There are many reasons why those in the industry have named Colorado’s Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa the top resort in the West. But primarily, for me, it’s not often that a place takes your breath away. Here, deep in the nexus of five canyons with nothing but nature, rock palisades and blue sky surrounding you, one is allowed to exhale deeply and simply relax.

You can lounge by the pool with a glass of something or luxuriate with a massage or facial at The Spa at Gateway Canyons. Or maybe opt for some bucket list adventures right here at the resort.


Have you ever driven a UTV through pinon and juniper along a creek to find an overlook trail with a single red cactus blooming just for humming birds? I didn’t think so. Maybe you want to look for dinosaur footprints with an archeologist? Fancy cruising in one of the fleet of high-performance cars including a Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe, a Mercedes-Benz SL550 Roadster or Corvette ZR1 Coupe? Or hop into the sleek Tesla as she purrs super fast off the line. Be sure to pack your Go-Pro as you will glide hi-octane style through breathtaking canyons in your ride.

Want an experience that comes with a professional driver? Gateway Canyons Pro Baja Rides provides specially modified racing trucks with professional drivers and instruction on their own track. Catch air and catch your breath- it’s exhilarating.

You might want to fly high and enjoy an aerial tour of Western Colorado and Eastern Utah in the Gateway Canyons helicopter or take your time and wander through Gateway Canyons Auto Museum and the impeccably preserved historic autos from the past 100 years. There are a few show-stoppers, but I won’t spoil the surprise for you.

I like to hang out at the Palisade Ranch with my four-footed friends and head wrangler, Brian. The trail rides, “cowboy lessons,” cattle drives, and roping, along with the highlight of an evening fireside cookout are highly recommended by me and my cow horse named Papa.


Packages with differing room options and experiences are offered. My favorite rooms are the western-elegant Casitas with dining and living rooms, private patios and in-ground hot tubs. Imagine a night under the stars with a view of the same red-rock palisade topography the dinosaurs might have wandered?

Dinnertime and you have a decision to make; the casual Paradox Grille (famous for their Bloody Mary Bar), or the terrace of the slightly fancier Entrada Restaurant with drop-dead views of the red palisade formation glowing at sunset? Fare at the Paradox is “Colorado Cuisine,” a bit of Mediterranean, Tex Mex, Southern and West Coast, but with a decidedly Colorado twist. Fresh ingredients shine. At Entrada, Colorado beef, chicken and pork lead the fish and vegetable menu with beautiful preparations that are extremely wine-friendly.

No matter what you choose to do here (or don’t do), you will come away with a feeling of contentment. Maybe it’s because you are able to tune out and turn off. As a child, John Hendricks, owner and creator of Gateway Canyons, dreamed of traveling west to Colorado from his West Virginia home. He would hop in his father’s car in the driveway, pour over dad’s dusty road maps and take an imaginary road trip to the canyon area outside of Grand Junction his dad spoke of so often. Flash forward through an impressive life with many twists and turns, much like the road to Gateway Canyons, and John, who also created Discovery Communications (The Discovery Channel and others), has built and owns his dream. And you are invited to come out and experience it all for yourself. After all, everything here at Gateway Canyons is a new discovery.

Photos Courtesy Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa