Cheney ReservoirType: Picnic/scenic/birding
Miles From Grand Junction: Approx. 20
Access: High Clearance
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Cheney Reservoir is a small body of water located in the middle of the desert region between Grand Junction Colorado and Delta Colorado. No, the reservoir was not named after the former Vice President Dick Cheney. It was named after a Mr. Cheney that helped to get the construction of the dam started back in the early 1900’s. He also homesteaded in the area as well.
To access the reservoir from the 32 road & Hwy 50 intersection in Grand Junction you need to travel south west on hwy 50 for just under 10 ½ miles until you reach mile marker 51. On your left (the north side) of the highway you will see a dirt road with a gate and cattle guard just off the highway. There is a large three story blue house directly across the road on your right and a cell tower also. Exit the highway onto the dirt road and travel just under 1.5 miles to the dam.
The road leading to the reservoir can be accessed by most any vehicle with just a little clearance if it is dry but can become impassable completely if wet. I wouldn’t recommend taking your Lexus or BMW on it but you might be ok with an older car. Use your best judgment.
The area leading up to the dam is in sync with the rest of the Desert between Grand junction and Delta, hot, brown & dry but can offer some nice views of the Grand Mesa to the north and the Dominguez Canyon area to the south along with some cool desert wild flowers and blooming cactus during certain times of the year.
The first really neat thing comes at about the .8 mile mark. The road passes through the remains of an old homestead. I’m assuming that this area is where Mr. Cheney built his houses and buildings. There are about 5-7 old cement foundations scattered around each side of the road along with and old dugout a short distance up the hill on your left. There is an old mattress and some personal effects that look like they’ve been there for quite a long time.
There are various pieces of junk scattered around along with what I think is either part of a small granary or possibly a well, I really don’t know. It is kind of neat walking around the area and trying to imagine what it looked like back in the day.
The reservoir comes into view at the top of the hill. It’s not a big lake but it’s definitely bigger than a pond. From what I understand, the reservoir was originally suppose to hold 98 million cubic feet of water and was going to be used for irrigation for the farmers in the area which makes for a pretty large body of water. Today one of its biggest audiences is bird watchers. You can find a variety of different birds throughout the year. From what I read there are some areas of private property such as below the main dam and towards the south east of the reservoir, but the majority of the shoreline is BLM. There are numerous fences running every which way but I didn’t see any signage indicating anything so explore at your own risk.
Cheney Reservoir is a neat little “Oasis in the Desert” and one everyone should check out at least just to say you’ve been there.