Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The Lake of the Woods trail has little elevation gain, and a number of ponds to stop at, making it a perfect family day hike.
If you are coming up here to fish, bear in mind, only artificial lures and flies are allowed, and a bag limit of two trout, both sixteen inches or longer, is in place.
From the parking lot, the trail pulls you into a dense thicket of aspen, firs, and pines right off the bat. On a hot day, the shade under the boughs are a great respite, but don’t forget your bug repellent, because in here, mosquitos run rampant.
Sloughing through, this first pocket of trees makes way for a small swampy meadow which may take some resourcefulness to work your way across. Quickly ducking back into the trees, it doesn’t take long for the skies to open up again, this time around a wildflower-laden beaver pond – the first of many along the way.
In just over a mile, the first intersection in the trail will take you over to Bull Creek Reservoir #4. The calm waters of this peaceful lake make the half-mile side trip well worth the extra mileage.
Back en route, one half mile further, the trail passes by an unassuming Lake of the Woods, then Bull Creek Reservoirs #1 and 2 sit within spitting distance of each other. From the east end of Bull Creek Reservoir #1, the trail grows slightly steeper, and the next two or so miles are marked by meadow-hopping and high waters. The burly growth really holds the moisture in, so wet weeks bring with it a lot of mud – get muddy, and try not to hike off trail too much.
As you reach the end of the road, the trail all but disappears inside a small cluster of trees, so keep a sharp eye out for the wooden posts and orange markers which point the way. Meeting with the Cottonwood #712, the route heads left, where an intersection with Bull Basin #507 brings the official end to the Lake of the Woods trail. But turn right here, and an extra 0.1 mile will bring you to to the banks of Cottonwood Lake #1.
Flora & Fauna
Popular to anglers, both Bull Creek Reservoir #1 and 2 are stocked bi-annually with rainbow trout.
Sightings on the Grand Mesa may include elk, mule deer, moose, bighorn, lynx, black bear, and mountain lion. A number of big bird species also call the Grand Mesa home.
Shared By: Caroline Cordsen