Round Trip Distance: 2.6 miles - 4.2 k
Difficulty: Moderate
XC Skill level:
Elevation: 10,602-10,706 feet
Cellphone: 0-2 bars
Time: 1 hr. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Skyway Nordic Area
Fee: none
Attractions: Groomed trail

After snowshoeing around Lions Loop I felt a need for a little more activity. After all the sun was shining and it had warmed up to 11F. The Sunset trail is the northern most trail at the Skyway trail system. The Sunset trail doesn't form a loop so you have your choice whether to come back on the Lion's Loop or the Winslow trail. I had already made the Lion's Loop earlier so this time I was going to take the Winslow trail to get back to the trailhead.

When I left the trailhead I took the first left fork I came to and checked out the Practice Loop. This was a well groomed trail without any big hills. It looked like a nice place that was close to the trailhead, secluded in the trees, and well suited for its purpose. After completing the loop I continued up the Sunset trail.

A short distance up the trail I ventured over to the scenic overlook. It doesn't look like much in the picture but there was a good view of the area above Powderhorn and the Mesa Lakes.

After returning to the main trail I followed it as it meandered through the canyon of trees with the occasional open space. The Sunset trail was well sheltered from the cold breezes that I ran into in the open spaces of the Lion's Loop.

Here is a Downy Woodpecker excavating a fir tree for a meal. From the looks of the bark this tree must be one of the woodpeckers favorite places to dine. Even in this frigid weather wildlife can be spotted thriving amongst the snow.

The Winslow trail was very pleasant as I followed it back towards the trailhead. I was surprised at how close it was to the Sunset trail. In places I could look down and see and hear other people on the Sunset trail that appeared to be only about a 100 feet away..

I managed to spend an hour and a half on this 2.6 mile trek. You can probably tell from looking at the following slideshow that I spent a lot of time goofing off. I shot the picture of the eagle above as I was driving down the mountain.

The Skyway is a great place to enjoy some well groomed Nordic trails on the Grand Mesa. They have a donation box at the trailhead where you can show your appreciation by giving a few dollars to help them keep up the excellent work they doing. If you have never been to the area before you may want to get one of the maps and read the 'Things to Remember' section before you set out.