The city of Grand Junction is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Mesa County, Colorado, United States. The city has a council–manager form of government, and is the most populous municipality in all of western Colorado. Grand Junction is situated 247 miles (398 km) west-southwest of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 58,566. Grand Junction is the 15th most populous city in the state of Colorado and the most populous city on the Colorado Western Slope. Grand Junction serves as a major commercial and transportation hub within the large area between the Green River and the Continental Divide. It is the principal city of the Grand Junction Metropolitan Statistical Area which had a population of 146,723 in 2010 census.
The city is located along the Colorado River, at its confluence with the Gunnison River which comes in from the south. The name "Grand" refers to the historical Grand River; it was renamed as the Upper Colorado River in 1921. The word "Junction" refers to the confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers. Grand Junction has been nicknamed "River City". The city is located near the midpoint of a 30-mile (48 km) arcing valley, known as the Grand Valley; since the late 19th century it has been a major fruit-growing region. Historically the valley was long occupied by the Ute people and by earlier indigenous cultures. It was not settled by white European-American farmers until the 1880s. Since the late 20th century, several wineries have been established in the area.
The Colorado National Monument, a unique series of canyons and mesas, overlooks the city on the west. Most of the area is surrounded by federal public lands managed by the US Bureau of Land Management. The Book Cliffs are a prominent series of cliffs that define the northern side of the Grand Valley. Interstate 70 connects the city eastward to Glenwood Springs and Denver and westward to Green River, Utah; Salt Lake City is reached to the west via Interstate 70 and U.S Route 6; and Las Vegas (via Interstate 70 and Interstate 15).
The Country Jam Ranch is located near Grand Junction just north of I-70 at the Mack exit. This is a permanent festival site built for music festivals, including Country Jam. This event has been held annually since 1992, drawing thousands of country music fans to the area.
The Grand Junction area has developed as a major mountain biking destination, with many bikers coming from the Front Range of Colorado, the Salt Lake City area, and as far away as California to enjoy the area's abundant single-track trails. Two prominent trails are the Tabeguache and Kokopelli trails, the latter running from near Loma to Moab, Utah. Fruita, Colorado, with its 18-Road trail system, is within 10 miles of the city and has become a major mountain biking destination.
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