Everyone…well…just about everyone thinks of Colorado, and they go… “Oh Yeah! Denver! Awesome running town!” or “Boulder! Killer mountains, and right there by the college, and Boulder Running Company and Boulder Bolder!” or “Rocky Mountain High! Awesome! Vail, Aspen, Trail Runs, Sweet!” That’s what you get when you say you have lived and ran heavily in Colorado. Now having traveled the state extensively for a number of years…there is a hidden gem on the other side. No, I am not talking about “that” other side where you meet the big guy up in the sky. On the actual…other side…of the mountains.
It’s literally called the Western Slope! Because…well…it’s the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains! It’s the piece of land where the mountains come down, and plains and wind hewed topography now meet. It’s actually a weather man and geologists dream as to seeing how weather and rocks can be impacted over millions of years to form these incredible Mesas sloping down to the floor. At that floor now is lush green soil which can grow just about anything!
All throughout this area are incredible trails and paths, and walkways..because…well…it’s still one of the healthiest states in the country! They have to compete with Salt Lake and Denver as being healthy. Many of the ski-folks live and work in Grand Junction, Montrose, Fruita and Delta and drive down south to Telluride or east to Aspen to take part in their snow sports (snowmobiling huge up on the flats of the Mesas).
There are incredible local running and sports shops to help you out with local trails and locations, because trust me…some are a little weird as to where they are located. One of them starts right on the other side of the highway…because the highway hugs the mesa so tight…but there’s no exit, so you have to go through a neighborhood…backtrack under the highway…make a left…and then follow it up to the trailhead…with only a dirt path to make you feel like you’re going the right way. Got it? Awesome! See you out there! Trust me. Find it…because these views and experiences are flat out killer!
It’s beautiful…it’s accessible…and it’s just perfect for runners and athletes alike to enjoy the wonders of the mountain regions without all the crowds and snow and mountain traffic that can ensnarl that Eisenhower tunnel. Enjoy the Western Slope of Colorado and all it has to offer…they have good food too!