Fall is the time to get off the beaten path of Interstate 70 and explore what is known as the mountain-biking mecca of Colorado. Only about 4.5 hours west of Denver, Fruita is a little-known treasure of our state.

In this beautiful high desert, you will find adventure in mountain biking, hiking, river rafting and dinosaurs. Just to the left is the Colorado National Monument, a treasure of canyons, cliffs and trails waiting to be explored.

To the right, discover the personality of old-town shops and restaurants, as well as the famous 18 Road Trail system that lies about 10 miles south of Fruita with 24 incredible biking trails.

Getting There

Always a beautiful drive, I-70 will get you to Fruita in a little over 4.5 hours. Simply take I-25 to I-70 west toward Grand Junction, Colorado. After about 275 miles, take exit 19 for US Highway 6. Turn right for the old-town shops and restaurants on Aspen Avenue, and then turn left in about a mile for the Dinosaur Journey Museum.

Stop Along the Way

The Bluebird Cafe (credit: Colleen Bement)

The Bluebird Cafe
730 Grand Ave.
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
(970) 384-2024
Whether you’re looking for a pick-me-up coffee break or a delicious breakfast for the road, the place to stop along the way is The Bluebird Cafe in Glenwood Springs. Just off of I-70 and over the bridge, you will find this to be an ideal spot to stretch your legs. The cozy cafe offers amazing coffee to keep you going and free WiFi to keep in touch. It’s a popular stop for delicious organic and gluten-free pastries, quiche and breakfast burritos.

What To Do

Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument (credit: CBS)

Colorado National Monument
1750 Rim Rock Drive
Fruita, CO 81521
(970) 858-3617
Price: $10 per car
Often referred to as Moab’s little sister, the cliffs and canyons of Fruita’s Colorado National Monument is nothing short of breathtaking. First established as a National Monument back in 1911, visitors will be in awe of the colorful red rock layers millions of years in the making and Utah juniper trees that are as old as 500 years. Enjoy spectacular views while you hike and bike around the Rim Rock Trail. Come prepared with a fully charged camera and enjoy the scenery.

Dinosaur Journey Museum (credit: Colleen Bement)

Dinosaur Journey Museum
550 Jurassic Court
Fruita, CO 81521
(970) 858-7282
Price: $8.50 for adults/$6.50 for seniors/$5.25 for children/$24.50 for immediate family groups
Check out the one of the largest Triceratops skulls ever found at the Museum of Western Colorado’s Dinosaur Journey Museum. Just off I-70, the museum is easy to find and is a great way for a family to spend a day. Be sure to bring the kids as they will have the opportunity to dig for actual dinosaur bones in a sandbox. It will be a great experience for them with the museum’s hands-on interactive displays complete with a working laboratory where dinosaur bones are prepared for display.

Where To Eat

Camilla’s Kaffee (credit: Colleen Bement)

Camilla’s Kaffee
206 E. Aspen Ave.
Fruita, CO 81521
(970) 858-7950
From the time you walk in until the time you leave smiling and satisfied, Camilla’s Kaffee will welcome you like family. Customers will feel right at home when they enter and see the “Happy Trails” sign hanging above the door. They will rela, and soak up Fruita’s old-time atmosphere with the perfect mi, of folk and rock music playing in the background. Camilla’s offers indoor and outdoor dining with a fabulous menu including great burgers, the most amazing Southwest turkey sandwich and great wraps, soups and salads.

Aspen Street Coffee Company (credit: Colleen Bement)

Aspen Street Coffee Company
136 E. Aspen Ave.
Fruita, CO 81521
(970) 858-8888
This charming coffee house right on the main street of Aspen Avenue offers a delicious kick start to your day’s activities in Fruita. Customers can start off the day with a wide variety of coffee drinks or take a break from the afternoon heat with a smoothie or a delicious mango and coconut lemonade. Along with wonderful pastries, this cafe has one of the biggest brownies you’ve ever seen. Sit either indoors and outdoors and feel free to use the complimentary WiFi.


Over The Edge Sports (credit: Colleen Bement)

Over The Edge Sports
202 E. Aspen Ave.
Fruita, CO 81521
(970) 858-7220
Over The Edge Sports has a friendly and helpful staff that will provide information on the hottest of Fruita’s biking trails as well as make repairs and tune-ups. Not only does this shop carry a large variety of new bikes, it also sells plenty of gear and clothing. Easily found, this shop is right on the corner on Aspen Avenue with a string of bikes out front for rent.
Kettles Homebrew Supply

Kettles Homebrew Supply (credit: Colleen Bement)

Kettles Homebrew Supply
233 E. Aspen Ave.
Fruita, CO 81521
(970) 858-4700
Kettles Homebrew Supply offers everything you need to get started brewing your own beer. Knowledgeable and friendly owner Daniel Collins is there to help with every step of the process. Not only does this store have all of the basic equipment, it also offers ideas and advice on delving into the more creative with beer-making ingredients. Come this October, this unique shop will be sporting its own brewery and tasting room right on site.

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Colleen Bement is a freelance writer covering all things Denver. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.