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Living in Grand Junction

Original Post
JonnyGreenlee Greenlee · · Evergreen, CO · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 280

I have only ever driven through Grand Junction, and I am looking at a job possibility there. I'm curious as to what the town is like. I've seen another thread or two on MP talking about this, but more information is always helpful.
I'm 24,single, and would be working as an attorney. I know GJ has a large amount of climbing, particularly trad, and mountain biking, but I'm curious about the skiing access (I have never been to any Western slope areas)and the town's general vibe. Is it chain restaurants and strip malls, or is there more of a downtown? Is it really full of methheads? Anything I should know or consider would be helpful.



Kevin Landolt · · Fort Collins, Wyoming · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 585

It's not a bad town. Great climbing and mountain biking out the door, quick drive to canyon country (the San Rafael Swell is about an hour away) and great skiing at a variety of excellent locations all about an hours drive away. I know the ski-hill Powderhorn may be closer. The "downtown" isn't that impressive, but I'm sure it grows on you when you're an actual resident. Mesta State College has a good reputation. Great fly-fishing and boating up the road in Glenwood. A few good vineyards and lots of great peaches later in the summer. I'm considering going to school there and have friends in town - the consensus seems to be that although it's not much to look at from the road, it grows on you quite a bit.

grog m aka Greg McKee · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 70

if ya drive through it on I70 youd say it looks boring. spend some time living there and a person realizes that it has opportunities unavailable to the front range.the immediate access of outdoor activities is incredible. The opportunity to go climb, bike, or hike is always 15 minutes away so after work you can easily get outside.

as for the skiing a quick drive, 45 min, will get you to powderhorn that has a real local vibe to it. 2.5 hours away = telluride. 2.5 hours in the other direction = aspen.

yeah clifton (an area of SW GJ with lots of low income housing) was the meth capital of the world about 7 years ago. but because of this a tremendous amount of money was allocated for a meth task force that has all but entirely wiped out the meth scene.

the people of the city are very mellow and laid back typical of the west.

Matt Hardin · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 30

Kevin and Grog both summed it up pretty well. I'm also an attorney out here and love practicing on the West Slope. The local bar is great and very welcoming. Parts of the town are definitely in the suburban, chain, strip mall mold, and Clifton is pretty much as it was described. I spend the majority of my time downtown and I absolutely love it. The climbing community is certainly one of the best that I've ever been around and the ease of access to all styles of climbing is pretty top notch. The main complaints that I hear from other young attorneys out here is that it's tough being single because the dating pool is pretty small for professionals and that if you aren't the outdoorsy type then it doesn't have all of the amenities that you would have in a major city (e.g. clubs, nightlife, boutique shopping, etc.) I will also say that living here provides a completely different perspective than driving through. I had similar concerns before I moved out here since I had only stopped for food/supplies heading to and from climbing trips but after being here for 2 years, I don't want to be anywhere else. Feel free to shoot me a PM if you have any other questions.

Jason N. · · Grand Junction · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 10

For me, living here has been a mixed bag - I moved here immediately after graduation and I've been here about 2.5 years. I love the close access to recreation and a solid (but not huge) outdoor community. Sometimes I think it'd be nice to have more people around with similar interests and motivation, but I guess that's the trade-off for lack of crowds.

Skiing: I have an Epic Pass and while it's a bit of a haul up to BC or Vail, you aren't running into the same traffic you do if you were coming from Denver so I find it pretty bearable. Like has been stated above, while Powderhorn isn't huge it's advantages are cheap skiing and really easy access. Also, the past few years have been really good up their for snow relative to the rest of the state.

Biking: I don't bike, but I know a lot of people do. Supposedly, lots of really quality mountain biking to be had in/around town and within a 2 hour radius.

Climbing: Amazing - particularly if you like the desert, but even so if you don't (some of my favorites listed in increasing distance from town - Colorado National Monument, Unaweep, Rifle, Black Canyon, Moab/Castle Valley/IC, Ouray (ice), Independence Pass). Most of these could even be day trips if you wanted. Lots of potential for development too if that's your thing.

Everything else: While the majority of town would fit your description of "chain restaurants and strip malls," I think the downtown area does a good job of breaking that mold. There are certainly some good local eateries and watering holes, but not a ton. I'd say for a town of this size they do a pretty good job (but I haven't lived anywhere else comparable in size so I could be talking out of my ass).

Culturally, I haven't found a ton to do, but that could be because I tend to work long hours during the week and skip town to climb most weekends. Having a college in town probably helps in this respect.

As far as a social/dating scene goes, I wouldn't call myself an expert but I don't get the impression that it's that great. For one, there isn't a huge population of young professionals, so this may or may not affect your social/dating life. The people are generally friendly though. One of the difficulties I've found with when trying meeting people with similar interests, was with so many options and a relatively small community, you really don't run in to each other too often. That said, I think the climbing community is growing/strengthening and I've met plenty of cool people through here and the gym.

Anyways, the TL;DR is that overall I like living here but like any place you will have to weigh the relative importance of specific things.

robrobrobrob · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 10

$1.25 Scoop!!! Or the Grand International Buffet.

JonnyGreenlee Greenlee · · Evergreen, CO · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 280

So lots to do outside, not a lot to do inside, and less meth than there used to be? I guess that's a pretty reasonable balance.
Looking at the climbing options, I'm guessing it would be a good bet to beef up my rack and work on some crack.
What is rent like? I'm used to Boulder prices, so I'm assuming its a step or two down from that.

Will S · · Joshua Tree · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,053

I've always recommended GJ when people ask about good climbing towns. I had coworkers who lived there, and I spent a fair amount of time in the early 00s around there. Seemed ideal to me...big enough to have amenities, but small enough to avoid gnarly traffic or other congestion.

Good climate, that is also adaptable to almost any season with a short drive (desert and mountains). Multi pitch granite and sandstone bouldering practically in town, and the Black, the Creek, Ouray, Rifle all in easy striking distance.

The mtn biking is really, really good, and there is good fishing to be had as well. I'd move there in a heartbeat if the career opportunity presented itself.

The Mother Ship · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 5

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. (Do you want to spend it in GJ?)…

NEH · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 0

For what it's worth, I moved to Grand Junction six years ago as a young single physician and had a blast. The climbing opportunities are incredible! As for the social scene it's not Boulder, but I think it is getting a lot better. There seems to be more and more young professionals moving to GJ.
The dating scene was a struggle at first but probably because I was working too much. After a couple years though, I met my wife in GJ (our first date was bouldering in Unaweep). Personally, I would recommend living in Junction and my wife and I are planning on moving back this summer.

David Cummings · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 190

GJ is a great place to live, great people and tons of climbing.

JustinJD. Day · · Denver · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 0

Even if you decide to live in one of the smaller towns around GJ you'll be fine. Fruita and Palisade are great little towns and are just down the road from Junction. Just my .02

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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