County Line Loop 4

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 6 miles - 9.7k
Difficulty: Strenuous
Elevation: 10,784 - 10,862 feet
Cellphone: 0-2 bars (very spotty)
Usage: Snowshoeing - Cross Country Skiing - Dogs
Time: 3 hrs.
Facilities: Vault toilet
Trailhead: County Line Nordic Area
Fee: none
Attractions: Groomed trails, moose
   

View County Line Loop 4 in a larger map

The County Line Nordic Area is located on the Grand Mesa where the Mesa/Delta county line crosses Highway 65. The groomed trails, with their minor changes in elevation, are some of the easiest Nordic trails on the Grand Mesa. The County Line Loop 4 is an ungroomed trail that is only about 1.3 miles by itself. The rest of the distance is covered over groomed trails to get to and from Loop 4.


The parking lot at the County Line Nordic area can get pretty full with vehicles but the trails never seem to be all that crowded. The trails cover a lot of miles and there are a lot of options to take people off in different directions. The biggest crowds are usually right at the trailhead. There are usually some nice trail maps at the trailhead along with a donation box if you would like to contribute to the trail grooming. You can also print out a map and check current conditions on the Grand Mesa Nordic Councils website at www.gmnc.org.


To get over to Loop 4 head away from the trailhead following the Loop 1 trail and after a short distance take the right fork and follow Loop 2. There are also a few trail signs that say 'Scenic Overlook' that will lead to the beginning of Loop 4.


The next fork in the trail marks the beginning of Loop 3. Take the right fork and follow Loop 3 to the beginning of the Loop 4 trail and the fork that leads to the Scenic Overlook.


Moose can be spotted from time to time year round in the County Line area. It can be easy to pass them by without seeing them but if you notice some fresh tracks leading away from the trail you might be able to spot one in the trees.


The Loop 4 trail begins at a 4-way junction where the Loop 3 trail begins turning more towards the north as it wraps around the lake. The Scenic Overlook branches off to the right and Loop 4 is straight ahead behind the trail marker. The Loop 4 trail might not be very obvious if you are the first one there after a fresh snow but if you stand next to the trail marker at the junction and look down in the shallow gully you can easily find the sign.


The Loop 4 trail is well marked with blue diamonds and is pretty easy to follow even when there are no other tracks. If it is snowing hard or blowing snow and you are breaking the trail you might want to save it for another day and stick to the groomed trails. Loop 4 is a very easy trail all by itself as it is mostly flat and well sheltered.


The Loop 4 trail continually arcs around to the left until it rejoins the Loop 3 trail near the communications tower. The total length of the Loop 4 trail is about 1.3 miles. If you turn left on the Loop 3 trail you will be back at the beginning of the loop after about 6 tenths of a mile.


There is the option when you get back to the beginning of the loop to follow the Scenic Overlook trail over to the rim of the mountain where you can get a great view for as much as a hundred miles in some directions. On a clear day you can pick out Mt. Sneffels between Ouray and Telluride and Mt. Wilson further to the west. To the east you can see the rock ridge of Crag Crest with the Elk Range around Aspen, Colorado in the background. The Scenic Overlook trail is a loop that adds about a half mile to the distance. If you skip it the total round trip distance for this post would be only 5.5 miles.


The groomed trails make travel easy for the dogs also. I have seen them get their pads cut up and leave a blood trail. Every once in awhile I will see a dog that has a little pair of leather booties on their feet. I think they get those at REI and maybe Pets Mart.


Whether you include the loop out to the Scenic Overlook or not the Loop 4 trail still has the longest round trip distance of all the County Line trails. If you follow Loop 3 on around Scales Lake you can make it even longer. That's not too much distance for cross country skiers but it sure is for someone on snowshoes. Regardless of the type of workout that you want to put together County Line Loop 4 is a very pleasant trail. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.