Off-roading Jeep trails in Colorado, witnessing the majesty of Mother Nature in all its glory often with friends and family who share your passion; this is a unique kind of lifestyle that favors a unique type of person.
For those who fancy the open skies and winding Colorado off-road trails, the Grand Mesa Jeep Club (GMJC) is home to a family-oriented group of Jeepers that love to have fun on the trails. Don’t let the “Jeep Club” moniker fool you. They have and welcome all makes and models of 4-wheel drive vehicles within their ranks.
What makes GMJC different from others is their strong dedication to respecting and maintaining the trails they use for their off-roading lifestyle. When you’re indulging in an activity that puts a burden on Mother Nature, it’s only fair that you do your part in making sure Nature is cared for. Their goal here is to keep the trails uninterrupted and scenic for future generations to explore and cherish.
As the New Mexico 4-Wheelers Mentioned:
“What we like about this club in our neighboring state is how active they are with their local Bureau of Land Management, preserving and increasing trail access. They also put on a great event called Rock Junction every June, which is a perfect representation of the club’s fun atmosphere.”
Where it Began
Another aspect of the club that sets it apart from others is the experience they have accumulated over the years. The club’s roots were set in 1962 in Grand Junction, Colorado.
A bunch of off-roading enthusiasts, Jeepers, and outdoorsmen came together to lay the foundation of a club that will become essential to the accessibility and maintenance of Colorado’s off-road trails. Over 50 years have passed since the Grand Mesa Jeep Club has been riding along Colorado’s beautiful trails.
Today, they invite members and non-members on scenic rides throughout the year. From scenic gravel roads to extreme rock-crawling, there is a trip for every level of Jeeper to enjoy. Novices to wheeling are welcomed by the club’s experienced members.
Guests or non-members can join three trips before being required to join the club officially. Members take several trips a month during the off-road driving season, so there is no lack of opportunity.
In addition, the club also participates in and sponsors various annual trips. The “Full Moon Potluck” occurs in the late summer where members ride to an overlook of the valley and enjoy each other’s company over dinner as they watch the sunset and the full moon rise.
The club also participates in three Christmas events. The “Grand Junction Parade of Lights”, the “Fruita Parade of Lights”, and the “Chili-Run and Christmas Tree Cutting” are always a good time. Each year, the Grand Mesa Jeep club enters the two Parades of Lights with multiple members decorating their vehicles and joining the parades. The Chili-Run involves members driving up to a location where they can cut down trees and then have a potluck chili lunch after.
The club’s main event is held at Grand Junction, Colorado, each year on the first Saturday in June. The two-part event involves the one-day “Mountain Off-Road Expo (RMORE)” and three-day “Rock Junction”. The goal of both events is to have fun with members and non-members bonding over their love for off-roading.
The “Mountain Off-Road Expo (RMORE)” is a one-day spotlight event, grabbing the attention of Jeep and 4×4 enthusiasts from all over the USA. People can enjoy a public vehicle show, vendor show, swap meet, and enter a raffle that supports land use.
“Rock Junction” is a multi-day event where participants drive their 4WD vehicles on family-friendly guided group trips. Trails range from mild and scenic to extreme rock crawling. You may find yourself exploring places like Unaweep Canyon, Gateway, Bangs Canyon, Montrose, the Book Cliffs, Rangely, Moab, and the various trails around the Grand Valley.
The Stewards of Public Lands and Jeep Trails in Colorado
The club and its members are associated with the Colorado Four Wheel Drive Association, United Four Wheel Drive Associations, and COHVCO, (Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition). It also interacts with other off-roading clubs including Outcast Offroad, Grand Junction; The Wild Bunch 4×4 Club, Montrose; and Moab Friends for Four Wheeling.
While most Jeep clubs have some sort of policy regarding respectable land use, the Grand Mesa Jeep Club has been demonstrating their determination and dedication for decades. Most of their fundraising and social service activities are dedicated to the conservation and preservation of the lands and trails they use to support their off-roading hobbies.
The club works with local offices of federal land management agencies, such as the Grand Junction field office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) with multiple proposals.
Tabeguache-Highway 141 connector
The Tabeguache-Highway 141 connector is one of the successes the Grand Mesa Jeep Club has been a part of. For over 30 years, this incredible 4×4 trail did not have a connection to the highway due to private land closures and its natural terrain.
In 2016-2017, the BLM created travel plans that allowed them to locate a route to build a new connector and legal highway crossing. As soon as the plan was approved, Grand Mesa Jeep Club members were at the front line, putting tires on the dirt and improving an already-incredible historic trail.
Adoption of 21 Road
Another milestone that illustrates the club’s emphasis on conservation and trail maintenance is the adoption of 21 Road and an endangered toad species. The endemic species is known as the Great Basin Spadefoot Toad, which the club has lovingly named “21-Road Toad”. Up until the adoption, no one had ever seen the tiny nocturnal amphibian in the canyon.
Being endangered, their habitat includes some stinky mud in the Hunter Canyon wash that was in danger of being disturbed by people using the 21 road trail for off-roading. Grand Mesa Jeep Club worked with BLM and local wildlife officials to locate the suspected habitat areas and built PVC and cable barriers to keep drivers out of the critical areas.
Join and Become a Part of Nature
Grand Mesa Jeep Club’s history and the unwavering attention and respect it pays to the land and Jeep trails in Colorado are a joy to witness. If you, like many of its members, want to be a part of their movement while enjoying some scenic rides along Colorado Jeep trails, learn more about the club’s upcoming events on their Facebook page or visit their website.