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  • Writer's pictureMick McMurray

8 Days Exploring Grand Mesa Colorado

Updated: May 22

Exploring Grand Mesa, Colorado is an adventure that should not be missed. The mesa is the largest flat-topped mountain in the world and is a unique geological formation that rises over 10,000 feet above sea level. The scenic drive to the top of the mesa is an experience in itself, with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Once on top, visitors can explore the many hiking trails, fishing spots, and scenic overlooks that the mesa has to offer. The abundant wildlife and diverse plant life make it a nature lover's paradise. The cooler temperatures at the top of the mesa provide a refreshing escape from the summer heat of the valley below. Whether you're looking for a scenic drive, a challenging hike, or a peaceful fishing spot, Grand Mesa has something for everyone. To see our blog post on Mesa Lakes Recreation Area go HERE.

We took 4 days driving to Grand Mesa with overnight stops in Oxford, Iowa, Doniphan, Nebraska, and Strasburg, Colorado.

When we made our reservations at The Jumbo Campground in the Mesa Lakes Recreation Area the only space available was a double site which we booked for 3 nights. It was so beautiful up on the mesa that we decided to stay longer. The camp host was wonderful in helping us stay in our site. We stayed here for 9 nights. This was our last stop on a long summer road trip. to see the start on this trip click here.

Our trailer and truck in our campsite at the jumbo campground in Mesa Lakes on the grand Mesa in Colorado
Our Jumbo campsite

There is so much to see and do up on the mesa. We loved hiking around the Mesa Lakes area with its many lakes and streams. We were at one or another of the lakes in the area for nearly every sunrise and sunset. With over 300 lakes on the mesa, it was easy to do. There were 4 lakes within walking distance of the campground.

Given the high elevation of the campground, which sat at an impressive 10,500 feet, we had to take it easy during our hikes. Despite this, we managed to embark on a short and beautiful hike along the West Bench Trail from Sunset Lake. The trail took us through stunning meadows and babbling streams, providing us with picturesque views of the surrounding landscape. Although our hike was short, it was still a memorable experience that allowed us to connect with nature and take in the serene beauty of our surroundings.

There is no cell service on the mesa that we could find except at the Visitors Center. We made 3 or 4 trips there to check missed calls and messages and to explore the area. We drove out Road 121 for about 15 miles. It is a dirt road with many lakes and beautiful views.

We did some kayaking in Sunset Lake by the campground and at Island Lake, the largest lake on the mesa. At Island Lake, my inflatable kayak sprung a leak about three-quarters of a mile from the beach so I had to connect the pump to the kayak and paddle back to the beach by paddling a few strokes and then pumping some. I was tired when we made it back.

This was our 2nd trip to Grand Mesa; I don’t think it will be our last.

It took us 3 days to get home with stops in Beaver, Utah, and Las Vegas. It was good to get home. To see our first trip to Grand Mesa check out our "Summer in Colorado" trip.

Lorna's Tips and Lessons

It was here that we had the final ride in Mick’s leaky kayak. It happened in the middle of the lake and we were grateful that I had brought an extra hand pump so he was able to pump the kayak while paddling back to shore. So I will always have a small, light weight hand pump with me when kayaking with an inflatable kayak.


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