Trail Maps and Descriptions
Overview of GMNC Nordic Trails
Click to download a printable map.
The GMNC Skyway and County Line Nordic areas have separate trailheads about 2 miles apart on highway 65. The areas are connected by the groomed trails Kannah Crossing and Scales Lake Rd. There are a total of 32 km (20 mi) of high quality groomed skate-classic cross country ski trails. Skiers can complete a 20 km loop starting from either trailhead. In early season, trails are snowmobile-groomed until there is sufficient snow depth to groom with a Pisten Bully 400, usually by mid-December.
All trails are easy to moderate with a few short climbs with a maximum elevation change of 50 ft. In general the easiest skiing (because it is flatter) are the trails at County Line. The steeper descents are marked on the map with caution symbols and chevrons pointing in the direction of descent, mainly to alert skiers to blind corners and runouts across intersecting trails. The trails pass through high timber, frozen lakes and some open areas. Two overlooks offer skiers spectacular 100 mile views of the San Juan Mountains to the south, and Battlements to the north.
The GMNC Ward Nordic area offers a 7 km snowmobile-groomed trail, and an extensive ungroomed ski touring area, with a total of 18 km (11 mi) of marked and signed trails. The Ward Trail is groomed from Ward trailhead to Baron Lake Drive near the visitor center, and provides easy access to the touring trails and to backcountry skiing terrain. Ward has steeper terrain than Skyway and County Line, and has a 500’ elevation gain from the Ward trailhead to Baron Lake Drive. The trails pass through high timber, frozen lakes and some open areas. An overlook offer skiers spectacular 100 mile views of the San Juan Mountains to the south. The parking lot at Ward Creek Reservoir is the designated trail head for Ward ski trails – there is no parking along Baron Lake Drive.
On desktop/laptop computers only: Click the map to access a CalTopo interactive map with popup descriptions of trails. Then zoom to the area of interest, roll over a trail and click. Information about the trail segment is displayed. A trail elevation profile can also be viewed.
The trail descriptions can also be downloaded and printed to carry with you. Descriptions are grouped based on which parking area they originate from.
A new trail designed for snowshoers will be open for 2017-18 on a trial basis. It connects to Dog Loop Trail, and is accessed from the County Line parking area (see CalTopo map). If you like this trail, send a note to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, so that we can work with the Forest Service to add it to the system permanently.
Navigation in winter on the top of the Grand Mesa can be challenging during cloudy and occasional white-out conditions. Trail signs and maps have been designed to help skiers return safely to the correct trail-head in any conditions. There are two navigation methods:
1) All trail intersections are numbered on the trail maps and on south-facing trail signs at intersections. When facing any intersection sign with the trail map in hand (north arrow pointing up) the map will be correctly oriented. Additional directional and trail name signs will help verify your route.
2) GMNC also provides geo-referenced topographic trail maps. These maps can be downloaded into the free Avenza app on a gps-enabled smartphone or tablet. The Avenza app will display your location when you are within the map area with only gps service. Cell service is not necessary. Click to download the Skyway-County Line or Ward geo-referenced map.