Las Colonias Park
Las Colonias Park is 130 acres and sits adjacent to downtown Grand Junction along the banks of the Colorado River. It has a diverse and rich history, as it is situated just upstream from the namesake of the community, the confluence of the Gunnison and Colorado Rivers, and has strong connections to the rest of the community along an existing and expanding Riverfront Trail system. Several new facility elements have been completed including the River Park, restrooms, shelters, and concessions.
The River Park at Las Colonias includes a lengthy and accessible water channel, two standing wave water features, and beach and wading areas. These amenities are accessible to a wide range of ages, ability and experience levels. There is also a boat ramp on the east side of Las Colonias Park for boats to enter and exit the Colorado River. Please do not block the boat ramp entrance/exit.
The River Park will have the flow from the main channel cut off with sandbags when the flows drop below 810 cubic feet per second (CFS). This was a condition of permits being provided to enable the creation of the River Park. The River Park is still open when this happens but the experience is different.
Butterfly Pond & Las Colonias Ponds
There are three different ponds for the community to enjoy at Las Colonias Park. The ponds have water features and the public can enjoy the water by kayak or paddle board. Swimming and tubes are not allowed in the ponds.
River Equipment Rentals
Grand Junction Stand Up Paddle (GJ SUP) is located on the east side of Las Colonias Park next to the Butterfly Pond. The public can rent equipment to float down the River Park, on the ponds, or down the Colorado River.
The Las Colonias Dog Parks consist of three different sections. Currently, users can enjoy the west section of the Las Colonias Dog Parks. The two additional sections are currently closed.
The amphitheater offers multi-functional opportunities for small, medium, and large crowds surrounded by the perfect backdrop along the Colorado River and adjacent to the Colorado Riverfront Trail. The design includes a 40- by 60-foot stage with ample back of house amenities such as a green room and side wings, as well as parking and gently sloped lawn seating.
The community raised $2.1 million locally to match a $1.6 million grant from the Department of Local Affairs. Local fundraising support is thanks to the Downtown Development Authority, Riverfront Foundation, Goodwin Foundation, Bacon Family Foundation, Grand Junction Lions Club, El Pomar Foundation, Gates Family Foundation, Department of Energy, Navarro, and the City of Grand Junction.
Business Park at Las Colonias
Through a public/private partnership, the City is developing a Business Park at the east end of Las Colonias Park, integrating it into the community park. The Business Park includes the development of approximately 10 to 15 acres of the Park as a Google-like campus to attract outdoor recreation related businesses, combined with public park amenities consistent with the Las Colonias Master Plan (JPG).
The City is partnering with the Downtown Development Authority to build the Business Park for an overall public/private investment of $30 million ($10 million public and $20 million private). City Council approved an incentive package for the retention and expansion of Bonsai Design, an existing outdoor recreation business, as an anchor tenant in the Business Park. The company would also actively participate with Grand Junction Economic Partnership in the recruitment of businesses to the Park.
Over the last several years of planning and developing Las Colonias Park, the City learned there is tremendous support to balance park, river, active, passive, business, and all other types of use of the park. The goal is to restore what was previously a riparian area and to increase recreational use of the riverfront. The scope of the project includes: an additional inlet channel and an extension of the existing water channel with recreational elements, re-vegetation, and interpretative signage. A new inlet channel will be constructed to allow flowing water for a greater period of the year, to control flow distribution to function appropriately in the existing river system, and to avoid adverse impacts to existing aquatic habitat in the main channel of the Colorado River or any secondary channels.
Upon completion, the excavated channel extension will have continuous water flow when the Colorado River flows are above 810 cubic feet per second. This excavation will add 1.77 acres of open water, increasing the area of aquatic habitat at the site while enhancing recreation in the park as well as the natural aesthetics of the area. The streambanks of the new channels will be planted with native riparian vegetation, providing erosion control, a riparian buffer, and increased habitat. Find more information.
The ambitious plan for the Park will restore and enhance the banks of the Colorado River, celebrate the history of the area, provide access for trail use and passive recreation and create a unique outdoor events venue with a regional draw. In addition to the economic benefits of the recreational park as a regional draw, the Business Park will provide a desirable setting for the attraction and retention of Outdoor Recreation Industries that will strengthen the Valley’s economic growth and diversification. The public investment will also be a catalyst for private reinvestment and revitalization of the River and Rail Districts envisioned in the Greater Downtown Plan.
Las Colonias Park History
The park was formerly used as migrant farm housing then a uranium mill which produced 2.2 million tons of radioactive tailings. Not unlike other Western Slope riverfront communities, parts of the park were used as a junkyard until the 1980’s. Thanks to strong civic leadership, the area was cleaned up and is being developed as a riverfront park amenity. Read the History of Las Colonias Park completed by local Colorado Mesa University students in 2015.
In 1987, a group of local community leaders formed the Colorado Riverfront Commission bringing together Palisade, Grand Junction, Fruita, Mesa County, and Colorado State Parks to work together towards a “string of pearls” and contiguous river corridor trail and park system along the Colorado River. Eight “pearls” and approximately 21 miles of riverfront trail have been developed over the past 20 years. Las Colonias Park holds great significance as the last “pearl” in the “string of pearls” vision.
Thanks to the many partners in the Las Colonias development including Bonsai Design. The vision and collaboration demonstrated will serve Grand Junction for decades and beyond.