Finney Cuts

Round Trip Distance: 1.8 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 10,430 - 10,641feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 1 hr. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Weir & Johnson Campground
Fee: none
Attractions: Forest hike, fishing

The Finney Cuts trail is located in the Grand Mesa National Forest near Grand Junction, Colorado. The trail begins a short distance from the Weir & Johnson Campground at the end of the Sissy trail. From there it crosses a ridge into the next drainage where it passes the first of the 2 Finney Cuts reservoirs. The trail ends at the second reservoir about 1.4 miles from the campground.

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.

Follow the Leon Lake trail across the dam and take the fork for the Sissy trail.

According to the maps the Sissy trail ends at what was once known as Leon Peak Reservoir but is now called Sissy Lake. There is a trail marker at that point that shows the route continuing. At one time there was a sign bolted to the trail marker but we can only guess at what it said. Since others refer to the route as the trail to Finney Cuts we are calling it the beginning of that trail.

As the well worn trail heads away from Sissy Lake it makes a gentle climb that takes it up to a ridge.

At the crest of the ridge the trail turns and begins a big descent into the next valley. Some hikers are branching off at this point and climbing through the loose piles of boulders to the summit of Leon Peak (11,236 feet). The loose boulders make it a dangerous and strenuous venture for those taking that route.

As the Finney Cuts trail continues down the ridge it shows recent signs of maintenance.

The crux of the hike comes up where the trail makes a steep plunge down a slope of loose rock and scree. The trail is technically open to mountain bikes but this slope and another stretch further along make it impractical.

As the trail begins leveling off it reaches an area with a lot of fallen trees where whoever was doing the trail maintenance must have run out of gas for their chainsaw. The trail eventually works its way into a small open area where Finney Cuts #2 is just a hundred yards or so to the right. It is still just out of sight at this point but it quickly appears as you head in that direction.

There is somewhat of a trail that travels around the south side of the reservoir where it looks like the water gets deeper. We didn't investigate to see if it actually had a dam or whether is is really a natural lake.

Continuing down the main trail the route continues to be easy to follow until it crosses a talus area of basalt. There are several routes that can be taken that all end up at the same spot but the best one is a little higher up than the rest.

After crossing the last little ridge between the open area and Finney Cuts #1 the trail quickly arrives at its destination. We didn't bring our fishing gear so we can't give a report on that but we did see signs from a number of other fisherman.

Finney Cuts is a nice hike that you can stretch out to a half day or so. Longer if you take the time to do some fishing or have a picnic. There are 6 lakes and reservoirs along the way that are all very scenic and add a lot to the trails enjoyment. We didn't encounter hardly any mosquitoes although we were well prepared with long pants and bug spray. Even though the trail is relatively short the steep sections still provide a good workout. That combined with the higher altitude should leave you feeling like you were on a longer hike and best of all while it was hovering near 100F in the valley it was only 54F up here. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.