While Steve was working with his brother, I took the opportunity for a solo trip into Grand Junction to hang with my sister! Sounded like a fair tradeoff. It was a fairly easy 5 hour drive even if it was in the ‘ol Jeep. Not quite as comfortable as my Mazda at home, but it did the job.

My plans were for us to spend a few days in the mountains. A hike, a hot spring, a martini sounded like a good girl weekend trip. Unfortunately, those plans were halted due to a road closure. The Grizzly Creek fire had been burning for nearly a week by the time I had arrived, and had shut down the I-70 for a few weeks.

Most of my time was kept to local girl time with my sister. But we did brave one hike, early in the morning before the sun heated up the valley and while the smoke was light.

The Palisade Rim Trail

All trails app shows the trail is rated as moderate with 616’ elevation gain. It is a 3.3 mile out and back trail with much of the gain in the beginning to get to the rim.


The trailhead is easy to spot; simply look for cars parked long the side of the road. Although parking is limited to space along the road, it usually isn’t a problem getting a spot. From Grand Junction, take the I-70 towards Palisades, then take exit 44 toward US6/W. Palisades.


Most of the elevation climb is in the first portion of the trail then it meanderings along the rim.

Sun high enough and starting to shine through smokey haze

After the climb, you’ll come to a few good view points. The 2020 Pine Gulch fire had been burning since July 31st more than two weeks earlier. As it expanded and the wind changes, the Grand Junction valley was impacted. You can see how the smoke was packing into the valley. It did get worse within a couple days after this hike; due to thunderstorms with heavy wind, the fire grew 30,000 acres overnight. As of early September, this fire is the largest in Colorado’s history at 139,007 Acres. It is now 95% contained!


The trail takes you along the rim then starts wrapping around the hillside. As you turn away from the rim, watch for a few areas of side tracks towards the rock walls and check out the petroglyphs.

Where to next?

I (Cheryl) stayed in Grand Junction for a few more days, then headed back to Wyoming. Evidently, we ended up with an urgent HVAC repair job back in California. So, we will both be driving back to home base for a couple of weeks. Projects in WY and travel will take a pause for a little bit. As I put together this post, we had just returned to Wyoming. Just in time for the freak snow storm!

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