Las Colonias Park Information
Las Colonias Park is 130 acres and sits adjacent to downtown Grand Junction along the banks of the Colorado River. The park offers easy access to recreational amenities and active transportation commuter routes along the river, as well as convenient access to shopping and businesses. It also functions as a gateway into downtown from Highway 50. 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. The park was formerly used as migrant farm housing then a uranium mill which produced 2.2 million tons of radioactive tailings. The western end of the park includes the 15 acre Watson Island. Not unlike other Western Slope riverfront communities, this island and surrounding area was used as a junkyard until the 1980’s. Thanks to strong civic leadership, the island was cleaned up, cleared of invasive weed species and was recently developed as an 18 hole disc golf course. 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, undeveloped and under-utilized, holds great significance as the last “pearl” in the “string of pearls” vision.
There is bike/pedestrian access off of the Riverside Parkway at approximately 9th Street (south of Edgewater Brewery), vehicular access off of 7th and Struthers, or bike/pedestrian access from Orchard Mesa and the bridge over the Colorado River (take Unaweep Avenue to 27 3/8 Rd and it will deadend at Eagle Rim Park).
Thanks to a Department of Local Affairs planning grant, the final design for the Amphitheater was completed in the summer of 2016. The design embraces 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 40x60 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. Construction on the Amphitheater began in mid-October and is scheduled to conclude in the fall of 2017.
Completion of Phase I
Phase I of Las Colonias Park was officially opened to the public on July 11, 2015 and includes a new restroom/shelter, a native arboretum, new trail connections, and new parking. The development has already made a tremendous improvement for existing and new park users and is thanks to the following outstanding organizations: City of Grand Junction, Great Outdoors Colorado, Colorado Riverfront Foundation, Grand Junction Lions Club, Parks Improvement Advisory Board, Colorado Garden Foundation, Downtown Development Authority, Western Colorado Conservation Corps, Western Colorado Botanical Gardens, and Strive. Learn more about native plants by visiting the Las Colonias Native Arboretum and using the posted QR codes or use the following link here. The Confluence Shelter is available for reservation by calling 970-254-3866.
Las Colonias Park Master Plans
In 2013 revision to the Las Colonias Park Master Plan was approved by City Council on July 3, 2013. Different from the previous two master plans, the 2013 plan took a comprehensive view at all the City-owned property from 5th Street Bridge on the west to the Orchard Mesa Pedestrian Bridge on the east allowing for a comprehensive evaluation of the entire area to create synergy between the current and future uses of the overall park property.
Stay Involved and Informed
- Email the Project Manager, Traci Wieland, or call her at 970-254-3846