- This byway leads east from Exit 49 of Interstate 70 and follows Highway 65 as it winds its way to the mesa top at 11,000 feet. This 63 mile drive travels through every type of terrain from orchards on the valley floor to alpine meadows and lakes on the mesa summit. On the mesa top the byway passes by trailheads, campgrounds, lakes, picnic grounds and boat ramps.
The Lands End Road, located at mile marker 29, is also part of the Scenic Byway. This well-maintained, gravel road travels west 12 miles, following the rim of the Mesa for much of the way and leads to the Lands End observatory and overlook.
Recreation - Many recreation opportunities present themselves along the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway. Scenic driving is the most obvious, but on your journey you will pass camping, hiking, fishing, boating, mountain biking and horseback riding facilities.
Climate - Due to the high elevations on the summit of the Grand Mesa (11,000 feet) this route may not open until late June. Many of the facilities: four-wheel drive roads, trails, campgrounds and picnic grounds, may not open until July.
The weather at this high elevation can be extreme. Summer days may begin warm and sunny and dramatically change to cold and rainy by mid-afternoon. The atmosphere in July and August is very unstable with precipitation usually a given during the afternoon. Be prepared with warm layers, hats, gloves and rain gear.
The winter brings large amounts of snow to the mesa. Sun reflecting from the snow feels warm, but if you shed your outer layers use sunscreen on any exposed skin. Fewer of the suns harmful rays are filtered through the thin air and sunburn can occur quickly.
This scenic byway is located on the Grand Mesa, which lies east of the confluence of the Gunnison and Colorado Rivers. The route follows Highway 65 south from Interstate 70 to Highway 50.