[GATEWAY, COLORADO] — Okay, where the hell did this place come from? Gateway Canyons Resort. Out of nowhere this over-the-top resort has popped out of the blue over the last couple of years. Once the private ranch of the founder of the Discovery Channel, he has slowly built this from a small, in-the-know conference center with a handful of rooms into a full-on resort, adding chunks of rooms and facilities each year until it is now one of the best resorts I’ve been to in the U.S.
This is Colorado?? I thought it was all about mountains and skiing? Yup. But then there’s here. Gateway Canyons. Western Colorado is a blurred line into the canyony parts of Utah. An hour south of ridgy Grand Junction — Colorado’s Orchard — sits the teeny town of Gateway, nestled in high-hipped canyon ridges that make 80’s Meg Ryan mom jeans look low-cut. And this resort is here. So full-on, that Conde Nast Traveler just voted it the best resort in Colorado, #3 in the United States and #12 in the world. After visiting there, I can see why. Holy cow.
I’ve lived in Colorado for nearly 20 years and I didn’t even know this area existed. Sidled up to the Utah border, a beautiful hour drive south of homely Grand Junction, you drive 44 miles through a winding canyon with sparse population in one of the Car & Driver’s Top Ten Drives of the World. Canyon walls and winding river follow you the whole way until out pops this beautiful resort at the crux of five different canyons (hence the Gateway name). In its isolated beauty, the resort is surrounded by hundreds of thousands of wilderness, canyons, mesas, national parks and BLM lands.
The resort is set up for adventure, complete with their own helicopter, car museum, guides and ever an elaborate Driven Experience that is over-the-top full of toys of every size, shape and budget, that you can rent and take out on- or off-road. The driving stuff is not my style, but the helicopter ride over the canyons is one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Captain Mike was totally knowledgable above every landmark, canyon and gully…and was totally accommodating in lining up his ship so I could get the best pictures. I can’t wait to go back.
Gateway Canyons helicopter flight from YouShouldGoHere on Vimeo.
I went at the end of October, which I thought was absolutely the perfect time of year, with all the fall colors still out — maybe two weeks earlier would be even better — and virtually nobody around. They close at the end of October, then open for holidays and then the spring/summer.
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