A Unique and Breathtaking Place

Elevation 5,645 ft.
Population 1,633

The town of Paonia is named for the peony flower. Legend has it that Samuel Wade, who settled the area with William Clark and Enos Hotchkiss, wanted to name the town after one of his favorite flowers, using the greek spelling Paeonia. Whether the name was misspelled intentionally or by accident, when the town was incorporated in 1902, it was given the name Paonia. Peony plants from the original stock are said to be growing today in Paonia Town Park more than 100 years later. Paonia is a unique community, made vibrant by its artists, activists, agriculturists, foodies, and artisans. Paonia’s several local media sources include KVNF (90.9), a Paonia-based public radio station that broadcasts from Grand Junction to Lake City and beyond, and The High Country News, which is an internationally renowned award winning environmental newspaper published in Paonia.

Visitors to Paonia can find pleasant accommodations among several Inns and Bed and Breakfasts in town. The Bross Hotel, one of the oldest inns in town, has been operating since 1906. For a complete list of lodgings visit our Paonia Lodging page.


Proudly, Paonia Park is the social heart of town. The town park occupies an entire city block and is filled with amenities for all ages, including picnic tables, a playground, a skate park, a teen center, a sports field and an impressive canopy of tall trees in a wide variety of species. It is this canopy that makes Paonia a “Tree City USA” selection year after year. Numerous orchards provide locals and visitors with enormous amounts of fresh fruit, from crisp apples and juicy peaches to tart cherries and mouthwatering apricots, prunes, pears, and grapes. Other great attractions of Paonia include wine tastings, the historic theater, and Paonia State Park.

Arts & Entertainment

Paonia is one of the State of Colorado’s certified Creative Districts. Colorado Creative Districts attract artists and creative entrepreneurs to a community, infusing new energy and innovation, which in turn enhances the economic and civic capital of the community. Districts also serve as a focal point for celebrating and strengthening a community’s unique identity, become a space to showcase cultural and artistic organizations and events, and contribute to the development of healthy communities. For more information on the North Fork Valley Creative Coalition click here.

The Blue Sage is a community-owned performing arts center. Check the schedule in their front window because nationally known artists and performers are often on the schedule. The vibrant music scene includes a valley symphony, a valley youth orchestra, various chamber groups, plus contemporary music acts. The Paradise Theater shows mainstream and independent movies, and is a lively venue for musical and literary events. Stroll down Grand Avenue, Paonia’s main street, and pop into the galleries for a peek. Paonia is home to many artists and musicians! Be here in August for the Pickin’ in the Park Free Concert Series. Every Thursday in August. Concerts start at 6pm (grab a to go dinner from one of the great dining establishments and make it a picnic). Each Night will feature 3 bands and lasts until around 9pm.

Food, Wine, & the Great Outdoors!

Most restaurants are within a few blocks of Grand Street. Paonia Breadworks sources fresh ingredients from local producers and blend them into their recipe; they are a small-town bakery and café serving the community artisanal sourdough breads made from organic and locally sourced ingredients. Nido opened it’s doors in 2019 offering traditional Mexican cuisine with an Asian twist. Each of Nido’s menu item is uniquely created with fresh, organic ingredients that are local when possible. Just outside town are numerous orchards and vineyards. Paonia sits in the middle of the West Elks American Viticulture Area, a nationally designated wine growing area. Be sure to visit a winery or two.

Fresh fruit is available during the summer at local orchards, such as Delicious OrchardsFirst Fruits and Orchard Valley to name a few. Paonia’s fruit bounty includes cherries in early July, peaches in August, and apples and grapes in the fall.  Paonia is also home to Valley Organic Growers Association (VOGA) whose mission is to promote local sustainable agriculture by supporting and educating producers and consumers.
Paonia State Park features great scenery, water-skiing, wildflowers and camping. Camp near a babbling stream and water-ski the mountain reservoir in view of majestic Ragged Mountains a mecca for photographers and nature lovers. In the summer rafting and canoeing are available on the North Fork River. Fishermen enjoy fly-fishing nearby in the Black Canyon, and there are numerous mountain bike and single-track trails nearby. In the winter, skiers enjoy cross-country and back-country skiing on McClure Pass.

Annual Events

Pickin’ in the Park

Pickin’ in the Park is a community funded concert series featuring national acts in the beautiful Paonia Town Park. It is every Thursday evening in August. The events are made for everyone from little kids to our elders and everyone in between. There are food vendors and lots of fun activities for the kids. We will also be continuing the children’s scholarships and workshops.  It’s going to be a great year! Find out more at www.pickinproductions.com

Mountain Harvest Festival

Paonia celebrates the harvest in September with a concert series featuring well over 20 musical acts, poetry, an art show, a chili cook off, a street dance, crafts, wine tasting, and lots of great North Fork Valley food. Fun for one and all! Visit The Mountain Harvest Festival or call 970-527-3424 for more information.

Paonia Cherry Days

The Fourth of July Cherry Days has been celebrated for over 50 years. If you are looking for a small town old-fashioned holiday, book early at one of the Bed & Breakfasts or at one of the town’s motels. A carnival, parade, craft and food booths are among the highlights of this exciting annual event. Visit Paonia Cherry Days for more information.

Top of the Rockies BMW Rally

The Top O’ The Rockies Rally is an annual rally for the BMW Motorcycle Club of Colorado providing riders and their guests with the best riding and scenery Colorado has to offer. Visit the Top O’ The Rockies Rally for more information.

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