Talk Colorado Wine & Colorado's Wine Country: Awesome Fall Color Tour: Traveling Grand Mesa's National Scenic Byway

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Awesome Fall Color Tour: Traveling Grand Mesa's National Scenic Byway

If you've never driven it in the fall, this is one of the premiere fall color drives in the Western U.S. There's nothing quite like looking west from the summit and seeing the gold bands of aspen interspersed with the emerald green of fir trees, chains of lakes sparkling in the sunlight, and in the distance, the blond and red sandstone of the Bookcliffs. The switchbacks and hairpin turns of Land's End Road is also not to be missed. It's worth it for the views.

9 News KUSA describes the drive of the Grand Mesa National Scenic Byway through Mesa and Delta Counties:

"The nationally designated Grand Mesa Scenic and Historic Byway crosses over the Grand Mesa on a 63 mile trek ranging from the orchards of the valley floor to the alpine meadows of its 11,000-foot summit. You can begin your trip in Plateau Canyon, where Highway 65 joins I-70 approximately 30 miles east of Grand Junction or in Cedaredge at the Byway Welcome Center next to Pioneer Town.

"A second access road to the top of the mesa was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1933. The twisting, rocky road (Lands End Road) was then known as the "Veteran Road" or 'Military Road' because many of the crew members were former servicemen. There were three CCC camps on Grand Mesa for crews who built the Collbran Road, three ranger stations, campgrounds and picnic areas and the Lands End Observatory. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the site is used by the Forest Service as a summer visitor center and provides a spectacular view of Grand Junction in the valley below.

"The byway's southern gateway in Cedaredge is home to the Cedaredge Welcome Center, where you can find interpretive exhibits about the byway and Grand Mesa.

"Grand Mesa is reportedly the world's largest flat top mountain...There are over 300 lakes and ponds hidden away on the mesa and more lakes per square mile than any other place in the western United States."

You can read more about the byway here.

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