Public Lands Access - Hotchkiss Area
Begin your trip by turning north off Highway 92 on Rogers Mesa (the agricultural area just west of town) at 3100 Road. The road is approximately 5 miles west of Hotchkiss. There is a fruit packing warehouse (The Rogers Mesa Fruit Company), as well as a historic old school at that intersection. There is a sign on the north side of the highway that says: Leroux Creek - National Forest Access.
Follow 3100 Road north approximately 10 miles and you will pass the clearly marked boundary of the Grand Mesa National Forest. From there on it is all public lands with the exception of a few small private in-holdings.
The altitude at this point is about 8,000 feet. There are extensive aspen and pine forests with a well maintained (in summer only) all-weather surface main gravel road and numerous side roads perfect for hikes or mountain biking.
There are no officially maintained campgrounds in the area, but there are many “hunter camps” that serve the purpose nicely. Make sure you check with the local USFS ranger’s office in Paonia (527-4131) about possible fire restrictions if you aren’t sure and want to have an open campfire.
The terrain rises as high as 11,000 feet in the surrounding country which includes some modest mountain peaks including Mt. Darline, Mt. Hatten and Crater Peak.
Although there is no easy through access from Leroux Creek, if one were to travel still further to the North and west you would find yourself on the Grand Mesa, where you can find some of the best summer lake fishing around in scores of lakes spread over many square miles.
Direct highway access to the Grand Mesa is by way of Highway 65 through Cedaredge.