Never mind a couple marginal ski trails, Grand County hiking trails are still open |

Never mind a couple marginal ski trails, Grand County hiking trails are still open

Janet Day / Talk of the Valley
Grand County, Colorado

Trail Tales. So many people seem so excited that A-Basin and Loveland have “opened” for the season. I just can’t get worked up about going out on a couple trails of marginal machine-made snow. I’d rather be on Grand County, Colorado’s, hiking trails while I still can and wait for the good snow in a couple months.

Lately I’ve been wandering around the trails on and adjacent to the former Idlewild Ski Area. Maps are hard to come by, but the wooden signs help navigation. A neighbor has figured out her half-hour loop, one-hour loop and two-hour loop for daily hikes and runs. The trails aren’t seriously aerobic unless you’re running, but they offer a variety of lovely walks in the woods. Keep an eye out for moose any time of year.

I’m sure I’ll hear from plenty of people annoyed that I’m revealing their secret trails, but if I can figure it out without a map, others can too. And who knows how long those trails will be accessible if the planned Idlewild development proceeds.

This past weekend had me and the new dog on trails through the Fraser Experimental Forest. It’s unrecognizable out there with all the logging going on. Great Byers Peak views have opened up. The St. Louis Creek Campground is wide open now with a few healthy trees left scattered around the perimeter. The Northwest Passage trail feels like a construction site.

Parts of Chainsaw are strangely exposed and now have Continental Divide views. The old established aspen along the Zoom trail should spread quickly in the coming years as the logging allows more sunlight in. It’s like walking on trails I’ve never used before ” everything seems new.

It will be interesting to see how the change affects snowshoeing this winter. For one thing, it will be gorgeous once the snow is deep enough to hide the stumps, slash and debris left from logging. But will the open areas expose the snow and cause it to melt or ice up faster? Will the lack of trees mean more wind?

Stuck in the Past. Have you noticed how people have started talking about last winter? And not fondly. A mention of cool temperatures in the morning is followed by “Remember how cold it was last winter?” Comments about windy afternoons elicit responses like “Remember how windy it was last winter?” Yes, last winter was miserably windy and cold and long, but I don’t want to dwell on it for fear of my going into this winter with a bad weather attitude and being cranky for six months.

Changes. The seasons aren’t all that’s changing. There are a lot of whispers about the future of some local restaurants. The economy or disagreements among owners may, I hear, be the end of some eateries. The talk includes old favorites and new establishments. I hope we don’t lose a lot of restaurants. We just recently got to the point where there was a nice selection of restaurants that didn’t all have similar menus.

Bad Bargains. I hope there is a county law or Fraser ordinance prohibiting the sale of cheap mattresses from cargo containers dropped in hotel parking lots right along the main road through town. Is that the view we want people to have of Fraser? Were sales taxes being collected? Can anyone sell anything anywhere at any time? At least the tacky, hand-painted sign came down.

” Keep in Touch: What’s got your attention around the area? Let me know. I’ll try to find the answer or spread the news. Send it all to

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

The Sky-Hi News strives to deliver powerful stories that spark emotion and focus on the place we live.

Over the past year, contributions from readers like you helped to fund some of our most important reporting, including coverage of the East Troublesome Fire.

If you value local journalism, consider making a contribution to our newsroom in support of the work we do.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


Writers on the Range: A backroad journey through time

Moab on a mid-fall weeknight was full. All the motels, RV parks and tents sites had “no vacancy” notices. Every food provider from Denny’s to the organic, locally-sourced artisan places had limited hours and limited…

See more