Cross Country Skiing
(1) Mancos-Chicken Creek Area- right in our back yard- the trails are groomed by volunteers with the Mancos Recreation Committee. 5.6 miles of double track and skate lanes plus 5.1 miles of single track in various loops and spurs offer a variety of choices for all levels of skiers. Detailed maps can be obtained at most Mancos stores. The area offers beautiful views of the Mancos Valley, La Plata Mountains and Mesa Verde National Park. These are currently the only groomed trails in the area. Rating: All levels from novice to advanced.
Check out our blog for current skiing conditions at Chicken Creek:
Directions to Chicken Creek Nordic (see map of Chicken Creek)
Chicken Creek Nordic is located northwest of Mancos, Colorado. From the junction of US highway 160 and Highway 184 in Mancos, travel north on Highway 184 for 2.5 miles to the junction of County Road 40. Turn right (north) on County Road 40 and continue 2.5 miles to the trailhead parking lot.
Enjoy the powder.
Secretary - Friends of Chicken Creek
P.O. Box 111
(2) Railroad Trail- this ski route follows an historic railroad grade which makes the elevation change very gradual. The trail takes you through an Oak Brush plateau, Aspen groves, and eventually to the Cherry Creek turnoff which is marked with the number 2568. This last mile drops 480 feet, finishing your trek with a quick downhill schuss. Rating: Beginner/Intermediate.
Madden Peak Road- this trail has a steady uphill grade for the first 6 miles; the intermediate turnaround point is at the 2nd power-line crossing. The road contines, however, this longer tour has steep grades and is recommended only for advanced and well-conditioned skiers. Rating: Intermediate/Advanced.
(3) Boggy Draw/Norwood Road- lots of gently rolling terrain on trails along unplowed roads, open fields mixed wiht woods. A nice area to take the family. Rating: varying degrees of difficulty.
(4) Mesa Verde National Park- Cliff Palace/Balcony House Road is an easy 6 mile loop that offers view of Cliff Palace, Sun Temple, Balcony House and many other Indian ruins. Mesa Verde offers skiers unique opportunities to combine archaeological education and ski touring. The setting is a Pinion-Juniper forest above sandstone-shale canyons with abundant wildlife. Bring your camera for seldom-captured scenes of the park in winter. Skiing in the park is strictly limited. Get permission from the park ranger's office before you ski by calling 970-529-4461. Rating: Beginner.
(5) Taylor Mesa- The road gradually climbs through a mixture of Evergreen, Aspen and Cottonwood trees 3 1/2 miles to Little Taylor trailhead, on the right. Beginners should turn back at this point. Intermediate/advanced skiiers may continue up Taylor Creek. Rating: Beginner/Intermediate.
(6) Scotch Creek- the historic toll road was used a century ago to freight supplies to the Rico mining district. The trail stays on the left side of the creek for the entire three mile route, passing through the high canyon walls. Turn around when the road crosses the creek. Also investigate Hillside Drive and Roaring Fork Road in the same area of Hwy 145, with many similar features. Rating: Novice/Beginner.
(7) The Meadows- this is a continuation of Forest Road 535 into the meadows area, a sub-alpine meadow on the edge of the Lizard Head Wilderness Area. There is a lot of wide open terrain and deep snow. Side trips can be made up Forest Road leaving one vehicle at Dunton, the other on Hwy 145 just North of the Cayton Campground where 535 meets the Hwy. The last leg of the trip down 535 is a four mile grade that should give you a good final run. Rating: Moderate.
(8) Cross Mountain Trail- the trail starts at the Cross Mountain Trail sign, west of the highway. The sign is not visible from the road. The trail is mostly uphill; watch for a level clearing which is the turnaround point. Beyond this point, avalanche danger increases. Rating: Intermediate/Advanced.
Hesperus- the closest ski area to Mancos, with 80 skiable acres seved by eight lifts. A mere nine miles east of Mancos, Hesperus has some tough advanced runs and offers night skiing and some sledding. Easy runs take up 20 percent, intermediate runs take up 55 percent, and difficult runs take up 24% of the mountain. 800-525-3455
Other downhill ski areas within driving distance from Mancos are:
Durango Mountain Resort (formerly Purgatory)- 800-525-0892
Telluride Ski Resort- 800-525-3455
Wolf Creek Ski Area- 970-264-5629