The Grand Mesa, one of the largest table mountains in North America, provides a first-class nature experience. Accessible year-round, the Mesa has something to offer at any time, day or night. A large variety of roads access the mesa, but the best is CO 65, which crosses from north to south and connects a number of trails and recreation areas. One of the better places to stop is the Mesa Lakes area, which has a variety of trails into spruce-fir woodland. Look for American Three-toed Woodpecker, Gray and Steller’s Jays, Clark’s Nutcracker, and if you’re lucky, White-winged Crossbill. American Dipper is regular along streams in the area. The Mesa Lakes Lodge has busy bird feeders for much of the year. Not far to the south the highway crosses a number of willow carrs that have Fox Sparrow in summer, amid the more common Wilson’s Warblers and Lincoln Sparrows. The entire roadside is good for finches of all stripes, including Red Crossbill and Pine Grosbeak, especially in winter. If you visit this area at night, listen for Northern Saw-whet and Boreal Owls (this is one of the best places in western Colorado for the latter). At the southern end of the mesa is a well laid-out visitor center surrounded by meadows and coniferous woodland; this is one of the best areas to listen for Boreal Owl and look for White-winged Crossbill. The Grand Mesa is about more than just birds; it is also one of the few places in this part of Colorado where moose can be seen (though they are rare); other mammal possibilities include bighorn sheep, mule deer, elk, and if you are lucky, something like pine marten or badger.
Habitat: Mixed-Conifer Forest, Scrub Oak Forest, Aspen Grove, Spruce-Fir Forest, Mountain Meadow
Directions: Access is via Colorado 65, which traverses the 10,000-foot, flat-topped mountain north to south, between 1-70 Exit 49 and Colorado 92 just east of Delta and via the Lands End Road which leaves U. S. Highway 50 twelve miles southeast of Grand Junction. Grand Mesa National Forest campgrounds are open in summer, and lodging is available year round.
Delorme: 44 D1-D3
Roads of Colorado: 82 B2-B3
Dates of Access: Open all year
Ownership: US Forest Service/Private
Restrictions: Respect private property where you find it
Parking: Parking areas
Lodging: Camping and tourist lodge
Handicapped Access: Handicap accessible facilities and camping; some car birding.