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Wilson Mesa - 13 Things to Know Before Visiting

1 Day Treks
Mountain Peaks

About Wilson Mesa

Wilson Mesa is a large mesa located just east of the town of Telluride and south of the San Juan Mountains. The mesa is about 12 miles long and 6 miles wide. It is covered in grassland and forest. There are several hiking trails on the mesa. The Mesa has an elevation of 9,200 feet. The climate is cool and dry. The average rainfall is less than 10 inches per year. Winters are cold with occasional snowfall. Summers are warm with occasional thunderstorms.

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Things to Do at Wilson Mesa

San Miguel county in Colorado is a beautiful place to explore. There are many things to do in the area, including hiking, camping, fishing, and bird watching. Wilson Mesa is a great place to start exploring. The mesa offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. It is also home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, elk, and bighorn sheep. For those looking for a more challenging hike, the mesa also has a number of trails that lead up to its summit. Camping is also allowed on the mesa, making it a great place to spend a night under the stars. Wilson Mesa is just one of the many great places to explore in San Miguel county. With its stunning scenery and abundance of activities, it is sure to please everyone in the family.

History of Wilson Mesa

The history of Wilson Mesa began long before the first European settlers arrived in what is now San Miguel County, Colorado. The Mesa has been home to a succession of indigenous peoples, each of whom left their mark on the land. The earliest known inhabitants of the area were the Ute people, who hunted and gathered in the Mesa region for centuries. Around 1200 AD, the Fremont people began to move into the area, and they established a number of villages on Wilson Mesa. The Fremont were eventuality displaced by the Apache, who occupied the Mesa until the early 19th century.

The first Europeans to set eyes on Wilson Mesa were probably members of the Dominguez-Escalante expedition, which passed through the area in 1776. However, it wasn't until 1846 that permanent settlers arrived in the form of a group of Mormon pioneers led by Isaac Morley. Morley and his fellow settlers built a number of irrigation canals on Wilson Mesa, which helped to transform the arid mesa into fertile farmland. Today, Wilson Mesa is home to a small but thriving community of ranchers and farmers. While the landscape has changed significantly over the past two centuries, Wilson Mesa remains an important part of Colorado's history.

Best Time to Visit Wilson Mesa

Spring is an ideal time to visit Wilson Mesa, when the wildflowers are in bloom and the temperatures are mild. However, the mesa is beautiful at any time of year, and visitors can enjoy fall colors or winter snowscapes. 

Tips for Visiting Wilson Mesa

  1. Pack appropriate clothing and gear for the season. Wilson Mesa is known for its high elevation and large temperature swings, so be sure to dress accordingly. In the winter, make sure to bring plenty of warm layers, while in the summer you'll want to pack light, cool clothing and sunscreen.
  2. Choose your activities based on your fitness level. There are plenty of hiking and biking trails on Wilson Mesa, but some are more challenging than others. If you're not an experienced hiker or rider, it's best to stick to the easier trails.
  3. Make sure you have a map. Wilson Mesa is a large area and it's easy to get turned around if you're not familiar with the area. A map will help you stay on track and find your way back to your starting point.
  4. Be aware of wildlife. Wilson Mesa is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, elk, and bears. Be sure to stay aware of your surroundings and make plenty of noise if you're hiking in areas where wildlife is known to frequent.
  5. Leave no trace. Wilson Mesa is a fragile ecosystem and it's important to protect it by following Leave No Trace principles when you visit. This includes packing out all trash, staying on designated trails, and respecting wildlife habitat.
  6.  Wildlife watching is also a popular activity on Wilson Mesa, and there are many different species of birds and animals that can be seen in the area.

Interesting Facts and Trivias About Wilson Mesa

  1. Wilson Mesa offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.  The mesa is also a popular destination for rock climbing and bouldering.
  2. Wilson Mesa is home to several notable geological formations, including Coal Seam Cave and Hoodoo Point.
  3. The mesa has a long history of human occupation, dating back to the Paleo-Indian period.
  4. The views from the top of the mesa are stunning and include nearby mountain ranges and the town of Telluride.
  5. Themes from movies such as "Thelma & Louise" and "Goldfinger" have been filmed on Wilson Mesa.
  6. Despite its popularity, Wilson Mesa remains a relatively wild and undeveloped place, offering visitors a rare opportunity to experience true Colorado wilderness".

How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at Wilson Mesa

However, most visitors only hike for a few hours, as the altitude and elevation changes can make the hike challenging. For those looking for a more leisurely experience, there are several shorter trails that offer panoramic views of the surrounding area. 

How to Reach Wilson Mesa

To reach Wilson Mesa in San Miguel County, Colorado, take Highway 145 north from Telluride. The turnoff for the mesa is about 10 miles past the town of Ophir. From the turnoff, it's about six miles to the top of the mesa. The road is winding and steep in places, so take your time and enjoy the views. Once you reach the top, you'll be rewarded with stunning panoramas of the San Juan Mountains.

Entrance Fee of Wilson Mesa

There is no entrance fee to explore Wilson Mesa. However, there may be fees for campgrounds, picnic areas, or other amenities. 

Opening Hours of Wilson Mesa

The mesa is open from sunrise to sunset, and overnight camping is allowed with a permit.

Attractions Near Wilson Mesa

Sunshine Mountain

Sunshine Mountain

5.41km from Wilson Mesa

Sunshine Mountain is the highest peak in San Miguel county, which is densely forested with conifers and aspen and is home to a variety of wildlife. Sunshine mountain is a popular destination for hikers and campers, who can enjoy scenic views of the surrounding area from the summit. The mountain is also popular with rock climbers, who come to test their skills on challenging cliffs. In addition to its natural beauty, Sunshine mountain also has a rich history.

Wilson Peak

Wilson Peak

5.76km from Wilson Mesa

Wilson Peak is a majestic mountain in San Miguel County, Colorado. Standing at 14,017 feet tall, it is one of the tallest mountains in the state. The peak is covered in snowfields and glaciers, making it a popular spot for climbers and hikers. Wilson Peak is also home to an abundance of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, elk, and deer. The mountain provides breathtaking views of the surrounding area, including the nearby town of Telluride.

Lizard Head

Lizard Head

7.69km from Wilson Mesa

Lizard Head is a mountain peak in the San Miguel Mountains of southwestern Colorado. The peak is named for its resemblance to a lizard's head, and it is one of the most distinctive peaks in the state. The summit of Lizard Head is reachable by hiking and scrambling, and the views from the top are truly spectacular. The peak is home to a variety of plant and animal life, and it is a popular destination for camping, rock climbing, and backpacking.

Telluride Ski Resort

Telluride Ski Resort

9.86km from Wilson Mesa

Telluride Ski Resort is located in San Miguel County, Colorado. The resort sits at an elevation of 8,700 feet, and offers a variety of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. In addition to the stunning views of the Rockies, Telluride Ski Resort is known for its world-class ski school and itscommitment to environmental sustainability. With over 2,000 acres of skiing and snowboarding terrain, Telluride Ski Resort is a great place to enjoy a winter vacation.

Trout Lake

Trout Lake

10.94km from Wilson Mesa

Trout Lake is a picturesque lake located in San Miguel County. The lake is fed by the Crystal River and is surrounded by evergreen trees and mountain peaks. It is a popular destination for fishing, camping, and hiking. The lake is home to rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and brown trout. The lake also has a variety of birds and other wildlife. Visitors can enjoy scenic views of the lake from the shores or from one of the many hiking trails that wind through the area.

Palmyra Peak

Palmyra Peak

11.02km from Wilson Mesa

Palmyra Peak is an imposing mountain in the San Miguel County. Standing at an elevation of 14,017 feet, it is one of the tallest peaks in the region. The mountain is known for its beautiful views and its challenging hiking trails. There are several routes to the summit, ranging from easy to difficult. The most popular trail is the Palmyra Peak Trail, which starts from the town of Telluride. The trailhead is located at an altitude of 9,500 feet, and the hike to the summit takes about 6-8 hours.

Discover More Attractions in San Miguel County, Home of Wilson Mesa

San Miguel County

San Miguel County

20 attractions

San Miguel County is located in the southwestern corner of Colorado. It is home to the towns of Telluride, Mountain Village, and Norwood. The county is well-known for its scenic beauty, and it attracts visitors from all over the world. Outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, skiing, and camping are popular in the area. The county also has a rich history, and there are many sites of interest for history buffs. In recent years, the county has become increasingly popular as a destination for wed

Where is Wilson Mesa