Grand County has a treasure in the Fraser River Trail and Fraser to Granby Trail connecting towns and recreation areas. It is an ongoing cooperative effort of government, non-profits, businesses and individuals that is rarely seen. Started in 1998 by Fraser Valley Partnership for Trails and spearheaded by Headwaters Trails Alliance, the trail is still a work in progress. The public trails system extends from the Winter Park Resort to Granby over both public and private lands and is useable both winter and summer with a few exceptions. The WP Resort and towns of Winter Park and Fraser created and maintain their portions in conjunction with HTA who also supervises maintenance and building on the trail through the county working with volunteers from all over. Portions from the WP Resort to Fraser are paved and other portions natural surface. This long slow continuing process has accomplished so much and so much remains to be done. Recently the town of Fraser added a very popular winter LUNCH LOOP through the willows on the east side of Hwy 40.
Winter grooming is currently in full swing and conditions are great on the entire trail from the Winter Park Resort to Val Moritz and Granby Ranch if snow conditions hold up in this unusual winter. Again this year, the towns of Fraser and Winter Park are paying for Mountain States Snocats to groom the area trails and the community response has been incredible. The grooming has been suitable even for skating but note walkers with their dogs, snowshoers, and fat bikes are also allowed on this multiuse trail. Please be considerate of other users and do not walk on the tracks set for skiers.
Grooming from the Fraser Ballfields to Granby Ranch is still done by volunteers with John Brammer from HTA shouldering most of the load grooming from Granby Ranch to the Fraser Ballfields once a week and more. Pole Creek Machine has loaned several machines to HTA that are currently used to tenderize and even lay a great track. All sections are open for XC skiing, snowshoeing or just plain walking with your dog! Please observe dog leash restriction in the Beavers area and always pick up after your pooch. Where horses are allowed, please pick up after your animal. HTA and Grand Nordic are grooming Tracey’s Trail from Val Moritz upper road loop toward Ski Granby Ranch to connect with their XC trails and the Ski Lodge. Past logging on upper trails has increased drifting in some areas but the Granby Ranch groomer does a great job on the drifts. The portion from Val Moritz to Tim’s Tunnel at the YMCA entrance goes through the beautiful Fischer Creek Valley where wildlife abounds. From Tim’s Tunnel, the Fraser to Granby crosses the front of the YMCA property paralleling HWY 40 all the way to Tabernash at Pole Creek Meadows. After a short walk through town, take Sunnyside Lane down past the Thurston Ranch, up the road to Hidden River development and across the plateau with great vistas of the whole valley. Head down through the Denver Waterboard property toward the Fraser Ballfields where parking is always available. Take a loop through the ballfields – skiing is excellent on this entire portion. Walk over to County Road 8 and the Fraser River crossing. The trail connects through Fraser along the river and splits into the Fraser River Trail for winter sports and the paved Highway trail. The winter trail stays on the east side of Winter Park and emerges at Beavers where it is groomed to the WP Resort.
There are many areas with parking to access the trail starting at Beavers, the Safeway parking lot, The Fraser Ballfields parking for the Ice Rink or Nordic skiing, Tabernash Cty Road 5221 corner lot, the church lots west of Tabernash, the YMCA lot at Hwy 40 and Tim’s Tunnel, and Granby Ranch parking lots. Ski one way and take the Lift bus back to your car for a great afternoon adventure.
It’s a lot of miles and is maintained by the towns and volunteers for the enjoyment of both locals and visitors alike since access is free to all. Hats off to everyone who makes this kind of cooperation work for the good of all! We couldn’t do without our volunteers and the people who make it happen.
If you can volunteer to help, please call Diana Lynn Rau 970-887-0547 or HTA 970- 726-1013. Above all, be courteous to landowners, respect private property, and pick up after your pets. Enjoy our fresh powder! Feb2018