The Grand Mesa is located just a short drive southeast from Grand Junction, Colorado. The small town of Mesa serves as the northern entrance to the Grand Mesa National Forest and provides access to beautiful pine and aspen forests, over 300 sparkling lakes, and hiking trails that rise into the cool, clear air.
The Grand Mesa covers more that 500 square miles, stretching from the Colorado River to the Gunnison River. Crater Peak is its highest point, reaching up to 11,332' above sea level. The Mesa is considered the largest flattop mountain in the world, with a majority of its pancake-like top above 10,000'. As one of 11 scenic byways, the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway covers 63 miles from the town of Mesa in the north to Orchard City on the south end.
The Grand Mesa was formed approximately 10 million years ago when it was covered in hard volcanic basalt. This suppressed erosion, while the areas near the Gunnison and Colorado Rivers experienced rapid erosion. This downcutting at the edges of the volcanic basalt layer resulted in the mesa maintaining its height while the surrounding areas slowly gave way.
This gallery also offers some images from the western slope of the Mesa known, showing an area known as the Whitewater region of the Grand Valley. This Whitewater region offers a desert landscape with layers of rock and sand that turn orange and red in the morning sun as the Grand Mesa rises in the distance. It is a stark and beautiful landscape. From here, a nice perspective can be seen of Mount Lincoln near Palisade, Colorado.