Grand Mesa

Colorado's uncrowded mountain has rustic digs and miles of skinny ski and snowmobile trails

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ACTIVITIES

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. It's best to bring gear from home. Volunteers from the nonprofit Grand Mesa Nordic Council maintain the trails. Use is free, but donations in trailhead boxes are appreciated. For a trail map, visit http://outdoors.at/gmnc or send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to P.O. Box 266, Cory, CO 81414.

Snowmobile rentals and tours. Four lodges offer snowmobiling: Alexander Lake Lodge (from $125 for full-day rental, no tours); Grand Mesa Lodge (from $95 for 3 1/2-hour tour); Mesa Lakes Resort (from $80 for 2-hour tour); and Spruce Lodge (from $165 for full-day rental, no tours).

Powderhorn Ski Area. Lodging, rentals, lessons, and food service on site. Four lifts, 27 trails, 1,650-foot vertical rise. Lift ticket is $38. www.powderhorn.com or (970) 268-5700.


LODGING AND DINING

Lodging reservations on the Mesa are essential on weekends. Many cabins have basic kitchens; be sure to ask if yours does, then bring groceries with you. Restaurant options are very limited.

Alexander Lake Lodge. Historic inn with seven cabins, some redone and some very rustic. Restaurant serves hearty lunches (check dinner availability) Fri-Sun. From $65. www.alexanderlakelodge.com, (866) 525-2539, or (970) 856-2539.

Grand Mesa Lodge. Simple cabins popular with snowmobilers. From $65 (two motel rooms from $45). www.coloradodirectory.com/grandmesalodge, (800) 551-6372, or (970) 856-3250.

Log Cabin Bed and Breakfast. Small and charming 1891 B&B in Cedaredge. From $80. 210 N. Grand Mesa Dr; www.logcabinbedandbreakfast.com, (888) 750-6647, or (970) 856-7585.

Mesa Lakes Resort. Motel units and cabins on the Mesa's north side; a restaurant is scheduled to open this winter. Rooms from $45 (from $150 for a two-story cabin that sleeps 12). www.coloradodirectory.com/mesalakesresort or (970) 268-5467.

Powderhorn Resort. Lodging is available at Inn at Wildewood; lunch and dinner are served at its restaurant Thu-Sun. Rooms from $59. www.powderhorn.com or (970) 268-5700.

Spruce Lodge Resort. The Mesa's prettiest place to stay, with recently remodeled cabins. The dining room serves hearty breakfasts, lunches, and dinners with Tex-Mex specialties and a Saturday prime-rib special. Rooms from $85. www.sprucelodgeonline.com, (800) 850-7221, or (970) 856-6240.


PLAN AHEAD

Grand Mesa is 230 miles west of Denver. Take I-70 to exit 62 and follow the DeBeque Cutoff to State 65.


MORE INFORMATION

Contact the U.S. Forest Service  (970/242-8211) or the Grand Mesa Visitors Center (at intersection of State 65 and Forest Road 121; (970/856-4153), which is open and sometimes staffed by rangers on weekends.

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