Most outdoor enthusiasts have their go-to trail. The one that they ride/glide/run/walk where they don’t have to think about where they’re going. They can get lost in the woods, without actually getting lost and visiting the trail is akin to a comforting visit with an old, trusted friend. For me, that trail is Blue Sky in Winter Park.
Blue Sky is a trail that can be whatever you want it to be depending on your mood. Whether you’re looking for a quick cardio blast or a slow thoughtful stroll, this trail is enjoyable for both seasoned cross country skiers and those with just a little experience. The trail begins with a rolling incline, with some decently steep parts that will get your heart rate up. You will climb roughly 2 miles, before you are rewarded with a fun downhill that will deliver you right back to your car.
Here’s how you get to Blue Sky:
Traveling North from the Winter Park Ski Area, turn left at Winter Park Station on to Vasquez Road. Follow Vasquez Road about 1 mile. Take a left on Arapaho Road. Follow Arapaho road until it dead ends. This is where you will park and put on your equipment. Make sure to be courteous of other people using the parking area and of the homes located at the end of this road.
Travel about 50 yards until you come to two large rocks with a trail sign on your right – follow this trail. See photos 1 & 2. The trail sign reads “Twin Bridges Trail and Vasquez Rd”. You will be on Twin Bridges Trail for just a quick trip over a bridge until you come to a “T”. To access Blue Sky Trail, veer left. NOTE: If you were to take a right at the “T” (Twin Bridges) you’d climb a 1/2 mile to Vasquez Rd. Alternatively, you can park on Vasquez Rd and take Twin Bridges on a fun 1/2 mile downhill until you join up with Blue Sky.
You will climb up Blue Sky until you come to a Forest Service Road. Take a left. Note: If you were to turn right here, you would eventually hook up to some fun trails like D2, WTB, Sunset Pink and so many more.
Once you get to the top of the Forest Service Road, look to your left and just breathe it all in because you are on top of the world….and you just finished an awesome two mile climb and your reward is just ahead of you.
For your trip back down, you have two routes to choose from.
- Chickadee (Photo #4) is a really fun downhill trail you’ll find on your left about 100 yards from the top of the Forest Service Road. Chickadee will eventually bring you to a T, which is Little Vasquez, take a left and head back to where you started. The roundtrip equals roughly 3.2 miles. Chickadee is great with some fresh, heavy powder to slow you down on some of the tighter turns, but without fresh snow, it can get fast and icy.
- Little Vasquez – Stroll on past Chickadee trail on the Forest Service Road, which will continue downhill, until you come to a 4 way cross. Take a left, which will put you on Little Vasquez (there is no trail sign here, so you will just have to trust me)! Little Vasquez is a wider, less steep route back to the car and adds on about a 1/2 mile, bringing your total trip to about 3.8 miles.
NOTE: Be warned that further into the season the trail can get a little chewed up from snowmobile tracks.
I hope you find the time to enjoy my favorite trail in Winter Park!