The Lake of the Woods Trail on the Grand Mesa is a fantastic summertime destination for those seeking a break from the valley’s summer heat to hike or explore. The trail is open to hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking as the area is closed to motorized traffic. The Lake of the Woods Trail flows in, out and around the lush forest with meadows of thick, tall grass and wildflowers, patches of low-growing Oregon grape, dense stands of aspen, Douglas fir and Engelmann spruce. A relatively flat trail the elevation gain is only around 200 feet. The trail meanders in and around small intermittent streams, and across a twisting and rocky terrain that includes splendid glimpses of the Craig Crest Trail.
The Lake of the Woods Trail leads to Bull Creek, which flows from the outlets of Bull Creek reservoirs No. 1 and No. 2 and through reservoir No. 5. The upper mile of this stream is easily fished, and it has several good pools for fishing. However, downstream the majority of Bull Creek is steep and brushy, and much of the stream has poor accessibility.
To reach the Lake of the Woods Trailhead, travel east from Grand Junction on I-70 for 20 miles to the Grand Mesa/Powderhorn exit (#49). That’s Colorado Highway 65, a National Scenic and Historic Byway that travels over the top of the Grand Mesa.
Go through the town of Mesa, past Powderhorn Ski Area and head into the forest. About two miles past the Mesa Lakes Resort area, on the last long curve before heading up the final stretch to the top of the Grand Mesa, you’ll come to mile marker 38. Beyond the mile marker is a long cabled guard rail. Just past the cabled guard rail, turn left on gravel Forest Road 250. Travel four-tenths of a mile to a parking area large enough for horse trailers at the end of the road.