Location: Bonfils Station Outdoor Center in Winter Park
Elevation: 9,220-10,383 feet
Distance: 5.3 miles roundtrip
January 30, 2016
On a snowy Saturday morning, I headed up to Winter Park. The 1.5 hour drive took 2.5 hours due to heavy ski traffic given the forecast of good snow.
I met some friends at the Bonfils Station Outdoor Center. Our group of eight started out on the Challenger trail that led to Jim Creek Trail.
Soon we reached Jim Creek trail where we shoed beneath a light snow and through a snow-covered evergreen forest. When the wind blew, snow tumbled off the tree branches.
The trail was quite beautiful and for being so close to a ski area, we hardly saw a soul. The first half of the path was packed enough that spikes were all that we needed. I had my snowshoes on the back of my pack, and one hooked onto a tree! Erin saved it.
Soon, however, we needed snowshoes. At this point, three in our group turned around as the ascent steepened and the snow deepened. Eventually, there wasn’t much of a trail to follow. We only saw a skier’s backcountry tracks. We followed these tracks as Joshua basically broke trail.
We switch-backed through the trees to the extent we weren’t sure if we would get to anything interesting. At this point, Brian stopped for a breather. The final four continued a little farther to arrive at a picturesque opening with a view of surrounding snow-capped mountains.
The skier’s trail continued through some more trees to another opening where we finally stopped as in front of us was a little more forest and an impending mountain. Joshua wanted to shoe up over the pass and hitch-hike back. The rest of us emphatically said, “NO”.
On our way back, we met up with Brian who had continued up after his breather. We shoed back on the Challenger Trail which connects to the Discovery Trail to create a loop to the parking lot. We worked up an appetite as we unknowingly shoed farther than the 5.3 out and back trail. No wonder it took so long. We ended the day filling our bellies at Ditch. Fun! ETB