5 Flat Out Good Reasons to Play on Grand Mesa

Grand Mesa – the largest flat-topped mesa in the world


So what makes the Grand Mesa such a giant playground? It’s close to 500 square miles of alpine forest that includes over 300 lakes, and over 400 miles of recreation trails for winter and summer use. The Grand Mesa is flat out fun for winter recreation!

Getting outside on the Grand Mesa in the winter is as good as you can get. The crisp pure air and crystal blue skies create an environment for a heart pumping, breathtaking (literally) playground. No matter what toys you bring to play with, if you need snow and a level playing field, Grand Mesa is your ticket.






1. Playgrounds to put your skis on. Here are the best two:

These trail systems are well groomed thanks to the Grand Mesa Nordic Council, an organization dedicated to Nordic Skiing. Be sure to visit their website for trail descriptions, weather conditions, and a great map. Need lodging? Grand Mesa Lodge, Alexander Lake Lodge and Thunder Mountain Lodge are all experts on Grand Mesa.


  • County Line — Well groomed, easy parking access, new restrooms and lots of trail choices to pick what works for you. Two overlooks offer skiers spectacular 100 mile views of the San Juan Mountains to the south, and Battlements to the north. This trailhead is accessed right at County Line on the north side of Hwy 65. The opposite side from the snowmobile trails.
  • Ward Creek: The trails pass through high timber, frozen lakes and some open areas. An overlook offer skiers spectacular 100 mile views of the San Juan Mountains to the south. This site can be found on the south side of Grand Mesa and offers a variety of trail uses. Check out the Gramd Mesa Nordic Council site for details on trails.


 2. Snowshoeing is a great way to play on Grand Mesa:

Many of the trails for snowshoeing are also used by skiers. They have an etiquette for use so that the snowshoes don’t break up the smooth skiing trails. This makes the experience enjoyable for all. There is a Dog Loop there too, for those who have to bring their four-legged friend.


  • Snowshoers are requested to use Ward Creek trails, designated trails at County Line, or any of the many non-GMNC trails on the Grand Mesa.  If you snowshoe on groomed ski trails, walk single file along the outside of the skate lane to prevent collisions with skiers and to avoid damaging the skate and classic tracks.


3. Ice Fishing made easy:

Many of the lakes on Grand Mesa are great for Ice Fishing, once the ice has gotten thick enough. These three are great because they are close to lodges where you can get a bite to eat and warm up. Need to rent or a guide? Grand Mesa Adventures can make your trip fun.



4. Sledders with big machines love the speed and we have trails for that:

Snowmobiling on Grand Mesa is a local favorite winter activity. Lots of uncrowded places and trails to take your sled without running into other users. Bring your own sled or rent from Grand Mesa Adventures.


  • Powderhorn to Sunlight Trail. This trail is approximately 180 miles of groomed trails. It is part of the Grand Mesa National Forest and moves into the Whiteriver National Forest. This is the longest snowmobile trail in the lower 48.
  • Trails on Grand Mesa for Snowmobiles can be found on this funny little map from the Colorado Vacation Directory.
  • Mesa Tops. A new warming station with restrooms and ample pull-through parking make this a popular place to put your sled onto the trails. This trailhead can be found near County Line on the south side                of Hwy 65.


5. Fido wants to play too:

  • Dog Loop: Yes, you can bring your dog. Enjoy skiing with your best canine friend in the area originally designated for dogs. You will find the Loop on the map from the Grand Mesa Nordic Council.


We said it was big and it is big. We even have a place for those who want to go downhill

Grand Mesa has a long history of skiing and the old Mesa Creek Ski Hill is still a favorite with locals for boarding.


  • Powderhorn Resort is a local ski area that can be accessed from I-70 onto Hwy 65 or straight off of Hwy 65 on the north side of Grand Mesa. If your coming in from any distance, be sure to stop at any Shell Gas Station for discounted lift tickets.


Alexander Lake Lodge also has dining options. Grand Mesa Lodge has a convenience store and some dining. Thunder Mountain Lodge has Cabins only.

Alexander Lake Lodge    Grand Mesa Lodge     Thunder Mountain Lodge      Mesa Lakes Lodge has dining.

CEDAREDGE – nearest services

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