(Blue path indicates path actually hiked. Red path is an estimation of the remainder of the trail.)
DIRECTIONS: Island Lake is located along Hwy 65 (Grand Mesa Scenic Byway), 23 miles south of the town of Mesa, CO or 16 miles north of Cedaredge, CO. There are two trailheads, the eastern is located just to the east of the road to Cobbett Lake. The western Trailhead is located next to the Boat Launch along "Z Road."
Island Lake is a magnificent sight. It may be one of the prettiest lakes on the Grand Mesa. It is also a very busy lake, don't hike this trail looking for solitude. Island Lake hosts two campgrounds (Island Lake & Little Bear) and is very close to the Grand Mesa Visitor Center so chances are, if you spend any time on Grand Mesa you will find yourself visiting Island Lake.
The trail follows the southern shore of the lake, and the trail is stunning. We started our hike from the western Trailhead near the boat launch, a short walk down from the Island Lake Campground. The trail is easy to follow and meanders through the forest along the lake shore. The views looking up to the ridge and the Land of Lakes Viewpoint are wonderful. However, aside from the views, the lake itself is the main attraction. The water is a brilliant color of blue, peaceful and serene even if the crowds at the Little Bear Campground are not...
Island Lake may not the be the reason to visit Grand Mesa but it is definitely worth some time visiting. My advice is to camp near the lake and visit in the early morning or at dusk. It's a truly beautiful lake...