Gateway Canyons: The best kept secret in Colorado? |

Gateway Canyons: The best kept secret in Colorado?

Gateway Canyons is just over three hours from Vail, and is beautiful. You might even still be able to catch some fall colors.
Liana Moore | Special to the Daily |

Where in Colorado can you see a one-of-a-kind 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 concept car, take a fast sports car out for a drive, see the canyons from a helicopter, play outdoor laser tag, take a horseback ride amongst spectacular scenery, relax at the spa, mountain bike, hike or learn the history of the area from a Curator of Curiosity?

Most of the guests we spoke to during our visit felt as though they had also just happened to stumble upon this special place. One of the best kept secrets in Colorado, Gateway Canyons Resort is a luxury oasis in the middle-of-nowhere, Colorado.

Surrounded by canyons on all sides, this resort is an interesting blend of New Mexican design style and enchanting vistas mixed with Colorado colors and locale. Created by the founder of the Discovery Channel, this resort has unearthed the history of the area to make it an interesting place to visit.

Gateway Canyons Resort Located in Beautiful Colorado

The drive to Gateway Canyons Resort is spectacular. It is different from the many other beautiful resort and Front Range landscapes. This area south of Grand Junction feels like the middle of nowhere, on a winding road sandwiched between canyons. The area to the north of Gateway Canyons Resort has some of the most vibrant orange and red colors of fall in Colorado. The many rock formations are ancient. During the summer months Gateway Canyons is actually a short hour drive from Moab on a dirt road.

Gateway Canyons Resort Lodging

Gateway Canyons is a beautifully landscaped walking resort. Buildings built in an adobe Santa Fe style are scattered throughout the property. Its design maximizes outdoor living and the spectacular canyon views.

There are several different room types at Gateway Canyons Resort. They are all as beautiful as the exterior of the resort with thought to every detail. Some rooms even boast a private hot tub on the balcony. The casitas are set further back on the property for more privacy, spectacular views and are spacious. The outdoor showers in the casitas are a really lovely touch.

Things to Do at Gateway Canyons Resort

Don’t be fooled into thinking there won’t be much to do at Gateway Canyons Resort just because it is in the middle of nowhere. The resort was created by John Hendricks, the founder of the Discovery Channel. It seems he has designed it to share his interests and story with those who visit.

Gateway Canyons Resort Adventure Center

The Adventure Center is where you can arrange almost any type of group activity that you can imagine: off road touring in UTVs or Jeeps, sport shooting, high tech outdoor laser tag, archery, air tours in the resort helicopter and more.

On our brief visit, we only had time to take advantage of Palisade Ranch horseback riding, which we loved. After speaking to Mandy, the manager at the activities center, we were most disappointed that we didn’t get to try the outdoor laser tag. It does require a minimum of 10 people. Mandy excitedly showed us the high tech equipment while describing the experience as “freaking sweet.”

Gateway Canyons Auto Museum

An auto museum wouldn’t typically be on my to-do list, but without knowing much about it, I did know it was something my husband would love. As we were checking in we browsed around the lobby. A coffee table book immediately grabbed my husband’s attention — “The Performing Art of the American Automobile: The Hendricks Collection on Exhibit at the Gateway Colorado Auto Museum.” The auto museum is John Hendrick’s personal collection on display for resort guests. The highlight is the one-of-a-kind 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 concept car.

Hiking, Biking & Climbing Gateway Canyons Resort

Gateway Canyons offers many different guided hiking, biking and climbing excursions. Or, depending on your ability level you could explore on your own. The morning after a full moon I managed to get out prior to sunrise and hike a trail starting right on the resort property. The sunrise and full moon both at the same time was quite a sight.

Enrichment at Gateway Canyons Resort

It was fascinating to take in a talk from the resort’s Curator of Curiosity, Zebulon Miracle. He is a wealth of information about the area. The oldest rock layer on the resort’s signature landmark, “The Palisade” is 290 million years old. People lived in the area 1,200 years ago. One of the West’s most famous outlaws may have committed one of his first bank robberies in the area. As fascinating as Zebulon’s talk was, I can only imagine what a treat it would be to take one of his excursions.

Gateway Canyons Resort Spa

Our visit was a short one so we did not take time to experience a luxurious spa service ourselves. All of the treatments sound wonderful. We did manage to find time to enjoy the state-of-the-art steam room, sauna and outdoor spa all of which are accessible to all resort guests at no additional charge. It was the perfect way to relax after any of the active adventures the resort offers.

Driven Experience

For the car lover, Gateway Canyons offers a fleet of luxury and sports cars available for rent. You can rent a Porche 911, Bentley Continental, Tesla Roadster and explore the windy mountain roads in a fast sports car.

Truly anyone would be hard pressed not to enjoy this oasis in the middle of beautiful Colorado. John Hendricks has managed to create luxury and every possible attention to detail in a magical place in the American West that otherwise people would never think or know to visit. I am very glad to know that most of the property acreage is under a conservation easement and that the resort is committed to energy conservation, protecting scenic landscapes and critical wildlife habitats.

For those who haven’t yet made Thanksgiving plans, it could be the perfect time to check out the resort. The chef is offering a special Thanksgiving dinner and there is a schedule full of special events available including a wine tour and complimentary excursions with Curator of Curiosity, Zebulon Miracle.

Liana Moore is Chief Mama Blogger at Insider Families and marketing director at Antlers at Vail. She can be reached at, or

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