West Bench

Grand Mesa National Forest, Colorado

Distance6.2mi
Elevation Gain1,334ft
Trailhead Elevation9,782ft
Top10,096ft
Elevation Min/Max9722/10096ft
Elevation Start/End9782/9782ft

West Bench

West Bench is a hiking and biking trail in Mesa County, Colorado. It is within Grand Mesa National Forest. It is 6.2 miles long and begins at 9,782 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 12.3 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,334 feet. The Osborn Reservoir (elevation 9,721 feet) reservoir can be seen along the trail. This trail connects with the following: F S-44 5/10 Road.

West Bench Professional Reviews and Guides

"The benches along the terraced Grand Mesa, the largest flattop mountain in the Northern Hemisphere, provide cool, shaded hikes during the heat of the summer in the valley below.

Temperatures here are ten to twenty degrees cooler from May through September. The benches also are at a lower elevation than the top of the mesa, making them slightly easier for those not used to altitude. West Bench is the classic bench hike that takes trekkers to the top of Powderhorn Ski Area."

"The Grand Mesa region is a mecca for snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, and snowshoers. Literally hundreds of miles of trails run all across this giant flat-top mountain. Many of these trails are shared by all types of winter enthusiasts, and they are often very crowded, so solitude is rare. However, there are several areas where snowmobiles are not allowed.

Some of these trail networks, such as Skyway, County Line, and Ward Lake, have groomed trails for Nordic skiers and snowshoers. In fact, cross-country skiers and snowshoers account for more visits to Grand Mesa than snowmobilers. The Grand Mesa Nordic Council maintains the trail systems and can provide information about them. The maintained trail systems attract 8,000 to 10,000 skiers every year."

"A popular path for hikers, bikers, and skiers, the West Bench Trail leads through aspen forest and groves of spruce and ?r before ending in the meadows at the top of Powderhorn Ski Area. Summer’s wild?owers and autumn’s aspen glow add memorable color to every hike on this trail.

Starting at Sunset Lake, cross its dam into a residential cabin area, arriving at a gravel road in 0.4 mile; follow this to the right about 0.6 mile to the trailhead. The trail begins in a wooded area just beyond the group of vacation cabins.
During my late-summer visit here, I watched a short-tailed weasel, also called an ermine, dart through the downed trees and brush of this area."

"The benches along the terraced Grand Mesa, the largest flattop mountain in the Northern Hemisphere, provide cool shaded hikes during the heat of the summer in the valley below. At 10,000 to 11,000 feet in elevation, temperatures here are 10°F to 20°F cooler from May through September."

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Trail Information

Grand Mesa National Forest
Nearby City
Grand Mesa National Forest
Parks
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Accessibility
Waterfalls
Features
US Forest Service Office, 2777 Crossroads Blvd., Grand Junction, CO 81506 (970242-8211).
Local Contacts
Skyway and Grand Mesa, CO
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Aug 2018