“Life tastes good here!” Palisade is located in the heart of Colorado’s wine country on the Western Slope. It’s only about fifteen minutes east of Grand Junction. The downtown features several blocks of shops and restaurants, with plenty of lodging around town.
Aside from great wine, Palisade has a reputation for its fruit. “Palisade Peaches” are among the most highly praised and famous foods in the state. In fact, its nickname is the “Peach Capital of Colorado.” The unique high desert climate of hot days and cool nights produce especially sweet fruit. Palisade is located at an elevation of 4,728 feet in Mesa County.
Palisade got its name from the scenic palisades of Mancos Shale. The dramatic formations were a result of localized erosion and the downcutting of the Colorado River.
The first inhabitants of the area were Ute Indians before the white settlers came in the 1880s. Since it’s a small town, the settlers decided to bank on the town’s agriculture (instead of following the gold rush, during this era). The town was incorporated on April 4th, 1904.
The first peach trees were planted by John Harly and his wife, Jean. By 1894, the first orchards started to develop. Peach was the main product, but there were also areas where they focused on apples and grapes. Now, the grape area in Palisade is called Vinelands.
Aside from developing the farmlands, Harlow eventually served as the overseer of local justice and peace. As they began the cultivation of peaches, apples, and grapes, the townsfolk had a problem.
Palisade is not a tropical location, so they had to source the water by hauling wagons from the river back to the trees. In 1913 the U.S. Reclamation started an irrigation system for Palisade’s agriculture industry.
Over the decades, it has become a tradition in Palisade to do an annual Palisade Peach Festival. There were no accurate historical records on when the festival formally started, but the early recordings from The Museum of Western Colorado noted that “Peach Days” were popular even back in the 1800s.
Wine Tastings – Most vineyards are open daily and provide wine tastings to the public. And there are many to choose from. Here are just a select few of the wineries in Palisade:
Read about the top things to do in Palisade.
- Colorado River State Park has five sections, several with camping. The Island Acres section in nearby Clifton, exit 247 from I-70 has camping close to the highway.
- Read about the camping near Palisade, Grand Junction, and Fruita.
- Colorado River runs past town and has excellent trout fishing.
- Read about the hiking trails near Grand Junction and Fruita.
Hotels and lodging:
- Wind Country Inn – This wine-themed Victorian accommodation features 80 comfortable rooms. The best part? It’s located within a 21-acre working vineyard.
- Read about the best hotels in Palisade.
- Read about the top bed and breakfasts in Grand Junction and Palisade.
There are several bars in town located within walking distance of one another. The Palisade Brewery serves up local microbrew, and the Peach Street Distillery has won national recognition for its spirits, notably whiskey. Usually, the last one to close, the Palisade Livery Saloon is an Old West dive serving up cheap beer and grub.
Jun – Palisade Bluegrass & Roots Festival – Three days in early June of bluegrass concerts in Riverbend Park.
Aug – Palisade Peach Festival – A weekend party celebrating Palisade’s long history of peach growing in mid-August.
Sep – Colorado Mountain Winefest – Four-day festival in Colorado Wine Country capping off the end of summer in the latter half of September.
Activities near Palisade
- Colorado National Monument (20mi)
- Colorado River
- Grand Mesa National Forest
- Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range
- Powderhorn Mountain Resort (28mi)
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