The rare occasion to enjoy a three-day outing with the family is finally here, and there are five locations in Western Colorado you owe to yourself to visit.

All five of these locations are within a 60-mile radius of Grand Junction's city limits, with a travel time of less than an hour.

These all have another thing in common - they're all free. At last report, free was pretty hard to compete with.

  • Wild Rose Picnic Area

    Lands End Road

    The Wild Rose Picnic Area is cool, both literally and figuratively. It features dense foliage, several streams, and plenty of shade. Picnic facilities are well above par, with plenty of tables and public restrooms. The site also features plenty of parking, which ultimately is unnecessary since the area is well kept secret, and receives little use.

  • Waylon Jordan

    Old Kiln Trail

    Little Park Road

    Why is called the "Old Kiln Trail"? Because it features an old kiln. This trail fell out of use years ago. Recenty, though, the site has made a comeback. The trailhead is about a quarter mile West of the parking area for the mica mines. Keep heading down the paved road, and watch to your right. A new sign has been added to the trailhead, so it's now easy to spot.

  • Waylon Jordan

    Area West of Gateway

    4 1/10 Road

    Head to Gateway, Colorado, but turn West just before you get to the resort. Those who've attended the annual Pig Out know all about this area. There's some awesome camping along the river, and if you continue heading West, you'll encounter some incredible sites. Be careful not to stop in the one location with the warning signs. This small stretch is private property, and the dude who owns in will do something nasty, like write bad things about you on the bathroom wall or something. Just keep moving, you'll be back on public lands in a few hundred feet.

  • Waylon Jordan

    Climb Mt. Garfield


    You would be surprised to learn how many locals have never climbed Mt. Garfield. Contrary to what you might think, it's a fairly simple hike. That's right, hike. There's no real climbing involved. All you need is some water and a decent pair of hiking shoes. The trail is more than accessible to most any pet. Travel time up is roughly two hours, maybe a little less. Coming down goes a lot faster.

  • Waylon Jordan

    Gunny Loop

    Little Park Road

    Gunny Loop is easy to get to, has plenty of parking, and more than a few surprises. This is a great trail for hikers, bikers, dog walkers, and those looking to get a little fresh air. The scenery is magnificent, and the price is right - free. Keep in mind, this is a "loop" so there are several variations to the trail. Some hidden features include the dog graveyard, and the photo op you see in image to left.