On the map, the Leon Lake trail is pretty much a straight line. That usually means it's not a difficult trail, as the squiggly trails are usually the good ones. So we weren't expecting much from Leon Lake. We came off of a great time on Kenney Creek Reservoir and headed south a short distance to Leon Lake. It started at a cattle guard that had mud holes on both sides of it, making it actually a bit of a challenge to get across. That should have been a warning.
We decided not to check out the other trail to Hunter Reservoir that time, saving it for our next trip to Grand Mesa. Instead, we headed over a nice bridge to Leon Lake. There were tall snowmobile poles everywhere, noting that this area was popular with people in the winter months. Mike opened a challenging gate, closing it behind us, and then we were on our way.
The trail is on a large meadow on the northern end, and you would think that would mean an easy trail but it did not mean that. We realized quickly that we wouldn't be making good time because the rocks were just big enough and far enough apart that it kept us moving slowly. We bounced and rocked our way to the far side of the meadow and into the trees where we found a couple guys in a side-by-side coming our way. They said it was more of the same behind them. We bounced by each other and wished them well.
We crossed a few creeks and through muddy bogs. We went through a few places that could be called Rock Gardens, but really the whole thing was one big garden. It seemed to take a long time before we got to Colby Horse Park Reservoir, the first lake near us. We needed to stop bouncing for a bit, so we pulled to the side of the trail and got out for a bit. It was very scenic, and we saw a couple ATVs go by while we were there.
We eventually kept going, and it kept the rocks coming. We got to Leon Lake, finally, and it was a big lake. It was pretty, but we didn't stop.
After weaving around a bit, we discovered a nice cabin out there in the middle of the woods. It even had a street address. We assumed that meant that the trail past the cabin was nicer, but we were wrong. How did they get supplies and things to build the cabin in the first place? They either did it when the road was nicer or they did it in the winter with snowmobiles. It was a very pretty location.
We bumped our way south, climbing above Marcott Creek. It got dark, and lightning struck nearby. We put in windows and put Jeep tops up, and it started to rain. At times, it was pouring. We got to the spur to Trickle Reservoir and decided to save it for another day.
We kept climbing, and the rain mellowed out and stopped. The trail also got nicer, and it looked like a grader had just gone through. Dirt was freshly torn up, and the trail was widened in spots. We found the grader in the trees but work was done for the day.
The trail seemed easy as we finished it, and then we found ourselves on the smooth Surface Creek Road. It took a while, but we were finally done with the trail.
We'd tried to do the switchbacks on Land's End Road the day before, but they were closed for a race. We were determined to do them, so we headed over to Highway 65 and up to the road.