Lake View“Breathtaking scenes overlooking endless forests, and over 300 lakes!” is the easiest way to describe the 63 miles of the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway, which takes you 6,000 ft. skyward into a magical Colorado alpine experience. Travel through 4 major ecological zones on this one drive. From Plateau Creek’s desert sandstone canyon to the evergreen-rich, rarified air of the Land O’ Lakes Area, most of Western Colorado’s geology is represented.

The Grand Mesa is known as the ‘largest flattop mountain in the world’ and serves as a major watershed for Western Colorado, sending its waters down along 5 drainages that support orchards, vineyards, farms, and ranches.

Stop at the Visitor Centers along the route for fishing/boating/biking/camping/skiing information, interpretive exhibits, and public restrooms. One of the more interesting stories involves the abundance of high-mountain lakes.

The lava-capped Grand Mesa has undergone “slump blocking” which creates depressions in the terrain that fill with water. Learn more about this unusual process and the history of water development at the Visitor Centers staffed by the USDA Forest Service and local volunteers.