Round Trip Distance: 6 miles (completed section)
Round Trip Distance: 10.6 miles
Elevation: 10,415 - 10,781 feet
Cellphone: 0-4 bars
Usage: Hiking - Biking - Equestrian - Dogs
Time: 5 hrs. 30 mins.
Facilities: Vault toilet
Trailhead: Mesa Top
Attractions: Scenic sub-alpine forest, new trail, wildlife, wildflowers
View Mesa Top in a larger map
The Mesa Top trail is located in the Grand Mesa National Forest. The trail is still under construction but the first 3 miles of the trail are complete and open for use. Much of the work being done on the trail has been by the mountain bike group COPMOBA. The Mesa Top trail stretches from the trailhead along Highway 65 to the rim of the mesa above the Grandby Reservoirs. From there it follows the rim of the mesa toward Flowing Park. I am under the impression that the trail will eventually join up with the Flowing Park Loop trail.
The trailhead is located just off Highway 65 between the Lands End Road and the County Line. The large parking area is normally filled in the winter months with scores of snowmobiles. There are two vault toilets along with two change rooms at the Mesa Top trailhead.
The trail begins by heading south almost parallel with the highway.
Deer can be seen in some places right on the edge of the trees. They usually find a place with good covers to bed down during the day.
There are wide open meadows that seems to stretch for miles to the west towards the Carson Lake area.
For the most part the trail skirts the meadows by staying just inside the trees.
I came upon some very fresh mountain lion scat and prints along a rocky ridge. In several places there were a few large tufts of deer fur that I imagine came from the lions latest kill.
There is a fork in the trail at about 2.4 miles. Both routes showed signs of construction and recent use. I followed the left fork that appeared to be heading toward the rim of the mesa. The right fork might be a cutoff trail that would probably connect up with the Flowing Park Road in the neighborhood of Carson Lake.
From the rim there are some nice views of the Grandby Reservoirs and others as well as the town of Delta off in the distance.
The current construction on the trail ended just past the 3 mile point. I continued following the flags for another mile before I came to the last of them.
When the flags ran out there was another well established trail to follow. The trail led to an old jeep road that was now closed. There was another side trail that looked like it might continue to follow the rim toward the area of the Drop Off trail. I was real tempted to follow it but the last flag that I saw was still on the trail that I had been following.
I came to the Flowing Park Road a little after the 5 mile point. I doubt if this will end up being the actual route of the Mesa Top trail but it is too early to tell until some more construction is completed.
If you hike past the 3 mile point like I did you will come to a grove of trees after about 3.85 miles. At the present time it is much easier to go around the trees than to try to follow the flags going through them.
Looking over the rim you can see Clear Lake that sits right up against the side of the mountain. Like the Battlement's it is a natural lake.
If you like to filter your water rather than carrying the only good water sources are within the first 2 miles of the trailhead. If you only hike the finished part of the trail then that probably isn't any big deal. If you hike the whole thing you may want some extra bottles. I went through 120 ounces on my hike.
I have been eagerly waiting for this trail to open since the first time I heard about it last year. I came up on one occasion for a work party but I apparently I arrived too late and couldn't tell where they went. It might be a couple more years before this trail is entirely completed but the first section is in great condition and makes for a nice hike. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.