Cross Country Skiing (XC skiing) is a great way to experience Colorado’s beauty and an excellent way to burn some calories! Luckily, Northern Colorado is surrounded by magnificent XC skiing so you don’t have to go far from home. To get you started, we’ve created a list of our top five trails and one should be a good fit for most everyone, based upon difficulty, location, or ease of access. Let’s jump into the trails:
Located on Cameron Pass, this 2-4 mile trail is great for beginners and is known for stunning views of Nokhu Crags and Diamond Peaks. The trailhead is reached from the Cameron Pass summit parking lot and you cross Colorado Highway 14 for access. At the 5-mile mark, the Michigan Ditch crosses some serious avalanche paths, so further skiing is not recommended.
American Lakes is the continuation of the Michigan Ditch trail at the 3-mile fork. It is a difficult trail that stretches six to ten miles and receives heavy use. For those who conquered the Michigan Ditch, this can be a great stepping stone to longer, more difficult trails. To access American Lakes, start the Michigan Ditch trailhead and follow directions.
This 5-mile, moderately difficult trail receives light to moderate use. Trap Park offers gorgeous scenery, however, avalanche danger is slightly prevalent, so be aware of the latest conditions. Getting to this trailhead isn’t too difficult. Park at the Blue Lake trailhead and cross Hwy 14 to Long Draw Road, which also makes for a quick access route into the Neota Wilderness. The Trap Park turnoff is 3 miles up Long Draw Road.
Located in the Montgomery Pass area, this trailhead is a moderately difficult 1.5 mile trail. This is perfect for a quick workout that still satisfies your exercise needs and has spectacular views. Park at the Zimmerman Lake Trailhead on Hwy 14, about 2 miles east of the summit of Cameron Pass. The trail starts on the south side of the parking lot; follow a wide and occasionally steep road to Zimmerman Lake.
Fort Collins Natural Areas
If you’re looking to stay close to home and avoid mountain driving, the Fort Collins Natural Areas are great places to ski. However, the caveat is only when snow permits. Visiting one of the natural areas is a perfect snow-day activity to get out of the house and enjoy the snow.
Before heading out on your next XC skiing adventure, be sure you have all the necessary equipment for a safe and successful trip. Come into Outpost Sunsport, talk to us about what you might need, and shop our wide selection of quality outdoor gear.