County Line Dog Loop

Round Trip Distance: 3.2k/2 miles
Difficulty: Easy
XC Skill level:
Elevation: 10,755 - 10,877 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: County Line
Fee: none
Attractions: Groomed trail

The Dog Loop is located at the County Line Nordic Area on top of the Grand Mesa. The trailhead is located where the Delta/Mesa county line crosses Highway 65. The Dog Loop and the Dog Trail are groomed Nordic trails where dog owners can have the company of their pet while enjoying a little snowshoeing or skiing. While it is perfectly fine to let your dog run free they still need to be under your control.

The County Line Nordic trails are groomed and maintained by the Grand Mesa Nordic Council. You can support their gallant effort by making a donation at the trailhead or on their website. If you are snowshoeing you will want to use the section of the trail opposite the classic tracks that are groomed into the side of the trail. The center of the trail is the skate lane and when it is in good condition I generally keep off of it also. At times there will be classic tracks groomed into both sides of the trail. Have fun figuring that one out. If it is snowing, or if it has been awhile since the trail has been groomed, then I still avoid the classic tracks but I don't worry much about anything else.

There are usually trail maps at the trailhead kiosk if you aren't familiar with the layout. To get to the Dog Loop follow the signs for Loop 1 and stay to the left at each junction. After about the second or third branch you should be seeing blue diamond signs for the Dog Loop.

The Dog Loop parallels Highway 65 as it heads away from the trailhead.

After about 1 mile the trail begins gradually looping back. The trail crosses a few open areas that leave you fully exposed on windy days. On days like this though the air was perfectly calm and the trail was in excellent condition. You can get an daily grooming and weather reports on the GMNC website. They also have links to the weather stations on the mesa if you want to check out the conditions  before you head up. I also like to check www.wunderground.com.

After covering a little more than a mile the trail has looped back to the Dog Loop Cutoff trail. The distance back to the trailhead is the same whether you take the cutoff trail or continue to the junction where the trail meets the Dog Trail. For this outing I turned right at the Dog Trail and followed the signs for Loop 1 back to the trailhead.

I was surprised that on such a perfect day there were only 2 other vehicles at the trailhead. I have seen times when all the parking spots were taken. There are enough miles of trail that even when the parking lot is full you can do an entire loop without seeing anyone else. The County Line trails are a great place to do a little snowshoeing or cross country skiing and if you want to bring Fido along you can check out the Dog Loop. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.