|Colorado Pocket Maps
SHORT HIKES The h lakes l k ffeaturedd on the h enclosed l d Wardd Lakes hiking trails map have a turbulent history. Several short hikes will take you by the sites of the following story. Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests L21 ON GRAND MESA PHOTO: GRAND MESA BYWAY ASSOCIATION Old time residents felt very strongly about their right to fish, or maybe it was their disregard for other people’s rights to own a lake. Whatever the case, the Grand Mesa Feud was a long-term battle between fish poachers and private property owners. While most settlers homesteaded in the valley in order to raise and harvest crops, a few men homesteaded on top of Grand Mesa in order to harvest fish. Locals were not understanding of this idea, so they continued to fish. WILLIAM RADCLIFFE AS HE APPEARED IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS IN JULY, 1901 PHOTO: DENVER PUBLIC LIBRARY, WESTERN HISTORY DEPARTMENT The feud heated up in 1896 when William Radcliffe, an English aristocrat, arrived on the Grand Mesa. Mr. Radcliffe was not well received by many of the local residents. He acquired the title and fishing rights to the Alexander group of lakes and set to work improving the existing fish hatchery and hotel on the shore of Alexander Lake. No amount of fishing permits would pacify those who trespassed on his property and caught his fish. The funny thing is, many of the fish poachers would have “shot the pants off” anyone trying to steal a calf from their own herd. The h Grand d Mesa retains its nice flat f tabletop thanks to a cap of basalt it acquired over nine million years ago. As the basalt lava flowed from fissures (cracks in the earth), it filled a wide flat valley. Eventually, the soft rock around the basalt valley eroded away leaving a mesa high in the air. Later (14,000 years ago), ice caps rearranged rocky debris into troughs that caught melting snow to form more than 300 lakes and reservoirs on top of the Grand Mesa. VISITOR CENTER VIEW FROM LOWER PARKING LOT PHOTO: GRAND MESA BYWAY ASSOCIATION The National Forest Visitor Center is the perfect place to learn more about the Grand Mesa. Staff is available to answer questions on recreation opportunities, natural resources and the area. Exhibits reveal more stories about the Grand Mesa and a wide selection of books are available to purchase. The visitor center is open between 9 AM and 5 PM daily, including weekends, during the summer. (970) 856-4153. FISH HATCHERY ON ALEXANDER LAKE PHOTO: DELTA COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY As a last resort, Radcliffe posted state game wardens at the lakes. Tragedy struck when W.A. Womack, a local rancher intent on fishing, taunted a bit too much and was shot by warden Frank Mahaney. Womack died on the shore of Island Lake. An outraged mob of over 100 men gathered and proceeded to burn the hotel and everything Radcliffe owned while he was away. Radcliffe never returned to western Colorado. RADCLIFFE HOTEL ON ALEXANDER LAKE, circa 1896-1901. PHOTO: DELTA COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY Besides scenic hiking areas, are the Mesa Lakes and Ward Lakes areas shown on the enclosed maps are popular areas for fishing. The lakes accessible by main roads are stocked with mature Rainbow Trout a couple times in early summer. South Mesa Lake has a naturally reproducing Brook Trout population and Lost Lake is occasionally stocked with fingerling Cutthroat Trout. A fishing license is required, as well as knowing the fishing regulations. FOREST ENTRANCE ON NORTH SIDE PHOTO: GRAND MESA BYWAY ASSOCIATION I’M A MARMOT - THE LARGEST OF THE SQUIRREL FAMILY PHOTO: GRAND MESA BYWAY ASSOCIATION The US: Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alterative means for communications of program information (braille, large print, audio tapes, etc.) should contact the USDA Target Center at 202-720-2600 (voice or TDD.) To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA Office of Civil Rights, Room 326- W Whitten Building, 14th & Independence Ave. SW, Washington DC 20250-9410, or ca11202-720-5964 (voice or TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. For More Information: Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests Grand Valley Ranger District Supervisors Office 2777 Cross Road Blvd, Unit A 2250 Highway 50 Grand Junction, Colorado, 81506 Delta, Colorado, 81416 (970) 242-8211 (970) 874-6600 WESTER N COLOR ADO Grand Mesa Scenic & Historic Byway A Colorado National Byway Mesa Lake Area Trails: Length Difficulty to Visitor Center ! Mesa Lake Shoreline #503 1.5 E Lost Lake #502 1.5 M Rim View Trail #533 2.9 M Glacier Springs Cut-off #537 0.5 M Mesa Creek Trail #505 1.2 M West Bench Trail #501 5.9 M PHOTO: DELTA COUNTY TOURISM Trails are generally fr free of snow July to mid-October. All trails are open to hikers. Most are also open to mountain bikers and equestrians. Please check the Grand Mesa National Forest Travel Map for specific restrictions. PARKING is available at Jumbo reservoir, along Hwy. 65, and at Glacier Springs Picnic Area (south of Beaver Lake) for Mesa Lake Trails. Please maintain control of your pet at all times. Ward Lake Area Trails: Length Difficulty Weather conditions change rapidly. Be prepared for cool temperatures, rain showers, lightning, and mid-afternoon thunderstorms. Land-O-Lakes #713 0.5 E 1.25 E GM Discovery Trail #745 0.3 E Cobbett Lake #747 Cobbett Lake #746 0.6 0.3 E E Cobbett to Crag Crest #749 1.0 M Island Lake #748 1.7 E Baron Lake #751 1.3 E 10.3 D Ward Lake #744 Wear ample mosquito repellent. Mosquitoes are plentiful from mid-June through August. Bring plenty of drinking water and snacks. Trails are at an elevation of 9,000 to 11,000 feet. Altitude can cause symptoms such as faster breathing and shortness of breath. These are normal responses of your body. However, headache, nausea, vomiting or unusual tiredness are symptoms of altitude sickness. A person with altitude sickness should rest, eat quick energy foods, drink water and start down the mountain as soon as possible. Info 3-foot wide surface trail; provides loop around Mesa Lake. Lakes, forest, and basalt rock fields. Trail climbs several hundred feet in elevation. Forest, meadow, 2 miles to rim of Mesa with views of Mesa Creek. Connects Mesa Lake Shore Trail to Rim View Trail. Down Mesa Creek Drainage to Hwy. 65. Ends at top of Powderhorn Ski Area, near Lift #2. ! to Mesa Lakes Crag Crest #711 & 711.1A Info Paved trail, 4 interpretive signs, and outstanding views. Circles Ward Lake, connects campground and picnic area. Self-guiding interpretive trail at Grand Mesa Visitor Center. Circles Cobbett Lake. Connects Cobbett Campground to Ward Campground and Lake. Connects Cobbett Lake/Campground to Crag Crest Trail. Trail along south shore. Connects campgrounds, boat launch, and GM Visitor Center. Connects Ward Way Picnic Area to Baron Lake. Passes Alexander Lake. Loop trail. Consullt Crag Crest Trail Brochure. PARKING is available at the Grand Mesa Visitor Center for all Ward Lake Area Trails. Land-O-Lakes has its own parking area.