Grand Mesa



The Grand Mesa is between Grand Junction and Delta, Colorado. It rises more than 5,000 feet above the surrounding terrain, and is one of the largest flat-top mountains in the world. For summer recreation use, it has numerous Forest Service campgrounds and more than 300 lakes, as well as more than 300 miles of trails. It has Engelmann spruce and sub-alpine fir, as well as aspens. It is popular during winter with snowshoers, cross-country skiers, and snowmobilers, as the annual snowpack reaches a depth of 5 to 10 feet. Alpine skiers utilize the Powderhorn Ski Area, on the north side of the mesa.


The Crag Crest National Recreation Trail, a 6.5 mile stretch of rocky trail at 11,200 feet, offers splendid views to both the north and south. If you’re going to hike that trail, start early, as we heard thunder on the top as early as 10:40 in the morning. Getting caught up there by a thunderstorm is a distinctly inadvisable thing to do, as there are several miles of that trail from which there is no lateral escape – you must get to the end of the trail to descend.


Lisa and I are standing near the west end of that trail in the two pictures below. As you can see, there are steep drops off both sides of the trail, which is in some places considerably narrower than where we were at the time.







One afternoon, and again slightly before noon another day, we got pea-sized hail. Since the trailer was sited above 10,000 feet, that’s not real surprising. The hail wasn’t big enough to do any damage, but it left the ground looking as if it has snowed. We really love having our trailer – with a refrigerator full of cold beer and frozen meat, and hot showers, we are no longer camping. We are living in a cottage in the woods which we can move whenever the urge for different scenery strikes us.





Below is the view to the north from the Crag Crest trail.






From the Crag Crest trail, the views are mostly of fir and spruce, but there are lovely aspen stands on the mountain as well.





Grand Mesa is justifiably popular with Colorado residents escaping the heat of lower altitudes on weekends. During the week, we had the campground mostly to ourselves except for a few fishermen and 5 trailers of Mennonites who were holding a reunion on the Mesa. Arriving during the week will practically ensure a good selection of camping spots.




All content © 2006 by Linden B. Sisk. All rights reserved.


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