In the early 1800s the area was part of the Northern Ute Reservation, although the Native Americans were later moved west into Utah. In September 1881, the area experienced a landrush settlement and a townsite was staked. This town, located in the Grand Valley, was first called Ute, then West Denver, and finally came to be known as Grand Junction because of its location at the confluence of the Gunnison and Colorado rivers.

By 1883, Mesa County was created from neighboring counties and Grand Junction was named the county seat. Grand Junction began to thrive when the main line of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad came into the area in 1887. Soon after, major irrigation turned the Grand Valley into a fertile agricultural area.

Today Grand Junction is home to a number of light manufacturing and service industries. There are also four area hospitals, a regional airport and a number of recreational opportunities.

The Grand Junction GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (GDP) grew 80% during the last decade, ranking the local economy the 14th fastest growing in the U.S.