Touring the Byway
50 miles | 3 Days/ 2 Nights | Gateway City: Grand Junction, Colorado

Your journey begins in Grand Junction, a gateway to the Colorado Mountains, which has a vast collection of public art and a Smithsonian quality Museum of the West. Getting on the Byway the next morning, you take I-70 out of Grand Junction to get to Colorado Route 65, where the Byway climbs through picturesque Plateau Creek Canyon into evergreen forests 11,000 feet above sea level. Your first stop is in Mesa at Powderhorn Resort.  From there, it’s on to discover Lost Lake, before heading for the 12 mile in and out drive to Land’s End Outlook looking over Colorado’s landscapes in every direction.  

View the Detailed Itinerary below to see the full route, which is complete with dining, shopping, and lodging recommendations!

Highlighted Attractions

Land's End Observatory

Be sure to take the short detour off Colorado 65 for the 12-mile drive to Lands End Observatory, an old ranger station at the edge of Grand Mesa. Even though the facility is no longer in use, take the drive for the views. The land drops off the edge of the mesa, delivering sweeping views of Colorado’s best scenery. A look to the west features the La Sal Mountains in Utah, over 120 miles away. To the southeast you’ll see Uncompahgre Peak and other 14ers (what locals call mountain peaks over 14,000 feet). You can also see Colorado National Monument, Unaweep Canyon, and Big Dominguez Canyon from this viewpoint. 

Pioneer Town

Allow plenty of time to explore Pioneer Town filled with 24 historic buildings on five acres in the heart of Cedaredge. The complex includes three restored original Bar I Cattle Ranch silos, an historic apple shed, along with many genuine valley structures, a one room schoolhouse, a cabin, boardwalks, country store, saloon and even a jail. Many of the buildings have been outfitted as they would have appeared 100 years ago. The complex hosts one of the most extensive collections of Native American arrowheads in the west and the Doll House has a large variety of handcrafted dolls.

Grand Junction Historic Walking Tour with Art on the Corner and Art Galleries

Take a walk through historic downtown Grand Junction (pdf included with the detailed itinerary) where 23 historic structures are intermingled with a diverse and eclectic display of over 100 outdoor sculptures placed along Main Street and throughout the downtown area. The showcase began in 1984, as one of the nation’s first sidewalk sculpture exhibits. Today, the styles and media of both temporary and permanent pieces varies widely, from abstract stone to realistic bronze.  While you meander, stop into any one of Grand Junction’s 12 art galleries. 

Powderhorn Resort

Tucked on the northern edge of the Grand Mesa, Powderhorn delivers breathtaking views from over 1,600 acres of mountain terrain. You can fuel up for the day with a quick snack or enjoy lunch from ingredients are all locally sourced including BBQ meats smoked right on the mountain and local craft beers. 

Museum of The West

The Museums of Western Colorado are Smithsonian Affiliates known for their high-quality exhibits and great presentations. The Museum of the West features several thousand years of history where you can “ride” in a stagecoach, “fly” on a 1958 Cessna, marvel at ancient Anasazi pottery, venture into a uranium mine, follow a time line of Western history and more. The Lloyd Files Research Library holds a wealth of historical, genealogical and natural history materials.

Murals of Delta

As you make your way through downtown Delta, you’ll spot 20 murals that represent the history of town.  In addition, there are sculptures with various themes, including Antoine Robidoux and the Ute Indians. 

Fort Uncompahgre

Authenticity reigns at Fort Uncompahgre on the Old Spanish Trail, where you’ll discover dirt floors, piles of furs and animals hides just as you would have encountered at the original fort.   

Antione Robidoux (one of the sculptures featured in Delta) established the outpost in the 1820’s in an area known as Robidoux Bottoms, the meeting place of the trail coming out of the San Juan River Basin and northwestern New Mexico with the North Branch of the Old Spanish Trail. When the beaver population declined and clothing styles changed, the days of the mountain men were numbered causing Antoine Robidoux to join General Kearny as an interpreter in Kearny’s campaign in the War with Mexico in 1846. 

Grand Mesa Byway Welcome Center at Pioneer Town

Stop in to learn more about the Grand Mesa National Scenic Byway and surrounding attractions.

To experience all that Up on The Flats has to offer, download the complete itinerary! 

The detailed itinerary includes: