Round Trip Distance: 3.6k/2.2 miles
Skill level: Beginner-Intermediate
Elevation: 10,795 - 10,824 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: County Line
Attractions: Fun alternate route
Scales Glade is part of the County Line Nordic Trail System in the Grand Mesa National Forest near Grand Junction, Colorado. The short 1.2k/0.7mile trail segment is part of the longer 6.5k/4 mile Loop 3 route but for this post it is being combined with Tower Road to create a 3.6k/2.2 mile loop that stays closer to the County Line trailhead.
The County Line trailhead gets its name from its location where Highway 65 crosses the Delta/Mesa county line on the Grand Mesa.
As you leave the trailhead there is a 3-way split where the Dog Loop takes the left fork, the trail to the Overlook takes the right fork and Tower Road takes the middle fork. For this post we are taking the middle fork and following Tower Road.
Tower Road begins by descending a small hill where it then begins leveling off.
About 0.3k from the trailhead it is reconnected to by the Dog Loop.
Just past the Dog Loop we begin the loop for Scales Glade where the Loop 1 trail connects to Tower Road from the right.
This portion of Tower Road is mostly flat and goes by pretty quick on the freshly groomed trail.
Parts of the road travel out in the open where whiteout conditions can occur on a windy day.
The next intersection to come up is where the top of Scales Glade branches off on the right around the 1.5k point from the trailhead.
Scales Glade parallels Tower Road somewhat as it heads south back towards the trailhead.
The Scales Glade trail is more protected from the elements than Tower Road as it winds its way back through the forest.
With a handful of little swells the trail is not as level as was the Tower Road section.
At the 2.7k point from the trailhead the Scales Glade trail comes to an end where it meets Loop 2. For this post we are taking the right fork.
The next fork comes up at the 3.0k point where Loop 1 and Loop 2 meet. The slightly shorter route would be to the left but for this post we are staying to the right to get back over to Tower Road.
At the 3.3k point the loop comes to an end and it is only another 0.3k back to the trailhead. The outing could be extended by jumping off on the Dog Loop. The short loop will add 1.3k to the total distance and the full loop will add about 2.6k.
We had started early for this post and made it back to the trailhead before the crowds had shown up. We were also the first ones on the trail after the groomers had passed through not that that is any big deal. The trail grooming is paid for by donations which can be made online at gmnc.org or at the donation boxes at the trailheads. Scales Glade is a good option to consider at the County Line area. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your skis and 'Take a hike'.