Winter Adventures on Colorado's Grand Mesa | Rocky Mountain Health Plans Blog



Cross-Country Skiing, Sledding, & More on the Grand Mesa

If you’re lucky enough to live or play on the Western Slope, you may have heard about a special place called the Grand Mesa. It’s the largest flat top mountain in the world, with hundreds of acres to explore. 

A slice of wilderness that can be enjoyed all year long, though winter is a particularly special time. 

You’ll find pristine forests with snow dusted trees, peaceful lakes that are ideal for ice fishing, a fun ski resort, and miles of high-quality, groomed cross-country trails. Before you go, don’t forget to consult this guide to maximizing your wintertime recreation on Colorado’s Grand Mesa. 

Cross-country skiing on the Grand Mesa

Cross-country skiing is one of the most-loved activities to enjoy atop the Grand Mesa. This is no surprise — there are miles of trails to discover. 

To learn more about the trails, the Grand Mesa Nordic Council (GMNC) is your go-to resource. The nonprofit group grooms and maintains 31 miles of trails on the Mesa’s Skyway, County Line, and Ward trail systems:

  • The County Line and Skyway systems are where the easiest and flattest trails are located. The maximum elevation gain is an easy 50 feet, which is perfect for beginners. Bring a map so you’ll know when a steep descent is on the horizon as these are marked with caution symbols and chevrons pointing in the direction of descent.
  • The Ward trail system has a snowmobile-groomed trail, plus a large ungroomed ski touring area. If you’re looking for some backcountry terrain, this is where you want to be. Ward also has steeper terrain, with 500 feet elevation gain from the trailhead to Baron Lake Drive. 

For more information, including printable maps, trail descriptions, and where to ski with your dog, head over to the GMNC’s website here. 

Downhill skiing and snowboarding at Powderhorn Mountain Resort

You’ll find Powderhorn on the northern edge of the Grand Mesa. Whether you’re a local, or just want to escape the crowds along the Front Range, a day spent here is a day well spent. The odds for a powder day are also good, since the area gets around 250 inches of light powder snow every year. 

This is an excellent spot for families and beginners, too. With 70 percent of the runs geared toward beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. 

Even more fun activities on the Grand Mesa

Cross-country skiing and downhill skiing/snowboarding are among the most popular winter activities on the Grand Mesa, but there’s so much more to do:

  • Ice fishing is an awesome way to enjoy the Mesa’s numerous lakes. Just be sure to read these 5 Critical Tips for Safe Ice Fishing in Colorado before you give it a go.
  • Sledding on "Old Powderhorn," aka the old Mesa Creek Ski Area, is a beloved local activity during the winter. You’ll find the area off of the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway, approximately 3 miles past Powderhorn.
  • Fat tire biking is becoming more popular every year, and fat bikes can be ridden on nearly any trail that allows snowmobiles. To learn more about fat tire bikes, including how to choose one, check out this helpful article.