Vista Ridge

Round Trip Distance: 2.7k/1.7 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 10,696 - 10,822 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Skyway Nordic Area
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic ridge

The Vista Ridge trail is part of the Skyway Nordic Area in the Grand Mesa National Forest near Grand Junction, Colorado. The trail connects the Lions Loop with the Kannah Crossing and Vista Valley trails. The trail is frequently combined with the Vista Valley trail to form the Vista Loop.

For this post we are beginning at the top of the Vista Ridge trail where it connects to the Kannah Crossing trail. On this trip we reached this point after completing the Summit trail. There is a memorable uphill climb between the intersection of the Summit and Vista Valley trails if you are coming from that direction. It is probably even more memorable if you are faced with going down it.

Going in this direction the Vista Ridge trail has a downhill trend to it.

The sections of trail where there are climbs are very gradual.

Vista Ridge cuts a wide swath through the trees along a route that is groomed with a set of classic tracks on one side and a skate lane in the middle. Snowshoers should travel along the side of the trail that is opposite the set of classic tracks. We were the first to ski the trail on this day so we had the privilege of making the first tracks.

The towering trees that border the trail cast shadows that keep much of the route in the shade even on a clear day.

Conditions were pristine on this day.

It is interesting that you can have only 3 basic colors made up of the snow, trees and sky and still be presented with a continually changing ribbon of beauty as you course your way through the forest.

Vista Ridge comes to an end when it meets up with the Lions Loop. Going to the left at this point leads almost directly back to the trailhead which is right at 1 mile away in that direction. Going to the right the trailhead is closer to 1.2 miles away. Will's Hill and the Arroyo trail are other options that don't change the overall distance all that much. Will's Hill is just under a quarter mile to the right and the Arroyo trail is just under a third of a mile. As far as the Vista Ridge trail goes under conditions like we experienced on this day it is sublime. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.