Grand County Backcountry: Trail of the Week
VASQUEZ NATURE PATH
Activity – Backcountry Ski or Snowshoe
Level of Difficulty – 1 (on a scale of 1-5, 1 being the easiest)
One-Way Mileage – 1.10 miles
One-Way Touring Time – 1 hour
Altitude, GPS Reading at Trailhead – 9060′, 39°54’30″N, 105°48’00″W
Altitude, GPS Reading at Destination – 9147′, 39°53’56″N, 105°48’25″W
Trail Fee Required – No
Dogs are Permitted without leash
Trailhead Location – On US Hwy 40, in the town of Winter Park, turn west on Vasquez Road. Follow Vasquez Road (which turns into FDR 148) for 1.2 miles to limited parking on the left. A second trailhead may be reached .7 miles further on FDR 148 at the end of the plowed road on the left (See note below).
Tour Description – From the parking area, backtrack on FDR 148 for 70 paces, where the trailhead is hidden behind the snow bank. Climb onto the bank where the sign is visible (1). Begin on this packed trail (Twin Bridges) and follow the orange forest boundary ribbons downhill. At the bottom of the steep hill, there is a fork (2). Left continues on Twin Bridges to Blue Sky and right turns onto Vasquez Nature Path. The sign for this right fork is hidden behind fir trees, so look carefully so as not to miss it. Turn right onto Vasquez Nature Path. Parallel Vasquez Creek upstream, which is on the left, through the spruce, fir, and lodgepole pine forest. The trees are dense in places where the creek bed is barely visible. However, most of the trail follows near the creek and water can occasionally be seen flowing. The trail winds as it gently climbs. Many user created trails fork from the main trail, but continue to parallel Vasquez Creek. The end of the trail is at the first green shed (3), where the second parking area is located just to the right. From this point, either return on the same inbound trail or take any of the many user created trails back to the trailhead or parking area.
Backcountry Tip of the Week – Spring time snow conditions vary greatly throughout the day. Mornings can be icy and afternoons can be sticky or slushy. For waxable skis, remember to bring various temperature waxes for changing conditions. For both skis and snowshoes, be prepared to knock off sticking snow with scrapers.
Note: This trail can be accessed from two parking areas and therefore can be done as a two car trip or in and back from either parking area.
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 http://backcountrybound.home.mindspring.com/. This column is a partnership with Headwaters Trails Alliance (www.headwaterstrails.com), who works to plan, build, preserve and maintain multi-use trails in Grand County.
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