Lime Mesa is a 16.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Durango, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
A high altitude out-and-back, or the "backdoor" to the popular Chicago Basin / Highland Mary Lakes areas. Trail climbs across the upper contours of a sloped mesa that ends at the south ridgelines of the Chicago Basin. At the Lime Mesa trail's end is a great "Overview Point" which gives a view to several of the 14'ers in the heart of the San Juan Mtns. The trail keeps mainly to open treeless alpine meadows at the upper end, after passing through a few alpine spruce / fir groves near the trailhead.
Great trail and great views at the end. When you reach the top (the saddle), just before the decent to Ruby lake there are many great views and places to stop for pictures or lunch. I will admit, looking down at Ruby lake knowing I was going to have to climb back out was a bit daunting. Not to mention the thunder in the distance.
The trail itself is not very steep except towards the end before Ruby Lake. There is plenty of water along the way if you have dogs.
The road to the trailhead is a whole other story. The last 2-3 miles is a pretty rough high clearance road. There was one last feature about .5 miles from the trailhead I just couldn't navigate. My F150 only has a 1" body lift and I didn't trust the rocks and ruts in just one specific spot. By this point there were some pull-offs though. Just be careful not to catch grass on fire with your cats, it is fire season.
Wonderful hike but a long drive to the trailhead at around 11,000 ft. About half of the trail is just below or about at tree-line and the rest a little above so the open woods and views are wonderful and the wild flowers spectacular in July. We saw a big herd of wapiti near where the trail descends to Ruby Lake.