Top 5 Things To Do on the Grand Mesa

September 02, 2020

The Grand Mesa in Colorado is a mecca for year-round mountain recreation.

Top 5 Things To Do on the Grand Mesa

Nestled on the Western Slope of Colorado is the Grand Mesa, the largest flattop mountain in the world. Spanning Delta, Garfield,Mesa & Gunnison counties, the Grand Mesa is home to the Grand Mesa National Forest, lakes, hunting properties, Powderhorn ski resort, and tons of seasonal activities. 

One of the reasons that the Grand Mesa has so much to do is its diverse location and varying altitudes. The Mesa rises approximately 6000 feet in elevation from the surrounding valley floors - like Grand Valley near Grand Junction to the north and the Gunnison River Valley near Delta to the south - eventually topping out at around 11,000 feet. 

Located in the Grand Mesa is the Grand Mesa National Forest with over 346,000 acres or 541 square miles to explore, you’ll never get bored. Read on to discover the top five things to do on the Grand Mesa.

  1. Hunting on the Grand Mesa Offers Tons of Game

The Grand Mesa is terrific for big game hunting for elk, mule deer, black bear, mountain lion & moose, along with dusky grouse, and wild turkey. Home to game management units 41, 411, 421, 52, and 521, hunters can acquire over-the-counter licenses for many of these species.  

Elk hunting is one of the Grand Mesa’s most popular activities, and The Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife does a great job managing herd populations. The herd population objective is 10,500 animal units with a composition objective of 25 bulls to every 100 cows. While your chances of landing a trophy bull are slim here, there’s a good chance of taking a nice bull in the 280s, which is more than what most hunters can dream. 

  1. Exploring Miles of Mountain Trails

The Grand Mesa is etched with hundreds of miles of forest service roads and trails that lead to gorgeous views, lakes, open spaces, and campgrounds. These trails are built for hiking, ATVs, side by sides, horseback riding, and offroad vehicles. Vividly changing seasons mean you can follow the same road for a completely different experience throughout the year. 

  1. Fishing in the Grand Mesa’s 300 Lakes

Whether traversing by vehicle, foot, or on horseback, following the Grand Mesa’s back roads and trails can lead to some spectacular destinations. With over 300 lakes and reservoirs, the Grand Mesa is Western Colorado’s choice destination for fishing. 

Each spring, the lakes and reservoirs fill with runoff from the winter snowpack, which means anglers can fish the many lakes throughout the year whether that’s on a warm summer day or ice fishing in the wintertime. 

The species of fish on the Grand Mesa vary from lake to lake, but throughout the mountain, you’ll find: Colorado River cutthroat trout, Rainbow trout, Brown trout, Brook trout, Tiger trout, Snake River cutthroat trout, and Splake.

  1. Hitting the Slopes

Ice fishing aside, winter on the Grand Mesa is spectacular and offers tons of recreational activities. With a typical annual snowfall of 350 inches, the Grand Mesa is perfect for skiing. 

Nordic skiers can enjoy 31 miles of groomed Nordic trails maintained by the Grand Mesa North Council, while Alpine skiers and snowboarders can spend the day at Powderhorn ski resort on the north side of the Mesa.  

  1. Snowmobiling on the Grand Mesa’s Hills and Open Spaces

Snowmobilers won’t be disappointed with their own trails either. The Grand Mesa is home to hundreds of miles of groomed snowmobile trails from Lands End to Sunlight near Glenwood Springs.

Being a flattop mountain, the Grand Mesa creates and offers a mix of hills and miles of flat terrain with powder for off-trail fun. In fact, it offers such great conditions for snowmobiling that Arctic Cat actually uses the Grand Mesa for their testing grounds!

Call the Grand Mesa Your Playground

No matter your season or activity of choice, the Grand Mesa has something for everyone to enjoy. Living on the Western Slope of Colorado in the Surface Creek Valley, North Fork Valley or Grand River Valley affords you the opportunity to escape to the Grand Mesa every weekend in under 30 minutes on the road. 

If you’re thinking about making the move to Western Colorado and want the Grand Mesa to be your new backyard, check out my current listings below.