Colorado. Grand Junction is situated 247 miles (398 km)
west-southwest of the
Colorado State Capitol in Denver. As of the 2010
census, the population of the city was 58,566. Grand Junction is
the 15th most populous city in the state of
Colorado and the most
populous city on the
Colorado Western Slope. Grand Junction serves as
a major commercial and transportation hub within the large area
between the Green River and the Continental Divide. It is the
principal city of the Grand Junction Metropolitan Statistical Area
which had a population of 146,723 in 2010 census.
The city is located along the
Colorado River, at its confluence with
Gunnison River which comes in from the south. The name "Grand"
refers to the historical Grand River; it was renamed as the Upper
Colorado River in 1921. The word "Junction" refers to the confluence
Colorado and Gunnison rivers. Grand Junction has been nicknamed
"River City". The city is located near the midpoint of a 30-mile
(48 km) arcing valley, known as the Grand Valley; since the late
19th century it has been a major fruit-growing region. Historically
the valley was long occupied by the
Ute people and by earlier
indigenous cultures. It was not settled by white European-American
farmers until the 1880s. Since the late 20th century, several wineries
have been established in the area.
Colorado National Monument, a unique series of canyons and mesas,
overlooks the city on the west. Most of the area is surrounded by
federal public lands managed by the US Bureau of Land Management. The
Book Cliffs are a prominent series of cliffs that define the northern
side of the Grand Valley. Interstate 70 connects the city eastward to
Glenwood Springs and
Denver and westward to Green River, Utah; Salt
City is reached to the west via Interstate 70 and U.S Route 6;
Las Vegas (via Interstate 70 and Interstate 15).
Country Jam Ranch is located near Grand Junction just north of
I-70 at the Mack exit. This is a permanent festival site built for
music festivals, including Country Jam. This event has been held
annually since 1992, drawing thousands of country music fans to the
The Grand Junction area has developed as a mountain biking
destination, with many bikers coming from the
Front Range of Colorado,
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City area, and as far away as California to enjoy the
area's abundant single-track trails. Two prominent trails are the
Tabeguache and Kokopelli trails, the latter running from near Loma to
Moab, Utah. Fruita, Colorado, with its 18-Road trail system, is within
10 miles of the city and has become a major mountain biking
4.1 Economic history
4.2 Top employers
5 Notable residents
6.2 Colleges and universities
8.1 Major highways
11 In popular culture
12 See also
15 External links
In September 1881 the former Ute Indian Territory was abolished and
the Utes removed to a reservation so that the U.S. government could
open the area to white settlers. Clinton County, Pennsylvania-born
George Addison Crawford (1827–91) soon purchased a plot of land,
and on July 22, 1882 incorporated the town of Grand Junction,
Colorado, and planted the first vineyard in Colo. near Palisade,
Colorado, causing the area to become known as the
City of Grand Junction also has a storied past with
gunfighters, miners, and early settlers to the American Southwest. The
infamous "Doc" Holliday was buried in the Grand Junction Cemetery
after his death from "consumption", (tuberculosis), as Grand Junction
was one of his favorite places before he began living full-time at the
sanatorium in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
According to the United States
Census Bureau, the city has a total
area of 38.6 square miles (100.0 km2), with 38.2 square miles
(99.0 km2) of it land, and 0.39 square miles (1.0 km2), or
0.87% of it water.
Looking north from Grand Junction in January 2011
The downtown area displays a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk), almost
grading into an arid type. Grand Junction sits in a large area of high
desert lands in Western Colorado. Winters are cold and dry, with a
January mean temperature of 27.4 °F (−2.6 °C). Due to
its location west of the Rockies, Grand Junction does not receive as
much influence from the Chinook winds as locations in
Colorado east of
the Front Range, yet it does receive protection from the Arctic masses
that can settle to the east of the Rockies. This is illustrated by the
fact that from December to February, highs reach 50 °F
(10 °C) only 18 days. Lows drop to 0 °F
(−17.8 °C) or below on 2.9 nights per year. Snowfall is
low compared to much of the rest of the state, averaging 19.1 inches
(49 cm) per season; only once in the entire period of record
dating to 1893, has observed 10 inches (25 cm) in a calendar day,
though the median is 6.3 inches (16.0 cm), and moreover, snow
cover is intermittent. Snow is greatest in December and January.
Spring warming is gradual but quickens when nearing June; the average
last freeze date is April 24. Summer is hot but dry, with a July mean
temperature of 78.2 °F (25.7 °C). Grand Junction averages
64.5 days a year with temperatures at 90 °F (32 °C) or
above, and an average 6.5 days attaining 100 °F (38 °C) or
more. Autumn cooling is rapid, with the average first freeze date
being October 15. The area receives little precipitation year-round,
averaging 9.42 inches (239.3 mm), with no real seasonal spike.
Sunshine hours are abundant, even in winter, and total just over 3200
hours per year, or 73% of the possible total.
Climate data for Grand Junction,
Colorado (Grand Junction Regional
Airport), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1893–present[a]
Record high °F (°C)
Average high °F (°C)
Average low °F (°C)
Record low °F (°C)
Average precipitation inches (mm)
Average snowfall inches (cm)
Average precipitation days
Average snowy days
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Percent possible sunshine
Source: NOAA (sun 1961–1990), The Weather Channel
U.S. Decennial Census
Book Cliffs and Mt. Garfield (right), near Grand Junction
As of the census of 2000, there were 41,986 people, 17,865
households, and 10,540 families residing in the city. The population
density was 1,362.6 people per square mile (526.2/km²). There were
18,784 housing units at an average density of 609.6 per square mile
(235.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.78% White, 0.60%
African American, 0.94% Native American, 0.76% Asian, 0.12% Pacific
Islander, 3.81% from other races, and 1.99% from two or more races.
Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.86% of the population.
There were 17,865 households out of which 25.5% had children under the
age of 18 living with them, 46.1% were married couples living
together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and
41.0% were non-families. 33.2% of all households were made up of
individuals and 13.8% had one living alone who was 65 years of age or
older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size
In the city, the population was spread out with 21.2% under the age of
18, 11.9% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and
17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years.
For every 100 females there were 95.1 males. For every 100 females age
18 and over, there were 92.6 males.
The population figures are for Grand Junction only; the city abuts
smaller towns and unincorporated county areas which contribute to area
The median income for a household in the city was $33,152, and the
median income for a family was $43,851. Males had a median income of
$31,685 versus $22,804 for females. The per capita income for the city
was $19,692. About 7.5% of families and 11.9% of the population were
below the poverty line, including 11.8% of those under age 18 and 9.0%
of those age 65 or over.
From the time settlers arrived in the 1880s until the 1960s, three of
the main economic activities in the region were farming, fruit
growing, and cattle raising.
Fruit orchards, particularly between
Grand Junction and Palisade to the east, remain important to the
region's reputation and economy to the present day. Fruits most often
grown are peaches, pears, apricots, plums, cherries, and, particularly
since the 1980s, grapes for wine. In this semi-arid environment, these
orchards thrive from a combination of abundant sunshine and irrigation
from a system of canals that divert water from the
Retail sales have been important to the economy for decades (e.g.,
gasoline, and hunting and fishing related sales), and uranium
mining-related activities have also been significant. Grand
Junction was home to the Climax Uranium Mill, a now decommissioned
mill that provided uranium ore to the US Atomic Energy Commission.
Education and healthcare have been important to the economy of the
area, especially since the 1950s, with the rise of
University and St. Mary's Hospital as leading employers in these
Vast oil shale reserves were known to exist near Parachute, Colorado
in the Piceance Basin. The oil embargoes of the 1970s and high gas
prices resulted in major financial interest in the region. Exxon
purchased rights and used Grand Junction as its seat of operations.
The city and the surrounding Grand Valley became prosperous in the
1970s and early 1980s largely because of the effects of oil shale
development. The United States, western
Colorado in particular, has
the largest-known concentration of oil shale in the world (according
to the Bureau of Land Management) and holds an estimated 800
gigabarrels of recoverable oil, enough to meet U.S. demand for oil at
current levels for 110 years. Known as the "Rock That Burns," the
shale can be mined and processed to produce oil. In the past it was
significantly more expensive than conventional oil. Sustained prices
above $95 per barrel, however, may make extraction economically
attractive in the coming years (see Oil Shale Economics). ExxonMobil
pulled out of the region because of lower oil prices, which led to
economic hardship in the region.
The economic bust, known as "Black Sunday" (May 2, 1982) to the
locals, started with a phone call from the president of
Governor Richard Douglas Lamm, stating that
Exxon would cut its losses
while retaining mining rights to the (then and currently) uneconomic
oil. The economic bust was felt statewide, as
Exxon had invested more
than 5 billion USD in the state.
Colorado historian Tom Noel observed,
"I think that was a definite turning point, and it was a reminder that
we were a boom-and-bust state...There were parallels to the silver
crash of 1893."
By 2008, the economy of Grand Junction appeared to be more diverse and
stable than it had been in previous decades. Major contributors to the
economy were health care, tourism, agriculture, livestock, and energy
mining (gas and oil). Major energy companies had once again invested
large amounts of money due to increases in oil and natural gas prices
(such as in the years 2005–2008). However, a major drop (in the
summer of 2008) of market natural gas prices led to reduced gas well
drilling and related capital expenditures in the area, significantly
slowing the Grand Junction economy in 2009. Reports given in 2009
suggested that Grand Junction had once again been hard-hit
economically, with one report by April 2010 listing the area as having
had the largest percentage drop in employment of any "small city" in
the entire United States.
By 2008, Grand Junction was being discovered by the "nation's elite
business and leisure travelers" as a destination for private jet
travel, with nearby
Powderhorn Resort and other ski resorts a major
According to the City's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial
Report, the top employers are:
Percentage of Total Employees
Number of Employees
Mesa County Valley School District 51
St. Mary's Hospital
State of Colorado
City of Grand Junction
VA Medical Center
Doc Holliday, John Henry Holliday  was an infamous member of the
Wyatt Earp U.S. Marshalls group.
Owen Aspinall, former Governor of American Samoa, was born in Grand
Junction, the son of long-time U.S Representative Wayne N. Aspinall
Charles L. Fletcher, architect and interior designer; owner of Charles
Ben Garland, NFL player
Vance Johnson, former NFL wide receiver
Aryn Kyle, bestselling author of The God of Animals
Annabelle Craft Moss
Annabelle Craft Moss (1921–2015), an aviator who won the
Congressional Gold Medal, and pilot in World War II with the Women
Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs)
Rick Schroder owned a home outside of Grand Junction during the mid to
Michael Strobl, United States Marine, subject of a film (Taking
Dalton Trumbo (1905–1976), Academy Award-winning screenwriter
(Exodus, Spartacus, Roman Holiday, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo),
novelist (Johnny Got His Gun) and member of the Hollywood Ten. His
childhood home was located at 1124 Gunnison Avenue in Grand Junction.
He is honored with a
Dalton Trumbo Free Speech Fountain on the campus
of his alma mater, the University of Colorado. His first novel,
Eclipse (1934) was set in a fictional town based on an unflattering
Grand Junction, and many of the characters are identifiable as
community leaders. A statue commemorating the loved and hated Trumbo
is on Main Street in front of the Avalon Theater.
Walter Walker, political leader and publisher made Grand Junction his
home for many years. For three months in 1932, he served as one of
Colorado's US Senators, and was publisher and primary owner of the
Grand Junction Daily Sentinel newspaper.
Museum of Western
Colorado Sterling T. Smith Educational Tower
The Mesa Valley School District No. 51 (website) provides
comprehensive K-12 public education to the Grand Junction area. School
District 51 operates five high schools:
Fruita Monument High School
Grand Junction High School
Central High School
Palisade High School
R-5 High School
In addition, the district operates numerous middle, elementary, and
other types of schools. District 51 partners with the Western Colorado
Community College (WCCC) to operate a vocational school, owned and
Colorado Mesa University. The WCCC was formerly named
Colleges and universities
Colorado Mesa University, a public, four-year, liberal arts college,
serves as the primary provider of higher education on the Western
Slope from its campus in central Grand Junction. This campus has an
average enrollment of just under 10,000 students and offers a variety
of degrees, including a Masters in Business Administration,
Educational Leadership, and ESOL.
Colorado National Monument was home to a stage in the
Coors Classic bicycle race known as "The Tour of the Moon" due to the
Monument's unique landscape.
Since 1958, the JUCO World Series has been playing at Suplizio Field.
Most recently at Suplizio Field, a new professional Minor League
Baseball team affiliate of the
Colorado Rockies in the Pioneer
Baseball League came from Casper and are known as the Grand Junction
Adjacent to Suplizio Field, Stocker Stadium is home to the
semi-professional Grand Junction Gladiators football team.
Suplizio Field and Stocker Stadium also host
University as well as School District 51 sporting events.
Grand Junction Regional Airport
Grand Junction Regional Airport (formerly Walker Field Airport) serves
as the major airport in the area. The airport is located in north
Grand Junction on Horizon Drive. As of 2011, two-way flights to
Denver, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Dallas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and
Houston were available.
Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Grand
Junction Station, operating its
California Zephyr daily in both
directions between Chicago and Emeryville, California, across the bay
from San Francisco.
Grand Valley Transit
Grand Valley Transit (GVT) is a regional transit system serving
the grand valley. It operates 11 bus routes in the area as well as a
Interstate 70 runs from
Interstate 15 in
Cove Fort, Utah
Cove Fort, Utah to
Baltimore, Maryland, connecting Grand Junction to Denver, Kansas City,
St. Louis, Indianapolis, and Columbus. Via Interstate 15, it connects
Grand Junction with Las Vegas, Nevada, and southern California.
U.S. Highway 6 serves 14 states, running east-west from Provincetown,
Massachusetts, to Bishop, California. In Colorado, it generally runs
parallel to Interstate 76 and Interstate 70.
U.S. Highway 50 crosses 12 states, linking Ocean City, Maryland, with
Sacramento, California. In Colorado, U.S. 50 connects Grand Junction
with Montrose, Gunnison, and Pueblo, and to the west, it travels into
the state of Utah.
SH 340 runs east-west, starting at First Street in downtown Grand
Junction, traversing the Redlands and ending at U.S. Highway 6 and
U.S. Highway 50 in Fruita.
Colorado has placed number six in Outdoor Life's 2012
list of The 35 Best Hunting and Fishing Towns in the US, number twelve
Forbes 2012 list of The Best Small Places For Business and Careers,
number five in
The New York Times
The New York Times 2011 list of Where to Live to Avoid
a Natural Disaster, and number seven in Tourism-Review.com's 2009 list
of the 8 Sunniest Cities in the USA.
Main article: Media in Grand Junction, Colorado
The Grand Junction radio market includes all of Mesa County,
Colorado. Six AM radio stations and more than 25 FM stations are
licensed to and/or broadcast from the city.
Grand Junction is serviced by one local newspaper, The "Grand Junction
Daily Sentinel". The Grand Junction area also receives newspaper
influence from sources in the greater
Denver front range area.
Grand Junction has ABC, NBC, and
CBS television station affiliates
under the call signs of
KJCT-TV (Channel 8),
KKCO-TV (Channel 11), and
KREX-TV (Channel 5) respectively. Also, Grand Junction has a Fox
(Channel 4) affiliate station under the call sign of
receives news from the
Denver FOX affiliate,
KDVR (Channel 31) at 9
pm. KGBY (Channel 20) broadcasts
Cozi TV programming. KRMJ (Channel
18) is the local PBS affiliate, part of the statewide Rocky Mountain
Grand Junction's downtown is home to the historic Avalon theater as
well as Mesa Theater which hold the majority of live music.
In popular culture
In the 2010 short story Vilcabamba, Grand Junction becomes the capital
of the United States after an alien invasion.
North America portal
United States portal
Outline of Colorado
Index of Colorado-related articles
State of Colorado
Colorado cities and towns
Mesa County, Colorado
Mesa County Valley School District 51
Colorado metropolitan areas
Grand Junction, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area
Colorado Mesa University
Colorado National Monument
Grand Valley Transit
Old Spanish National Historic Trail
Colorado Botanical Gardens
Colorado Community College
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Oil shale collapse preserved
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Grand Junction, Colorado.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Grand Junction.
City of Grand Junction website
CDOT map of the
City of Grand Junction
GJSentinel.com/The Daily Sentinel (daily newspaper)
krextv.com/ (local television news)
Community.GJSentinel.com (community forums and letters)
Grand Junction Business Directory (local business directory)
KAFM Community Radio (Non-profit, volunteer radio station)
Grand Junction VCB (Visitor and Convention Information)
"Grand Junction, Colorado".
C-SPAN Cities Tour. September 2015.
Places adjacent to Grand Junction, Colorado
Glade Park, Colorado
Municipalities and communities of Mesa County, Colorado, United States
County seat: Grand Junction
State of Colorado
Seal of Colorado
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area
Roaring Fork Valley
San Luis Valley
Sangre de Cristo Mountains