Sunday, we ventured to Frisco to cross-country ski on the Temple Trail/Blue River Bikeway. In the warmer months, this is a fully paved biking/walking trail that we have enjoyed many times, most recently this past fall. However, this had been our first time cross-country skiing on it, and we were surprised that we had never skied (or snowshoed) on this trail before. It is fantastic!
We parked at the Rainbow Lake Trailhead and sat in the Tahoe for about 10 minutes as we watched other people in the parking lot, while working up the gumption to get moving ourselves. The temperature starting out was six degrees complemented with a clear blue sky. Our initial plan had been to ski all the way up to Copper Mountain. Unfortunately, after skiing only about ¾ miles up the trail, we came upon a gate closing off the remaining trail due to avalanche danger. Bummer.
I contemplated, perhaps a bit too hard, about circumventing that gate and continuing up the trail. Larry, always being the voice of reason, reminded me that we did not have the necessary avalanche gear with us (beacon, shovel, etc.). And, if we got caught we would get fined. Well, we have a lot of upcoming trips planned and there is no way that I want to forfeit the opportunity to enjoy all of the delicious food that we will encounter, especially in Jackson Hole – my foodie paradise.
We turned around and headed back towards Lake Dillon. In some sections of the trail, the sky is the limit for venturing off from the trail and making your own path, which we already have plans for the next time we are in Frisco. Along this trail, there is also a small section that is plowed very close to the pavement for residential access. It is very slick to ski on, but it is doable.
Once past that section, the trail is back in the forested area where the snow is deep and soft. There were ski tracks from those who had already been on the trail before us so it was not a difficult trek whatsoever. We skied to the end of the Blue River Arm of Lake Dillon (Dillon Reservoir) before turning around and heading back to our starting point, the Rainbow Lake Trailhead. If you continue beyond the point where we had turned around, after circumnavigating Summit High School, you will be skiing alongside the cars on the highway the majority of the time.
On our way back, we saw a couple with three dogs plowing through deep snow to the side of the trail. Naturally, my mind drifted back to the numerous adventures that we had shared with Aspen, who was always eager for a challenge. No matter how difficult the trail or how deep the snow, she was always determined to push through. Those times are long past, yet still so fresh in our memories.
All week I had been looking forward to this day trip, not only because we had never skied on this trail, but also because I was excited to eat dinner at Castaways Cove – their food is always memorable. And while we had a fantastic trip, our lasting impression is a tad bitter sweet since it took about 4 hours to get back to Denver due to an accident and traffic. 🙁
FINAL THOUGHTS: If you want a great place to cross-country ski outside of a Nordic center, I highly recommend this trail. It is fairly level, making it ideal for beginners. And it is just an overall comfortable, fun trek. Because it is so heavily used, you will likely always find existing ski tracks to follow in. On the flip side, this trail is also great for people who want to venture off from the path with skis or snowshoes, because the deep powder is abundant and up for grabs. That is what we look forward to next time!
We skied a total of 8.35 miles, which was another great warm up for our upcoming adventures!
Where is Base Camp @ Grand Lake headed next?
- Jan 14-16: Gunnison/Crested Butte
- Jan 22: Nederland
- Jan 27-30: Aspen
- Feb 3-6: Herber City, UT (canceled)
- Feb 4-6: Grand Lake
- Feb 21-26: Jackson Hole/Alpine, WY
- March: (still in planning phase)