Outdoor Activities and Conservation at Plateau Creek


Plateau Creek, a tributary of the Colorado River, spans approximately 50 miles through Mesa County in western Colorado. This hidden gem offers diverse outdoor activities and stunning natural beauty, making it an attractive destination for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts alike.


  • Plateau Creek provides opportunities for the exploration of diverse ecosystems and breathtaking landscapes.
  • Popular outdoor activities include hiking, biking, fishing, and water-based recreation.
  • The area is known for its excellent fishing, with various species available in prime locations.

Natural Landscape and Wildlife of Plateau Creek

Plateau Creek flows through a narrow canyon before entering the Plateau Valley, where it meanders along the north edge of the Grand Mesa uplands. The surrounding landscape features a mix of grassy valleys, rugged canyons, and forested hillsides, providing habitat for a variety of wildlife species.

Visitors to the area may encounter deer, elk, bighorn sheep, and a range of bird species, including eagles and ospreys. The diverse ecosystems along Plateau Creek also support a variety of plant life, from riparian vegetation to high-desert flora.

Conservation efforts play a crucial role in maintaining the health and beauty of Plateau Creek and its surrounding environment. As a part of the 12,000-acre Lone Mesa State Park, the headwaters of Plateau Creek and the geographical feature of Lone Mesa serve as a natural resource haven.

The diversity of plants and wildlife in this state park is carefully protected by the wildlife service, and public access is partially restricted to only those involved in volunteer stewardship efforts and a public hunting program. Responsible outdoor practices, such as Leave No Trace principles, help preserve the area for future generations to enjoy.

Hiking and Biking Trails

Plateau Creek offers several hiking and biking trails that showcase the area’s stunning natural beauty. These trails range from easy, family-friendly routes to more challenging backcountry adventures.

One popular trail is the Plateau Creek Trail, which follows the creek through a scenic canyon. The trail offers views of towering cliffs, lush vegetation, and opportunities for wildlife spotting. When weather conditions are favorable, exploring these trails during the spring, summer, and fall months is best.

Before embarking on any outdoor recreation adventure, be sure to check current conditions, bring appropriate gear, and inform others of your plans to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Water-Based Recreation

Plateau Creek provides exciting opportunities for water-based recreation, including kayaking, rafting, and tubing. The creek’s flow varies throughout the year, with peak runoff typically occurring in late spring and early summer.

Experienced kayakers and rafters can tackle the creek’s rapids during high water, while more leisurely float trips are possible during lower water levels. Assessing your skill level and current conditions is essential before attempting any water-based activities.

Always wear proper safety gear, such as life jackets, and be prepared for changing weather conditions. Respect private property rights and obtain any necessary permits before accessing the creek.

Fishing Opportunities

Plateau Creek is known for its excellent fishing, attracting anglers from across the region. The creek supports a variety of fish species, including trout, bass, and catfish.

Prime fishing spots can be found throughout the Plateau Valley, with access points along Highway 330 and Highway 65. Fly fishing and spin casting are popular techniques depending on the targeted species and location.

Before casting a line, be sure to obtain a valid Colorado fishing license from the National Park Service and familiarize yourself with local regulations and catch limits. Practicing catch-and-release can help maintain healthy fish populations for future anglers to enjoy.

Local Events and Cultural Activities

The communities along Plateau Creek host various events and festivals throughout the year, showcasing the area’s rich cultural heritage and vibrant spirit. These events provide opportunities for visitors to engage with locals, sample regional cuisine, and experience unique traditions.

One notable event is the Plateau Valley Heritage Days, typically held in late summer. This multi-day celebration features live music, food vendors, arts and crafts, and historical reenactments, offering a glimpse into the area’s past and present.

Check local event calendars and community websites for upcoming festivities and participation information.


What are the top trails for hiking near Plateau Creek?

Some popular hiking trails near Plateau Creek include the Plateau Creek Trail, the Buzzard Gulch Trail, and the Mesa Top Trail. These trails offer a range of difficulty levels and showcase the area’s diverse landscapes.

Can you kayak or raft on Plateau Creek? What are the conditions?

Yes, kayaking and rafting are popular activities on Plateau Creek, particularly during the spring runoff. Water levels and rapids vary throughout the year, so assessing your skill level and current conditions is essential before attempting any water-based outdoor recreation.

What types of fish are in Plateau Creek, and when is the best time to fish?

Plateau Creek is home to various fish species, including trout, bass, and catfish. The best time to fish depends on the targeted species and location, but generally, spring through fall offers prime fishing conditions.

Are there any permits required for camping or rock climbing in the area?

Permits for certain activities, such as overnight camping or accessing specific climbing areas, may be required. Check with local land management agencies, such as the Bureau of Land Management or the National Park Service, for current regulations and permit requirements.

What winter activities are available near Plateau Creek, and are there any special preparations needed?

While Plateau Creek is primarily known for its summer and fall activities, visitors can still enjoy winter pursuits like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the surrounding areas. Before embarking on any winter adventures, be sure to check trail conditions, bring appropriate gear, and prepare for cold weather.


About the author

Ransom Patterson

My expertise in Colorado life extends beyond just residing here; it’s also about living actively within the community. I spend my time cycling through Denver’s trails, experimenting with local cuisines, and immersing myself in the local music scene. These activities give me a unique perspective on the cultural and outdoor offerings of Colorado. This hands-on approach allows me to provide insider tips and personal recommendations that resonate with both locals and visitors alike.