Sapinero Mesa Road/Lake City Cutoff (CR 26)
Aliases: Lake City Cut-off
The burned and living ponderosa pine trees in this area provide an excellent place to search for woodpeckers, including the uncommon Three-toed Woodpecker. Other forest birds that can be found here include all three species of nuthatch, Mountain and Western Bluebirds, Western Tanager, and possibly even Grace’s Warbler. This road is sometimes closed in spring to protect the nesting Gunnison Sage-Grouse, which you will be lucky to find in the sagebrush here at any season. Elk, deer, pronghorn, and the local Gunnison’s Prairie-Dog are more likely.
Habitat: Ponderosa Forest, Mixed Conifer Forest, Burn Area, Aspen Grove, Sagebrush
Directions: From Gunnison, go west on US 50 to CO 149. Turn left (south) onto CO 149, heading towards Lake City. Between mile posts 97 & 96, turn right (north) at the top of the hill onto Sapinero Mesa Road (CR 26). This is the best ponderosa stand in the area and the most accessible. It can be walked for miles on the eastern side.
Delorme: 68 B1
Roads of Colorado: 116 A1
Dates of Access: Road closed in winter, and sometimes in spring
Restrictions: Beware poor road conditions, especially after snow or rain
Lodging: Campgrounds in Curecanti National Recreation Area or hotels in Gunnison
Handicapped Access: Some viewing from car