Round Trip Distance: 1 mile
Round Trip Distance: 4 miles (loop around lake)
Difficulty: Easy - Moderate
Elevation: 5755 - 5947 feet
Cellphone: 0-4 bars
Usage: Hiking - Equestrian - Dogs
Time: 30 mins. ( 3 hrs. loop)
Facilities: Vault toilet at lake
Trailhead: Juniata Reservoir
Attractions: Fishing, wildlife
View Juniata Reservoir in a larger map
Juniata Reservoir is located at the base of the Grand Mesa on Purdy Mesa east of the town of Whitewater. The reservoir is part of the Grand Junction City water storage system. Juniata is an Indian name, not Spanish, and is properly pronounced as Joo-Nee-Ah-Tah. The most amazing part of Juniata Reservoir is that for such a large body of water in close proximity to Grand Junction only a small fraction of the people know it's there. It is almost like hiding an elephant in a strawberry patch.
The quickest route to Juniata Reservoir would be to measure from the junction of 32 Road and US Highway 50 and drive south, towards Whitewater for 6.9 miles. Turn left on Kannah Creek/Lands End Road and follow it for 5.5 miles. When you get to the fork where the Kannah Creek Road splits off to the right continue to the left on the Lands End Road. Turn right onto Divide Road and follow it for a half mile and take the first left onto the Purdy Mesa Road. Follow the Purdy Mesa Road for 1.2 miles to the parking area on the left.
From the parking area hike along the gravel access road. It is about 4 tenths of a mile from the parking area to the reservoir.
There is a vault toilet off to the side of the trail just before you reach Juniata Reservoir. If you happen to hike on down to Purdy Reservoir there is also a vault toilet there.
Since both of these reservoirs are part of the drinking water supply system they have certain restrictions which include 'No Swimming', 'No Wading', 'No Watercraft' of any kind and if you are fishing it is 'Flies and Artificial Lures Only'.
There are bass, trout and walleye in both of the reservoirs. You are limited to shore fishing so get good at your casting. I have seen some nice sized walleye fished out of Juniata. If you are at the lake in the twilight hours you will probably see plenty of fish breaking the water. Most are too far away to cast to.
There is a large population of deer and elk that winter in the area on the south and east sides of the reservoir. Again, the twilight hours are the best time for catching them moving about.
Most of the cottonwood trees are quickly disappearing from along the shores.
It is possible to walk all the way around the reservoir following paths made by the wildlife and fishermen. It is not an easy hike though. Be prepared for a few water hazards and lots and lots of cactus. The slideshow at the end of this post shows pictures from a hike that goes all the way around the reservoir. We began by following the trail along the irrigation ditch and then sticking to the high ground until we were almost halfway around the lake. It was one of those hikes that was okay to do once but it will probably never happen again.
While you can't play in the water at the reservoirs there is nothing that says you can't stop and play in the shallow irrigation ditch along the way.
Juniata is a picturesque reservoir that is close enough to town that everyone would probably enjoy visiting. It is an easy hike for small children and most strollers would probably manage okay on the road. It is most pleasant in the morning and evening hours during the hot summer months. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.