- Get out into the wild on the Gold Hill Trail, where you'll get great views of the Ten Mile Range.
- Nordic centers around the area provide an opportunity to try cross country skiing in a controlled environment.
- Rent some skis and take the family out for winter fun on the Ten Mile Recreation Pathway.
Cross-country skiing is not just a fantastic way to get some exercise but a wonderful way to see the natural beauty and surroundings of Summit County. There are places to rent gear and take lessons on both classic style Nordic skiing and skate skiing.
Because of the many options available, you can decide whether to follow groomed trails, or venture along your own path.
Where to go Cross Country Skiing
White River National Forest
The mountains of the Gore and Ten Mile Ranges provide 360 degree views and a pleasant alpine environment from mid December through March for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
Boreas Pass Road
This historic 6.5 mile trail passes Baker's Tank, where steam locomotives refilled their water at 10,859 feet. The views of the Ten Mile Range and Blue River Valley start from the beginning and continue to improve all the way past the timberline.
Weather is highly variable, so be prepared and expect snow drifts, especially as the trail approaches the summit. Trailhead starts on Boreas Pass Road, to the east of Breckenridge.
Gold Hill Trail
Reaching a summit to view the Mayflower Amphitheater, Pacific Peak and Fletcher Mountain, this trail goes 3.4 miles up into the mountains, reaching an altitude of 10,030 feet. It passes through clear-cut forests, which are a fire protection for the 70-100 year old lodgepole pines in the area.
Located on Hwy. 9, from exit 195 of I-70, turn right after five miles on Gold Hill Rd.
Take a winter trail past some of the area's richest mines in the French Gulch. This 4.13 mile trail will rise to 12,055 feet, a challenge enough for most skiers. Humbug Hill and Mount Baldy wait as your rewards on the trip.
Trailhead is on French Gulch Rd., south of Frisco on Hwy. 9.
There are also a handful of places that have groomed trails and lessons. These are great spots to go if you are just learning or if you want a solid workout.
- Frisco – On the southwest corner of Dillon Reservoir, the Frisco Nordic Center provides both lake side terrain and dense forest trails for cross country skiers.
- Leadville – There is an 18 mile groomed loop that is great for classic and skate skiing at Turquoise Lake . The loop also passes through a variety of terrain for all levels.
- Breckenridge – The Breckenridge Nordic Center grooms about 32 miles of trails that pass through a popular golf course in the summer. It also provides backcountry access into the surrounding forests. The trail is open from mid-November to early April depending on the weather.
- Keystone – The Keystone Nordic Center has a number of trails and programs to explore. Try the Ladies Day or the Full Moon Tour for something special.
Another great option for spending the day on cross country skis is to slide along the Summit County recreation paths. They can be found throughout the area and are great for the whole family. A popular option is the Ten Mile Recreation Pathway, which connects Frisco to Vail.
Rentals & Fees
The nordic centers in the various towns will rent equipment at daily rates, monthly rates, or a punch card. Prices vary between nordic centers and also between the level of gear to be rented.
Outdoor shops in town will also be able to rent cross country equipment, allowing visitors the option of heading out onto the trails on their own schedule.
Hire a Guide
It may seem like it's the same as your NordicTrack® at home, but one try at cross country skiing will prove the value of a few lessons. Take the opportunity at one of the nordic centers to improve your technique and get more enjoyment from the sport.
Take a group tour in the moonlight to enjoy the evening sounds of a quiet cross country ski. Tours are a common way for families to get out together under the guidance of a professional.