Leon Lake

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 3.8 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 10,342 - 10,534 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 2 hrs. 45 mins.
Trailhead: Weir & Johnson Campground
Fee: none ($14/camping,$4/picnic)
Attractions: Forest hike, fishing




The Leon Lake trail can be found in the Grand Mesa National Forest near Grand Junction, Colorado. The trail begins at the Weir & Johnson Campground at the end of Forest Road #126. From there it travels past several lakes and reservoirs to Leon Lake where it comes to an end at Forest Road #127. Since FSR #126 is easily driven by passenger vehicles and FSR #127 is more of a 4x4 high clearance jeep road many fisherman choose to park at Weir & Johnson and hike to Leon Lake for a chance at catching a few of its brook trout.


To get to the trailhead turn off of Highway 65 at the Visitor Center and follow the Baron Lake Road for 2.5 miles. Turn left onto Lake Shore Drive, a.k.a the Trickle Park Road, FSR #121, and continue for another 6.2 miles. Turn right onto FSR #126 and follow it for the remaining 2.7 miles to the Weir & Johnson Campground. According to the camp host if you park on the east side of the road and aren't occupying one of the camping or picnic sites then there is no fee.


The trail starts out crossing the dam between the Sackett and Weir & Johnson Reservoirs. The Sissy trail splits off on the left after crossing the dam. From there the Leon Lake trail takes a scenic route along the shore of Weir & Johnson.


After passing Weir & Johnson the trail takes a route that leads through a thick forest of spruce and pine trees.


The trail briefly comes out in the open while passing the Leon Park Reservoir.


There is a short climb where the trail gains about 50 feet of elevation that is followed by a long descent where it gives up around 180 feet of elevation that takes it down to Leon Lake. The trail is pretty flat by Colorado standards for a hike that is above 10,000 feet.


The trail reaches the tail waters of Leon Lake around the 1 mile point. From here it is almost another mile to the dam and FSR #127.


About midway along the shores of Leon Lake there is a very inviting primitive campsite that sits just above the high water line.


The Leon Lake trail comes to an end when it reaches FSR #127.


It is well worth it to hike over to the dam where there is a nice view back up the lake at Leon Peak (11,237 feet). A keen eye or a pair of binoculars might be able to make out the abandoned fire lookout station on its summit.


Besides restrooms the Weir & Johnson Campground has tables and firepits. They can be used as picnic sites during the day for $4 if they are otherwise unoccupied. Several of the sites can accommodate RV's without any hookups. This a picture of one of the sites that sits just above Sackett Reservoir.


We did this hike the first week of June on a very dry year and still ended up crossing multiple snow drifts that were up to 4 feet deep in places. We probably could have hiked around them but then our map would have been off a little. There were no mosquitoes to speak of other than a few near a bog that was close to the very end of the trail and we were able to get by without a single bite. Besides providing access to fisherman the Leon Lake trail is a wonderful hike and a great place to escape the summer heat in the valleys below. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.