Grand County Backcountry: Trail of the Week |

Grand County Backcountry: Trail of the Week

Deborah Carr and Lou Ladrigan
Backcountry Bound


Activity – Backcountry Ski or Snowshoe

Level of Difficulty – 3 (on a scale of 1-5, 1 being the easiest)

One-way Mileage – 1.76 miles

One-way Touring Time -1 1/2 hours

Altitude, GPS Reading at Trailhead – 8804′, 40°18’26″N, 105°50’28″W

Altitude, GPS Reading at Destination – 9406′, 40°18’40″N, 105°48’42″W

Trail Fee Required – Yes, $20 per 7 days/per vehicle available at Rocky Mountain National Park entrance fee station on US Hwy 34. Free with Golden Eagle, Golden Age, and Access passports.

Dogs not permitted

Rocky Mountain National Park restrictions apply. For further details, contact 970-627-3471.

Trailhead Location – On US Hwy 34, north of the town of Grand Lake, enter the west entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park at mile marker 15. Continue into the Park 1.3 miles further to the entrance fee station. From the fee station, drive 2.6 miles to the Green Mountain trail parking area on the right. Begin at the south end of the parking area at the Green Mountain trail kiosk (1).

Tour Description – From the kiosk, head east into the woods toward Big Meadows. The trail is well identified with orange markers on the trees. Climb the steady ascent and wind through the montane forest filled with lodgepole pine, spruce, fir, and aspen trees. On the right (south) is a small meadow, with a view of Green Mountain behind it. Cross several small snow covered bridges and continue to climb through the woods where several more small meadows lie on the right. Descend slightly to a fork and trail marker (2). To the right is the Lower Tonahutu Creek trail and to the left is the Upper Tonahutu Creek trail and Granite Falls. Turn left and then make an immediate right to the hitch rack (3). From the hitch rack, the view across Big Meadows is beautiful. Looking north-east and clockwise, the snow-capped mountains include Mt. Ida, Chief Cheley Peak, and an unnamed peak below Nakai Peak.

Backcountry Tip of the Week – Do not approach wildlife. The animals are wild and should be treated as such. Please keep a safe distance. Animals that look harmless can become dangerous if they feel threatened or feel that their young are in danger. Also, wildlife can carry diseases/virus that can be transmitted to humans, including Tuberculosis, Brucellosis, Hauntavirus, and Rabies.

More trails and information are available in “Backcountry Skiing and Snowshoeing in Grand County, Colorado”. The book is available locally in many retail outlets, gift shops, sporting goods stores, and coffee shops or visit our website at This column is a partnership with Headwaters Trails Alliance (, who works to plan, build, preserve and maintain multi-use trails in Grand County.

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