Colorado’s Western Slope Serves Up Leisure and Flavor
By Kim Fuller
A road trip to Palisade will set you up for adventure and relaxation on the Western Slope.
Accommodations can be found at a growing number of hotels and bed and breakfasts. Among the destinations is the Wine Country Inn. This 80-room Victorian-style hotel offers full amenities, including an on-site pool, hot tub, and two restaurants. It’s within walking distance of two neighboring wineries — Grande River Vineyards and Talon Wine Brands — and guests can rent bikes from the inn and tour a number of wineries within a five-mile radius.
Active visitors will enjoy the Palisade Rim Trail for either a hike or mountain bike ride. Amazing views from the trail’s high points reveal the valley’s sprawling orchards and vineyards.
To rent a bike, check out Rapid Creek Cycles and Sports, where co-owner Rondo Buecheler can tell you all about the area’s family fruit rides and wine cruiser crawls.
For those who want a more leisurely stroll or pedal, head to the Riverfront Trail for a couple miles of paved path along the Colorado River. Enjoy fishing or stand-up paddleboarding on the water. Or, five miles east of Palisade, check out the Island Acres section of the Colorado River State Park.
“We’re also 40 minutes from the largest flattop mountain in the world, which is the Grand Mesa,” said Juliann Adams, executive director of the Palisade Chamber of Commerce. “There are 300 lakes up there, with miles of hiking trails that are magnificent. It’s all wooded, and it’s higher so it’s cooler, and there’s also a lot of wildlife.”
Happy hour can begin out in the sunshine with a Dirty Hippie dark American wheat beer at the Palisade Brewing Co. With a slice of orange, it’s refreshing and full of flavor. For dinner, head downtown to the Palisade Cafe, or if your trip is on a weekend, Inari’s Japanese bistro is delicious and open on Saturday and Sunday evenings.
Nightlife stays awake in this small town, especially back at the brewery, with live music on the weekends. Peach Street Distillers serves up excellent cocktails until midnight on theweekends.
And if the morning hurts your head, be sure to make it back to the distillery for the best Bloody Mary in town. Palisade also has been showcasing a few new hard ciders recently, so stop by the 13 Brix Cider Bistro for some tastes.
While you consider more libations, fill your belly at the Slice O’ Life Bakery. It’s been owned and operated by the same local since the mid-1980s, and serves the area’s best peach pastries, hot breads, rolls, muffins and coffee.
Kim Fuller is a writer and editor based in Vail