Gateway Canyons Resort and Spa, Colorado

In Hotels by Leslie Moore

Gateway Canyons PallilsadesmYour adventure starts as you take your seat in a small plane heading for Grand Junction, Colorado. Immediately the reserve of the big city is replaced by the jovial conversations of small town folk and others, like you, heading to Gateway, Colorado in search of adventure.  During a short flight, the cabin of the plane buzzes like a school bus, with conversations about camping, recent travels and family.

The drive from the Grand Junction Airport takes roughly an hour, the fields are green, the leaves are yellow, gold and orange and the dramatic, sculpted red rock rises vertically creating a majestic cathedral of stone.  The road winds through these walls of colored rock; the distinctive beauty of the area is the perfect primer for the splendor of Gateway Canyons Resort and Spa, a very unique resort founded by the creator of the Discovery Channel, John Hendricks.

By the time you settle into your well-appointed casita, where every window frames a stunning view of the red rock hills, your appetite is growing with the brisk cooling of the air; perfect timing for a hearty, handcrafted bite from the Paradox Grill. If you are in the mood for a lighter meal try the Spicy Grilled Shrimp Salad with grilled pineapple and orange tomatillo dressing; a perfect blend of savory and sweet. If your appetite calls for a heartier meal then the Elk Stuffed Chili Rellenos are a must. After dinner, retreat to your private fire pit for a quiet glass of wine (or two). It is here when you truly realize you have left the busy city life. Sit back and enjoy the vastness of the midnight blue sky which eventually turns into one of the most spectacular star shows you have ever laid eyes on.

Gateway Canyons, with its peaceful scenery, healing spa, and wilderness hikes, is the perfect place to spend a relaxing, restorative weekend. If you are the adventurous type and truly want to experience everything the area has to offer there are many activities available for those on the move! From archery to skeet shooting, driving experiences to concert series, rock climbing to rafting, the activity center truly has something for everyone.

If horseback riding tickles your fancy this is the perfect way to see all the beauty the area has to offer. After a nourishing breakfast, you are picked up by the stable manager and quickly arrive at a handsome stable where you saddle up and head into the hills. The air is warm and fragrant with the smell of autumn cottonwood leaves. The bright flashes of yellow and gold are punctuated by dark stunted groves of scraggly brush oak that have already lost their leaves; this is Colorado in its finest fall moment!

If you prefer to carouse the area by motorized power try the resort’s new UTV’s which are designed like a dune buggy. Fast, stable and easy to drive, this method of transportation makes for a fun filled afternoon while taking in the sites. Drive up to the tallest lookout in the area and take in the breathtaking views of autumn beauty.

Gateway Canyons LookoutThe little UTV seems to skip over the boulders and before you know it, you are resting at a tranquil, natural camp site by the river where you discover a couple of abandoned cabins and the foundation of an ancient house built from round, river rock and mud. Listen up as the guide fills you in that the trail was sometimes used by people who had a need to leave the state quickly. As the story goes, Butch Cassidy had been known to come through this area. You may choose to believe that both Butch Cassidy and Sundance (both looking like gorgeous movie stars) had once hunkered down right where you are.

A perfect way to end any adventure is with a great meal, so after your ride head off to the Entrada for their signature dish; Colorado’s finest lamb. The menu at the Entrada is quite impressive with plenty of choices for every palate. Start off with a refreshing Prickly Pear Margarita and after enjoying your meal follow the servers advice and take a Smores picnic basket back to your casita. What a perfect end to an outdoor adventure – marshmallows toasted perfectly over the fire pit melting into rich chocolate – all under the star filled Colorado sky!