Exploring Grand Mesa
Updated: May 17
Are you looking for a beautiful and peaceful place to spend your next outdoor adventure? Look no further than the Mesa Lakes Recreation Area! While a day-use fee applies to those not staying at the Jumbo Lakes Campground or the Mesa Lakes Lodge, visitors can explore the area's many natural wonders. Exploring Grand Mesa lakes presents countless photo opportunities.
Located right next to Jumbo Reservoir, the Jumbo Lakes Campground offers hiking trails that are perfect for a refreshing morning walk. For a stunning sunset view, head to Sunset Lake, surrounded by picturesque spruce and aspen forests that are especially vibrant in autumn.
The Glacier Springs Picnic Area is a centrally located spot that provides access to all of the area's lakes, making it a great place to enjoy a leisurely picnic. The area offers picnic tables and a vault toilet near the parking lot, with a fantastic view of three of the area's lakes. To see our Road Trip to Grand Mesa Click HERE.
One of the most picturesque lakes in the area is Glacier Springs Lake, which offers stunning reflections of the surrounding forests and cabins. Meanwhile, Beaver Lake, where you will find Mesa Lake Lodge, is an ideal spot for capturing a breathtaking sunrise photo, with the sun rising over the hills to the east and illuminating the lodge and the surrounding forests with its warm glow.
If you're up for a hike, don't miss the 1.5-mile trail around Mesa Lake, which, along with the Crag Crest Trail, is a "must-do" hike on the Grand Mesa. This well-maintained trail takes about an hour to complete and offers stunning views of the surrounding area.
Whether you're seeking adventure or simply looking to relax and unwind, the Mesa Lakes Recreation Area is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds.
If you're looking for the perfect way to experience the Mesa Lakes Recreation Area, we highly recommend the Jumbo Lakes Campground. With only 26 sites, this campground is an ideal choice for those seeking a more secluded and peaceful retreat. Fifteen of the sites offer electricity, while potable water and vault toilets are available on-site, though there is no dump station.
Situated right on Jumbo Lake, one of the smaller lakes in the area, the campground is just a few steps away from the lake. A paved path leads to Sunset Lake, while a paved road takes you to the Glacier Springs Picnic Area, which provides access to the other lakes in the area. You can book your site preferences HERE. Keep in mind that the campground is open until October 15th or until the first snow, whichever comes first.
We stayed here for 9 nights a couple of years ago and had a wonderful time
If camping isn't your style, consider staying at the Mesa Lakes Lodge, located on Beaver Lake. They offer cabins for rent, boat rentals, and a dining hall with a limited menu. While we haven't stayed in the cabins, we did dine at the hall and can attest that the hamburgers were delicious!
Whether you prefer camping or a more traditional lodging experience, the Mesa Lakes Recreation Area has something for everyone. Don't miss your chance to experience the natural beauty of this stunning area!
Hiking at Mesa Lakes Recreation Area
If you're looking for a beautiful hike in the Mesa Lakes Recreation Area, we highly recommend the South Mesa Lake Trail. This hike begins at the Glacier Springs Picnic Area on the east end of Mesa Lake and takes you through a stunning pine forest. While it's only a mile and a half out and back, it takes around two hours to complete. The trail is well-maintained and relatively easy, although some may consider it moderate due to the elevation gain. Once you reach the top of the climb, you'll start to descend and get glimpses of South Mesa Lake through the trees. As you continue to descend, you'll be treated to stunning views of the entire lake surrounded by the beautiful forest.
Another great hike to explore in the Mesa Lakes Recreation Area is the West Bench Trail. This easy 13-mile out-and-back hike starts at the Jumbo Reservoir on Highway 65 and takes you along Sunset Lake before turning north along Mesa Creek. The trail then continues out to an area above the Powderhorn Ski Resort. While we haven't personally completed the entire 13.5-mile hike, the areas we have explored north of Sunset Lake are absolutely gorgeous. The West Bench Trail is a must-do for any hiking enthusiast visiting the Mesa Lakes Recreation Area.