One-way Distance: 2.6km/1.6 miles
Skill level: Expert
Elevation: 10,593 - 10,723 feet
Cellphone: 0-2 bars
Time: 45 mins.
Attractions: Hills/sharp turns
The Summit trail is located in the Skyway Nordic Trail System of the Grand Mesa National Forest near Grand Junction, Colorado. Ranked as an expert level trail it stretches for 2.6k/1.6m paralleling the upper rim of the Grand Mesa. This post follows the trail in the north to south direction from where it departs off of the Sunset trail to where it ends at its junction with the Vista Valley and Vista Ridge trails.
This post begins at the north end of the Summit trail where it departs from the Sunset trail. Note the yellow warning sign which recommends that only expert level cross country skiers use the trail.
While Summit is a groomed trail don't expect it to be one of the first trails taken care of after a fresh snowfall. On the day of this post the trail had previously been groomed by one of the snowmobiles pulling a compactor. There weren't any classic tracks but we can't say whether that is the norm or not.
As the trails starts out it is fairly level.
A few small swells come up before getting to any of the longer hills like this one.
There is a steep uphill section as the trail passes by Summit Reservoir Number 1.
This is another one of the steeper uphill stretches.
Right around the halfway point the trail turns more toward the south as it skirts around a rocky point of the mesa. The elevation through this area is over 10,700 feet.
The trail mellows out quite a bit as it winds its way through the trees with a few easy swells to keep it fun.
A nice long drop brings the trail down into the Vista Valley.
The Summit trail comes to an end at its junction with the Vista Loop at the point where it is transitioning from the Vista Valley to the Vista Ridge. A little confession is probably in order here. I had only been cross country skiing for about 1 month before doing the Summit trail so I don't have the experience to judge the trails expert rating. I have skied all of the trails in the County Line and Skyway systems at least once during that time and I was able to ski all parts of the Summit trail without any trouble and without taking any spills. Everything that I know about skiing came from watching lots of youtube videos and then practicing on my own. What I can tell you about the Summit trail is that it is a real hoot. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your gear and 'Take a hike'.