Just beyond the hustle and bustle of Grand Junction awaits one of the prettiest drives you can imagine. A curvy two lane that follows canyon walls and creek beds, past green fields and lush trees, straight to the little town of Gateway, Colorado.
The turnoff to Gateway is about 8 miles from the 32 Road signal, just outside of Clifton, Colorado. You will turn left at the 32 Road signal, on to CO-141 South. About 8 miles from your initial turn you will turn right on Highway CO-141, and travel approximately 43 miles, to get to Gateway. Although it is not a long drive, make sure you have plenty of fuel, as there are no more gas stations until you reach Gateway.
The road is well maintained, with the exception of a small section at the very beginning of the road, where construction work is being performed; be prepared for some bumps, dips and a small amount of gravel.
Once you get past that section of road, the rest is easy sailing. The scenery along the way offers a variety of different landscapes; everything from high desert plateaus and interesting rock formations to lush green fields and trees that stand by the creek beds. The road winds its way on through to Gateway, where our afternoon adventure begins.
Once in Gateway, the scenery takes on a decidedly different feel. Like an adobe oasis, the Gateway Canyons Resort beckons you to stay and relax. The brainchild of Discovery Channel mogul John Hendricks, Gateway Canyons Resort boasts its own restaurants, lodging, ampitheater, events center, general store and classic car museum. Immaculate landscaping and beautifully detailed buildings make the resort a very special place to visit.
Our first stop is for lunch at the Paradox Grille. The Paradox has a comfortable, fun atmosphere and a unique menu of old favorites, as well as favorites with a twist. Elk Cheese Steak and Smoked Duck Enchiladas are two of the more exotic lunch items you can choose from, but they also have delicious angus burgers, cold sandwiches, salads, appetizers and more. They have a full-service bar, with plenty of draft beers to quench your thirst. If they are offering chocolate-spice pie during your visit, make sure you leave room for it…it is wonderful !
After lunch, be sure to check out the Gateway Auto Museum, located just on the other side of the Paradox Grille building. This museum is an absolute must-see for gear heads and lovers of chrome. The museum offers an impressive collection of vintage automobiles, as well as other automobilia items, such as gas pumps, maps, photos, etc. Easy to navigate, the museum displays its collection by era, so you can really get a feel for each time period represented. Starting at the beginning of Henry Ford’s legacy, all the way through to the muscle cars of the 60’s and 70’s, each vehicle is a rolling work of art; a testimony to the motion of the human spirit and a symphony of moving parts. Videos in each section of the museum bring life the cars, their owners, and the time period in which they lived.
It is a very interesting and educational museum, that displays many cars that you may never get to see the likes of otherwise. At the end of the tour is of course, the gift shop. Overflowing with automobile and motorcycle themed shirts, mugs and signs, it is also where you can find the infamous “Old Guys Rule” brand of clothing. These fun designs are great for the “classic” fella in your life!
This is a comfortable day-trip from pretty much anywhere in Western Colorado. Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and water, as the temperatures in Gateway can be scorching during the mid-summer months.
For more information on Gateway Canyons Resort, including lodging rates, museum hours, guest services and more, please visit their website: www.gatewaycanyons.com