Tuesday, August 16, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 19 – Grand Mesa

After putting it off for several days due to weather concerns, we finally decided Sunday may be a good day for a drive up on the Grand Mesa, which is the largest flat top mountain in the world at 500 sq.mi. and reaches an elevation of 11,333’ so it is not your typical western mesa.  We decided to do it as a loop which began by driving southeast on US-50 to Delta, then east on CO-92, and finally north on CO-65 and once we turned onto CO 65, it was obvious we were going uphill.  The two reasons for going up on the mesa were to see the scenery and to beat the heat – when we drove through Delta at about 10:30 it was 76F and at the top of the mesa it was 58F (and I forgot my jacket) and it was 86F when we returned to GJ.

These are shots of the mesa as we started up and of the valley south of it from near the top.  We commented on how pretty it must be in the fall so the last shot is from the web.

On the way up the mountain, we stopped to get a shot of this beaver pond and its lodge and unfortunately, this was the closest thing to wildlife we saw except for trout jumping in one of the numerous lakes.

We stopped at the visitors center then drove about 3 miles back on the 121 forest road past several lakes being enjoyed by boaters and fishermen only to discover civilization.

I wasn't sure how these places were able to be in the national forest but it leases them the land and they own the structure.  What a place to spend time in the hot weather.

Following are some shots as we traveled along from the north side of the mesa - the fall shot is from the web.

We drove on to Mesa Lakes area for a picnic lunch but first passed the Mesa Lakes Resort.

Our lunch consisted of salami, cheese, crackers, apple and a bottle of Colorado Cellars Alpenglo white wine.  This is the shot from my side of the picnic table.

And this is the shot from the top of the dirt (dike).

While we were getting ready to eat, a couple came along the dike and I asked them about the fishing.  Turns out they live in Grand Junction and have a cabin just out of site from where we are – they told me about the lease/ownership situation.  They are an hour away and come up on the weekends to fish and beat the heat – they said the previous weekend, it was over 100F in GJ and didn’t get above 60F on the mesa.

After a leisurely lunch we headed back and got this shots across the grand valley - don't know if was hazy or smoky.

When we got down to the valley floor we followed Plateau Creek though its impressive canyon - the carving done by water in the American west is unbelievable - think Grand Canyon or the parks in Utah.

It was a fun and beautiful five hour day which could only have been better had we seen a moose, which were reintroduced on the Grand Mesa beginning in 2005.  

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


8/7/16 event dates


  1. What a fun day exploring and a picnic lunch ti set it off. That is pretty high elevation but you did beat the heat.

  2. The heights that some folks will drive to to beat the heat!! lol Sure glad you did because your pictures are gorgeous.

  3. I can't believe how the trees are already turning yellow!

    What a nice day!

  4. Larry, A full day of sightseeing for sure! Nice photos too... Those 'borrowed' Fall season photos provide impetus for a Fall season drive. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  5. What gorgeous photos, Larry. This sounds like you are continuing to have a great adventure. Happy trails :-)

  6. But what if the moose got the lemon pie I'm making for you before the postman can find Big Dude, c/o Sweetie the Coach, Somewhere in Colorado? Seriously, it looks like it was a nice ride. And I can tell that it's chilly out, because the ladies are both wearing long sleeves.

  7. I love that drive and the scenery across the way. I do believe I've been in every spot you photographed. And shoot! No Moose. I wonder how many there are? They keep count in RMNP and I haven't heard numbers lately from there. But they're very easy to see around Grand Lake. And last time I was in Estes, they had recently re-introduced and there were only 7. I was disappointed I couldn't find one. :) And I love that photo of Bev and Pat in their jackets. Love that cool mountain air.

  8. We have talked about going to that area but are always on our way to somewhere else. Looks like we need to remedy that. What a nice picnic.

  9. Oh My Goodness... I'd love that drive ---and wow, how about going back in Fall when the Aspens are yellow!!!!! WOW....

    Wish I was with you since it is horribly hot here and still NO RAIN on the plateau... Yuk... I'd love those cooler temperatures.

    P.S. We have blog friends that live in Delta. They have a big farm/ranch up there... We met them in 2011 when we were in Grand Junction... Nice family.

  10. Another beautiful post Larry. Love all your photos. There is nothing like that big sky! Happy travels :)


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