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Man riding bike on dirt trail

General Trail Information

  • Several trails circle Mack Mesa Lake and Highline Lake. 
  • The park is close to the well-known Kokopelli trail complex and the newer, North Fruita Desert Trails bike trail complex. 
  • Water is only available o​n the east side of the park so make sure to fill your water bottle at the Visitor Center, Day Use Area, or Bookcliff Campground.
  • Looking to beat the summer heat? Begin your hike or ride early in the morning and enjoy some of the best sunrises in the Grand Valley.

Trail Descriptions

Highline Lake Trail

Highline Lake Trail begins at East Boat Ramp and follows Park boundary around the lake. This trail features excellent shore bird and mule deer viewing opportunities. The trail is unpaved with a gravel surface. Acting as the main trail to hike around the lake, several trails come off of Highline Lake Trail to add length and complexity to your ride or hike. 

Total distance: 3.3 miles
Elevation change: 415 feet

East Bluffs Loop

Take a tour of Highline's east inlets with this narrow singletrack. This loop provides the only access, other than boat, to the cabanas along the east side of the lake, including a pebble beach. The trail provides little shade and gives you a real tour of the desert featuring sage, cactus, and lizards. There are some steep sections to this trail, so please use caution.

Total distance: 1.1 miles
Elevation change: 107 feet

​Engle Loop

​A new loop has been added to the Highline Lake hiking and biking trails! Engle Loop adds approximately .9 miles to the 18 Hour Trail, bringing the trail's total length to 6.42 miles. The 18 Hour Trail is the trail loop around the park that is used for the 18 Hour Race that occurs every spring as a part of the Fruita Fat Tire Festival. The new portion of single track crosses several gullies and in places should be reminiscent of Prime Cut at the 18 Road area north of Fruita. 

Contact the Highline Lake Visitor Center at 970-858-7208 or email for more information.

Greasewood Flats Loop

Enjoy the sage and cedar smells on this easy loop. As one of the furthest trails from the Swim Beach, birds and other wildlife are easily seen. Watch the ground for lizards and cottontail rabbits. This unpaved, easy trail is great for bikers and hikers alike. 

Total distance: 1.1 miles
Elevation change: 72 feet

Mack Mesa Loop

Take a break from fishing at Mack Mesa Lake and take a stroll to the top of the mesa! Looking down from one of the highest points in the park, hikers and bikers can see nearly the entire park. Bald eagles and golden eagles are commonly seen here in the winter and spring months. Couple this trail with the Mack Mesa 'S' Trail for a full loop of birdwatching opportunities. 

Total distance: 1.2 miles
Elevation change: 100 feet

Mack Mesa 'S' Trail

Easily guaranteed to be one of the most fun trails in the, the Mack Mesa 'S' Trail is full of windy, downhill turns. Access the trail from the west side of Mack Mesa and begin with a short ascent to the top of the bluff. Enjoy the views of the Colorado National Monument, Grand Mesa, and even the Bookcliffs in Colorado AND Utah. Then, hold on tight as you descend into the windy 'S' curves, joining up with the Highline Lake Trail at the base. Caution: grinning on this trail is guaranteed. 

Total distance: 0.6 miles
Elevation change: 63 feet

Blue Heron Marsh Trail

This loop offers the best tour of riparian habitat around the lake! The trail is flat except for beginning and end when returning to the top of the dam. It is the shadiest trail and is an easy walk from the Bookcliff Campground. Access the trail from either side of the dam. Wildlife commonly seen here include mule deer, racoons, red foxes, and even bobcats.

Total distance: 0.6 miles
Elevation change: 173 feet

Nearby Trail Systems

  • Kokopelli Trail System
    The trail head for the world-famous Kokopelli Trail System from Loma, Colorado to Moab, Utah is just six-miles south of Highline Lake State Park, on county roads through rural farmlands.

  • North Fruita Desert Trails 
    Access to the Bureau of Land Management, world-class, North Fruita Desert Trail System is mere minutes from Highline Lake State Park.