High atop Colorado's Grand Mesa sits the historic Lands End Observatory. This ranger observatory was built mainly by the U.S. Forest Service in 1936 and 1937 and is an incredibly fun place to visit during the warmer spring and summer months.

Depending on snow and road conditions, the site is accessible during the winter months but at your own risk. Look to the signs along the scenic byway for an indication if the roads going up are still open on a given day. The observatory is no longer in use, but the site is still a popular destination for one of the best overall views of the Grand Valley.

Kool 107.9 logo
Get our free mobile app

This History of Lands End Observatory on Colorado's Grand Mesa

As America tried to scratch and claw its way out of the Great Depression, President Roosevelt was working on two developments that made the Observatory possible. These developments were the Region 2 Architectural Division in 1936 which caught to develop lands in Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming. Secondly, Roosevelt's "New Deal" created the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

Once established these groups began work on recreational projects in these selected states. The project in Colorado quickly developed into creating Veteran's Road up the side of the Mesa in the mid-1930s, followed by the Observatory which was built in 1937.

Directions to Colorado's Lands End Observatory

There are two ways up to the top of the Grand Mesa that will take you to the site of the Observatory. You can either take Lands End Road (formerly Veteran's Road) right up the side of the Grand Mesa itself. It seems pretty amazing that with all that rock blasting and men working on the steep sides of the Mesa, that not one person was injured building Lands End Road. Check out a video of the ride up the side of Lands End Road.

The other route up is to take the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway to the top of the Grand Mesa, and then cut over to the Observatory on the half-gravel-half-paved road across from near the Visitor's Center. See the map below.

Google Maps
Google Maps

The View from the Top at Lands End Observatory

When you arrive at the Lands End Observatory you'll find plenty of parking near the ranger station (which is boarded up), and if you walk down the path just beyond the ranger station there are still restrooms open at the top but they are not maintained by an attendant so you may find some plants growing up through the floor but the plumbing all still works.

Scroll through the photo gallery below for the lay of the land on the top of the Mesa.

A First Timer's Guide to Colorado's Lands End Observatory

The Lands End Observatory was built in 1937. While this ranger station is no longer in use, the lookout is still a popular destination for amazing views of the Grand Valley, Utah, and even the distant peaks of Colorado's 14er mountains.

LOOK: What's with These Terrible Reviews of Mount Garfield

Mt. Garfield is more than just a great hike - it's an icon here in the Grand Valley. Not everyone enjoys making the hike, though. Here are a few not-so-flattering reviews of Mt.Garfield.

KEEP GOING: See the Top 20 Largest Employers in Mesa County Colorado

See the top twenty companies that employ the largest number of people in Mesa County Colorado. 

DRIVE SAFE: 10 Things You SHould Know About Colorado's Wolf Creek Pass

Wolf Creek Pass is a beautiful Colorado drive, but in the wintertime it is one of the most dangerous roads in Colorado. Here are 10 interesting facts about this fascinating road on the Continental Divide.

More From Kool 107.9