What better way to celebrate the New Year than a peaceful cross country ski in Ouray County?
Top of The Pines is exactly what the name implies. Dramatic views of the mountains surround the tracks, with gentle hills and seemingly endless fields of snow.
The trail from the main parking area provides just the right amount of gentle tracks as you get a feel for the snow conditions, eventually leading to a gentle slope which flattens out into a meadow with unbelievable views, before gently climbing back into the forest, and up to the Pavilion, which quietly sits in the woods, inviting one to plan an event in this spectacular spot.
Trails continue to loop gently to the left, or for those more daring, a two mile loop to the right, which follows a more technical trail, eventually looping back into the meadow.
Maintained by a tax-exempt, non-profit organization, vested by Ouray County to oversee the facility and trails, the mission statement of Top of The Pines, Inc. is: "to provide a majestic and natural setting that offers individuals, families, public and private groups or organizations a regional educational facility with rustic outdoor recreational opportunities, while preserving the land for open space and wildlife habitat."
There is a donation box at the parking facilities and track entrances, all of which helps toward maintaining the trails and area. Season passes are available by calling 970-626-9788. $50 individual/$90 family donation, and are tax deductible.
To get to Top of The PInes, it is a good idea to have either an all wheel drive or four wheel drive vehicle, as the road can be icy and snow packed. From Highway 62 in Ridgway, travel south on Amelia Street 3/10 of a mile, then turn right onto County Road 5. Follow for about 4 1/2 miles, to Highland Drive. Turn right, and follow to the trail head and parking areas.
After enjoying a spectacular ski, why not check out one of the many great restaurants in Ridgway before heading back to the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs for a relaxing soak in our all natural mineral hot spring tubs?
The perfect way to enjoy a day in Ouray County is right outside your door!