Head to Carson Lake on the Grand Mesa this summer and explore the pristine 35-acre lake located near Lands End. Carson Lake is a beautiful and peaceful setting for catching brook trout, hiking, watching yellow-bellied Marmots and birds and taking in the scenery.
The City of Grand Junction will drain Carson Lake in late summer 2018 in anticipation of a City dam upgrade project. The project, which will span three years and three phases, will upgrade the dam which was constructed in 1947.
Beginning Friday, June 8, 2018, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will lift the bag and possession limit for all fish in Carson Lake in an effort to remove as many fish as possible from the lake prior to draining. All fish must be caught legally per CPW fishing regulations. All regulations other than bag and possession limit will still apply and all anglers must have a valid Colorado fishing license with them while fishing. No belly boats or float tubes will be allowed in the lake. More information about fishing, including fishing regulations, is available on the CPW website.
The lake will be drained in August or September of 2018 for an engineering firm to assess the structure for any potential future failure possibilities. In 2019, the lake will re-fill with water, but the fish will not be replenished while the engineering firm develops the construction specifications. In 2020, the lake will once again be drained for construction. In the spring of 2021, the lake will be refilled. CPW anticipates stocking the lake sometime in 2021, after the project is complete and the lake is refilled. Bag and possession limits may be reinstated in spring of 2021.
Getting to Carson Lake
There are two ways to find Carson Lake, both accessible via two-wheel sedan (although the 1.4-mile drop down into Carson Lake is a little tough): Take I-70 east into DeBeque Canyon, turn off at the Powderhorn/Grand Mesa exit, drive to the top of the mesa, turn right on the Lands End road and go until you see the Carson Lake sign. Or, go up Lands End Road.
Driving up Lands End is one of the most spectacular drives in the area. Take Highway 50 south past Whitewater to the Lands End/Kannah Creek Road (a half-mile past mile marker 45 on Highway 50). Turn left (east) and travel 2.9 miles to where the road splits with Kannah Creek/Purdy Mesa. Veer to the left and stay on the Lands End Road all the way to the top.
The road has a few washboards and there are several switchbacks, but the family sedan can make it. From the top of Lands End Road near the Lands End Observatory, it’s 9.6 miles to the Carson Lake turnoff, then another 1.4 miles to the lake.