Round Trip Distance: 2.5k or 1.6 miles
Elevation: 9771 - 9891 feet
Cellphone: 0-2 bars
Usage: Snowshoeing - Cross Country Skiing - Dogs
Time: 1 hr.
Facilities: Vault toilet
Trailhead: Jumbo Lake
Attractions: Scenic ungroomed trails, moose
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The Mesa Lakes area on the Grand Mesa is a premier destination for Nordic activities on ungroomed trails. The many roads and trails that connect the campgrounds and lakes in the summer months become appealing to snowshoer's and cross country skiers in the winter months. Moose can often times be seen in the area around the cabins and lakes. The natural beauty of the area and its close proximity make Mesa Lakes area a popular venue.
At Mesa Lakes you can pretty much do your own thing and make your own trail or you can follow along someone else's tracks and see where they went. Whatever you decide to do the best place to set out from is the parking area at Jumbo Reservoir.
On this trip I crossed the bridge over the spillway to the campground and followed the road back out towards Sunset Lake.
From the road leading towards Sunset Lake there are two common paths to follow. The tracks leading off to the right are made by folks venturing off on the West Bench trail while the tracks to the left or straight ahead are leading on into the Mesa Lakes area.
I followed the tracks straight ahead and took the Sunset Lake shore trail.
I couldn't help wonder if the different areas of open water, where the creeks flow from one lake to the next, are what attract moose to the area.
There is a picturesque little bridge at the upper end of Beaver Lake. The snow was almost up to the top rail of the bridge. It felt kind of like crossing a balance beam.
I had gone about 3/4 mile by the time I made it to the Glacier Springs trailhead. I turned around after taking a look at Mesa Lake. If I would have had more time I could have more than doubled the length of the hike by taking the trail around Mesa Lake.
There were fresh moose tracks leading off into the trees around some of the cabins. Someone had written "I love moose" in one of the snow banks.
There is something special about the beauty of fresh pristine fallen snow. In 6 more months the blanket of snow will melt away and be replaced by bouquet's of wildflowers of all kinds.
The Mesa Lakes area won't disappoint you. Even when the parking lot is full of vehicles you can often still find your own special spot to reflect on the serenity of the winter scenes. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.