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Grand Mesa Lakes: Exploring Lakes in the Grand Mesa Area
If you’re craving an open air excursion with beautiful lakeside views, the Grand Mesa near Grand Junction, Colorado offers just that. The Grand Mesa is the world’s largest flat-top mountain, covering an area of about 500 miles. With more than 300 lakes, this outdoor playground offers plenty of opportunities to fish, float, hike, and camp. As a bonus for animal lovers, all campsites on the Grand Mesa allow leashed dogs, so pack up your pup and bring plenty of treats!
Camping Near Grand Mesa Lakes
Nestled between Jumbo Reservoir and Sunset Lake, Jumbo campground provides some of the best camping on the Grand Mesa. Mature aspen and spruce trees shade the area, giving campers a cool place to relax for a midday nap. Almost all the sites have views of the lake, ensuring everyone can enjoy its beauty. Reservations are open for this campground from May 28 through October 8.
You can make a reservation here.
Situated along the shore of Cobbett Lake, Cobbett Campground is a great place to pitch a tent for folks who love a waterfront view. Spruce trees grow throughout the campsite, providing shade all day long. If you need a park map or recommendations for outdoor activities, the Grand Mesa Visitor Center is just a ten-minute walk away. Cobbett Campground reservations are open June 18 through September 25.
Visit www.recreation.gov to reserve your campsite.
Big Creek Campground
Located in the Grand Mesa National Forest, Big Creek Campground near the Big Creek Reservoir is an ideal location for campers looking to catch some cutthroat trout. Want to trade in your fishing rod for an ATV ride? Big Creek Campground is located near some of the park’s most popular OHV trail riding routes, providing a unique opportunity for adrenaline junkies.
Please note that this campground doesn’t accept reservations. It’s first come, first served so make sure to arrive early enough in the day to claim a campsite.
Best Lakes to Fish
Grand Mesa also offers some of the most scenic fishing locations in Colorado. From secluded mountain lakes to peaceful babbling creeks, nearly every body of water provides opportunities for fantastic fishing.
Before you cast out your line, keep in mind that Colorado has fishing limits for anglers – plan to research before setting out. You’ll also need an up-to-date fishing license if you’re planning to fish the Grand Mesa lakes.
If you’re looking to snag some rainbow trout, Waterdog Reservoir is the place to fish. Expert anglers recommend fishing near drop-offs and current edges for the best chance at reeling in the big kahunas. However, if you’d rather fish from a boat, the park allows visitors to fish from non-motorized watercraft like canoes and rafts.
Island Lake is Grand Mesa’s largest lake and a popular destination for nature lovers. You may find more anglers here than in other areas of Grand Mesa, but don’t be deterred. There’s plenty of fish to go around. While the lake is lined with relaxing locations to fish from shore, Island Lake has a boat ramp making it easy to fish from kayaks, rowboats, and motorboats. Anglers can expect to see a variety of trout, including brook trout, splake, cutthroat trout, and rainbow trout.
Grand Mesa Hikes With Lake Views
If you prefer outdoor activities besides fishing, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the lakes on the Grand Mesa. With over 3,500 miles of trails, guests have the opportunity to get in their steps while soaking in mountain lake views.
Land O’ Lakes Trail
For an easy and accessible hike that boasts spectacular lake views, the Land O’Lakes Trail makes sightseeing a breeze. This 0.5-mile roundtrip paved trail follows along the ridgeline before leading to an overlook that exposes some of the most amazing views of the Grand Mesa. On a clear day, you are rewarded with miles of breathtaking vistas filled with lush forests broken up by the clear blue water of the alpine lakes below.
Mesa Lakes Trail
Considered one of Grand Mesa’s quintessential hikes, the Mesa Lakes Trail is perfect for the whole family. This easy 2.8-mile loop takes hikers along the Mesa Lake shoreline, providing an up-close view of the lake’s vibrant waters. During the warmer months, wildflowers paint the trail with glorious color.
Many of the hiking trails on the Grand Mesa aren’t just for hikers. Visitors riding horseback can start their adventure at some of the park’s campground trailheads. The Leon Lake trail is a short but beautiful ride. We’d recommend you bring your binoculars so you can see the abandoned fire lookout station on Leon Peak.
Hiking in your car more your speed? The Grand Mesa provides plenty of views from your vehicle with many places to pull over and capture the scenery. Looking for lakes you can easily drive up to and relax? Check out Alexander and Baron Lake.
A hike at Alexander Lake comes with a bonus of burgers and brews. The Alexander Lake Lodge has a full bar and a dining room overlooking the water – making it an excellent place to reward yourself post-hike.
Next to Alexander Lake, you’ll find Baron Lake which is surrounded by tall pines and plenty of shoreline to sit lakeside as the sun sets. Serene and peaceful, visitors often spot deer along the Baron Lake trail at dawn and dusk.
Your Outdoor Adventure Awaits
Whether you’re planning on camping lakeside for a weekend or simply spending the day fishing, the Grand Mesa area is a freshwater oasis. Check out the Official Grand Junction Visitor Guide for more inspiration on your next trip to Grand Junction!