The Skyway Ski Trail System on the Grand Mesa offers a challenging outing on cross-country or skate skis – and snowshoes, too!
The Skyway Ski Trail System is located near Grand Junction, Colorado, on the Grand Mesa, one of the largest flattop mountains on the planet. The Grand Mesa boasts almost 500 square miles of forest (aptly named the Grand Mesa National Forest) and 300 lakes.
At an elevation of 11,000 feet, Grand Mesa ensures that even the most athletic skier will be short of breath during an exploration. Whether a veteran skier or a beginner, the nearly 19-mile system will impress with its variety of trails through forest that has an untouched quality that speaks of mystery and tranquility.
To reach Skyway (as the locals call it), drive about 10 miles on Highway 65 past the Powderhorn Ski Resort to one of the two trailheads. That’s right – you have to drive past one ski area to get to another! If the urge to multitask strikes, in one day you could downhill, cross-country (classic) and skate ski.
The Skyway also connects to the County Line Trail System, accessing both Kannah Crossing and Scales Lake. In addition to the ski trails, Skyway has a trail designated specifically for snowshoes. The area is popular and not a place where you will be encouraged to take a dog.
Otherwise, the Grand Mesa is a gift that just keeps giving through open areas, forest and near frozen lakes!
Once you have reached Skyway, the trails will be groomed for both classic and skate skiing. Snowmobiles and the formative Pisten Bully 400 packs and smooth the snow, ensuring accessibility to all.
The trails wind through the forest, giving the impression of an endless natural sanctuary. Untracked snow just might beckon you to make tracks through the forest.
For gear and advice, check out Summit Canyon Mountaineering or Colorado Mesa University’s Outdoor Program.