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Library Corner: Get your dirt fix

Kim Bunning
Library Corner
Mary Bonville explores the trails on her mountain bike during a trip to Lake Pueblo State Park in February 2022.
Kim Bunning/Library Corner

In Grand County, the change of seasons from fall to winter always brings excitement, but also just a hint of dread. Yippee for outdoor winter sports, but also ugh, I’m going to miss the dirt! Many of us have learned to count any days with dirt under our running shoes, hiking boots or mountain bike tires as bonus days, especially at this time of year. But as the snowbanks grow and temperatures plummet, the lack of dirt on our trails and backroads can lead to a serious need for a “dirt fix.” No fear! The Grand County Library District is here to help get your fix.

Through Check Out Colorado State Parks Kits, Grand County Library District offers free passes to all of Colorado’s 42 state parks. According to Colorado State Parks and Wildlife, these kits, which provide park passes and activity backpacks, are intended “to encourage and allow Colorado residents of all ages to visit State Parks, enjoy and explore nature, and engage in healthy, fun activities.” The park pass is good for entry into any Colorado State Park for up to seven days, but does not give any discounts for camping, programs, licenses, etc. The backpacks include binoculars, a wildlife viewing guide, a Colorado bird guide, a tree and wildflower identification guide, a star guide, a park brochure, suggested activities list and the Leave No Trace outdoor ethics principles.

Many of the parks can offer a dirt fix during the winter months, but two of my favorites are Golden Gate State Park and Lake Pueblo State Park. Golden Gate State Park is approximately a two-hour drive from Granby, offers spectacular views of the Continental Divide, and has miles upon miles of trails for both hiking and mountain biking that can dry out between Front Range winter storms. Lake Pueblo State Park is a bit farther away, but with a lower elevation, the temperatures tend to be higher and the trails dryer. We discovered Pueblo’s local mountain bike trails last President’s Day weekend. There’s plenty of open camp sites with lovely, dry, single-track trails and temperatures in the 70s! Be sure to check out the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website for current conditions, maps and other information before you go.



If you’re a hardcore winter lover, another option is to reserve a yurt or cabin somewhere like State Forest State Park near Walden or Pearl Lake State Park near Steamboat. What better way to experience winter wonderland than spending a night or two in a yurt or backcountry cabin! According to Parks and Wildlife, Pearl Lake “offers an exceptionally remote experience with trees and yurts covered in snow and only accessible by snowshoe, ski or snowmobile.” Whatever you decide to do this winter, be sure to check out the Grand County Library District’s collection of sports equipment, including snowshoes, guidebooks, games and Access Grand passes to help make your winter fun great!

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