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Day Trips: Gateway Canyons Resort

Todd Hartley's picture

Feel like doing something totally out of the ordinary this weekend? Car buffs as well as fans of BBQ and blues music might want to consider a trip to one of the least-visited but most scenic parts of western Colorado on Saturday, August 29, for great music, great food and an automobile museum that has to be seen to be believed.

Located in the breathtaking red-rock canyon of the Dolores River, about 50 minutes southwest of Grand Junction and just four miles from the Utah border, the tiny town of Gateway, Colorado, is home to Gateway Canyons, a state-of-the-art resort created by Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks. Gateway Canyons primarily caters to auto enthusiasts, adventure seekers and those just looking to get away from it all, but this weekend the resort will also be playing host to music aficionados and food lovers with the first annual Gateway Canyons BBQ Blues Fest.

The event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, features legendary guitarist Steve Crenshaw, Blue Rooster, Flattop Reed and others performing at the brand new Mission Bell Amphitheater, which will be making its debut as a performance venue. Plus, there will be a BBQ cooking competition open to anyone who wants to enter. Non-participants are welcome to attend the event as tasters and sample some of Colorado’s finest fare.

While there, attendees should be sure to check out the Gateway Auto Museum, a riveting trip through the history of the American automobile industry. Located on the grounds of the resort, the museum houses some of the most stunning cars ever created on American soil, as well as vintage road maps and interactive displays that are fun for the whole family. Some of the highlights include a 1930 Duesenberg Model J, a 1912 Ford Model T Speedster and the only remaining 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 concept car on the planet.

Tickets to the BBQ Blues Fest are $25, which includes five $1 meal tickets. Tickets can be purchased at the resort or at City Markets in Grand Junction or King Soopers in Denver. Rooms can be booked at Gateway Canyons, and limited camping is available with a reservation. For more information, or to enter the cooking competition, go to or call 866-671-4733.

Admission to the Gateway Auto Museum is $9 for adults and $5 for children 6 to 12. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday and Monday. The last entry tickets are sold one hour before closing to allow visitors ample time to take in the displays.

To reach Gateway Canyons, take I-70 to Grand Junction and get off at the Clifton Exit (Exit 37). Merge onto the I-70 business loop west for 1.2 miles and take a left onto 32 Road. Stay on 32 Road for 7.2 miles to reach a T intersection. Take a left onto Highway 50 and then a right onto Highway 141 South. Stay on 141 for 44 miles through the spectacular Unaweep Canyon to reach the town of Gateway. Gateway Canyons lies just on the other side of the Dolores River from town and is impossible to miss.