Divide Road on the Uncompahgre Plateau
Aliases: Casto Reservoir, Uncompahgre Plateau
The Uncompahgre Plateau has some of the best ponderosa pine forest in the state, as well as excellent mixed coniferous forest, aspen woodland, montane shrubland, and mountain meadows. And the way to see all of it is to drive the Divide Road. Starting out in pinyon-juniper woodland (with Juniper Titmouse, Virginia’s and Black-throated Gray Warblers, Pinyon Jay, and more), you soon rise into ponderosa woodland (Williamson’s Sapsucker, Grace’s Warbler, Green-tailed Towhee, Pygmy Nuthatch), then aspens (Purple Martin, Red-naped Sapsucker, Flammulated Owl), and finally mixed conifers and meadows (Mountain Bluebird, Vesper Sparrow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet). Keep an eye out for mammals, including Abert’s squirrel, American badger, black bear, and, if you are really lucky, a mountain lion or a bobcat.
Habitat: Pinyon-Juniper Forest, Scrub Oak Forest, Ponderosa Forest, Aspen Grove, Spruce-Fir Forest
Directions: From Whitewater on US 50 southeast of Grand Junction, take Colorado 141 west for 15 miles. Turn left onto Divide Road (FR 402), switchback up the plateau, and continue to Montrose County. Casto Reservoir - take FR 403, off of the Divide Road, three miles west. Divide Road stays on top of the plateau for most of its length, at times exceeding 9,000 feet elevation. Several interesting side roads lead off the plateau: Other high-clearance forest roads connect to highways in the valleys, but be aware of weather and road conditions before attempting them.
Delorme: 55 B4-D5
Roads of Colorado: 97 D1-D3
Dates of Access: Road closed during the winter months
Ownership: US Forest Service
Lodging: Primitive camping
Handicapped Access: Limited viewing from car