Highline State Park sits 15 miles west of Grand Junction at the western end of the Grand Valley. The park is more like a city park than a natural preserve, with lawns, picnic tables and a campground beneath shady cottonwood trees. Highline, six miles north of Interstate 70, is usually visited by locals rather than travelers. The park is developed for water recreation on two reservoirs—14-acre Mack Mesa Lake and 160-acre Highline Lake. Water skiing, power boating, and swimming are popular activities on the big lake, although the wakeless northern part brings fishermen and waterfowl, including great blue heron, pelican, snowy egret, and Canada geese. Mack Mesa Lake is serene, attracting trout fishermen and wildlife. It’s a great spot to spend a summer afternoon.
State Area Maps
- Take your kids fishing at Highline State Park. Pick up a kid’s fishing pole and tackle box at the visitor center with a driver’s license.
- Highline offers plenty of trails for hiker. Follow the 3.5-mile Highline Lake Trail around the lake for scenic views and a workout. Take the Blue Heron Ponds Loop below the dam and keep an eye out for wildlife.
- Bring binoculars to spot over 200 bird species, including pelicans, great blue herons, bald and golden eagles, sandhill cranes, and loons. The Vermilion flycatcher, rare in western Colorado, is sometimes spotted at Highline. Owls and hawks also nest at the campground.
- The campground is a plush getaway if you’re mountain biking at Fruita or exploring Colorado Monument, with shaded, grassy campsites. Reserve ahead if you’re camping on weekends.
- Plan a winter trip for ice skating and ice fishing at Mack Lake. Call ahead to make sure it’s frozen over.
Recommended season(s): Year-round
—Stewart M. Green