4 Wheel & Off Road - - CONTENTS - BY Harry Wag­ner ED­I­[email protected] PHO­TOG­RA­PHY HARRY WAG­NER

From scenic to hard­core, this place has it all.

MEMO­RIAL DAY KICKS OFF THE wheel­ing sea­son for much of the coun­try, and Colorado is no ex­cep­tion. Just af­ter Memo­rial Day each year the Grand Mesa Jeep Club (GMJC) hosts Rock Junc­tion. Orig­i­nally the event was a hard­core rock­crawl­ing gath­er­ing that ran trails in Mon­trose, Moab, and Ran­g­ley. These des­ti­na­tions are all within easy driv­ing dis­tance of Grand Junc­tion, which serves as the base of op­er­a­tions for Rock Junc­tion. Over the years the event has evolved to be more in­clu­sive, with scenic trail rides for stock ve­hi­cles and the ad­di­tion of the Rocky Moun­tain Off Road Expo. And for the sec­ond year, GMJC led the mul­ti­day Rock Junc­tion Ren­de­vous Over­land­ing Trip.

The growth has not di­luted the spirit of Rock Junc­tion, as the Grand Mesa Jeep Club is one of the most ac­tive 4x4 clubs in the coun­try. In ad­di­tion to host­ing Rock Junc­tion the club has worked with the lo­cal BLM of­fice to open new trails and to main­tain ex­ist­ing trails to keep them open. The level of ef­fort hasn’t been triv­ial, but the club’s suc­cess serves as a road map for other groups around the coun­try look­ing to achieve the same re­sults.

This year we ran Billings Canyon and took back­roads through the Colorado Na­tional Mon­u­ment and Glade Park. Billings is an ex­am­ple of the club’s work with the BLM and of­fers world-class rock­crawl­ing within min­utes of Grand Junc­tion. The canyon is lo­cated within the Bangs Canyon Recre­ation Area, which is suc­cess­fully shared with moun­tain bik­ers and hik­ers. The en­tire event is per­mit­ted by the BLM and U.S. Forest Ser­vice, fur­ther strength­en­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween these or­ga­ni­za­tions and the GMJC and open­ing up op­por­tu­ni­ties for even more trails in the fu­ture.

Whether you are a new wheeler look­ing to hit harder trails or have a grow­ing fam­ily and have re­placed your rock­crawl­ing buggy with a four door JK, Rock Junc­tion has some­thing for ev­ery­one.

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