Rating: More Difficult Riding Time: 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 hours
Length: 7 miles Notes: Watch for oncoming traffic on Blue Sky Trail.
It is best to begin this loop from Winter Park. Ride up Vasquez Road, cross the railroad tracks and continue ¼ mile to Arapaho Road. Turn left onto Arapaho Road and continue to the end of the pavement. This is the National Forest boundary and the beginning of the Little Vasquez Trail.
Ride Little Vasquez Trail 200 yards to the intersection of Blue Sky Trail. Take a right on Blue Sky, cross the bridge, and proceed past Twin Bridges Trail. Gradually wind uphill over a rocky section. The trail ends at an intersection with a Denver Water Board road. At this point two options to access County Road 159 and continue the loop.
Option 1.) This is the more conservative and driest route. Ride straight ahead to a “T.” Turn right, cross over the creek, then turn again at the next intersection (Big Vasquez Road). Continue down the road several hundred yards and turn left on County Road 159.
Option 2. ) Take the right fork., Vasquez Ford, and follow the road down to creek crossing. Ride through this creek, (this is not advisable in early season as water may be up to three feet deep!) and continue to the next intersection (Big Vasquez Road). Turn left and ride uphill to the intersection with County Road 159. Turn right.
Ride up County Road 159. After a hearty climb, the road levels off. Look for D4. Turn right on D4. This is an exciting descent with winding curves and many rocks. The trail bounces you back onto Big Vasquez Road. Turn left here and follow this road back toward the town of Winter Park.
As you approach the National Forest boundary, Twin Bridges Trail descends to the right. Turn right and go downhill through several steep sections. Follow the trail around for a gradual climb. When you reach the hill crest, turn left and cross the bridge over Big Vasquez Creek. You are back at the beginning of the Blue Sky Trail. Turn left and finish the ride – a nice downhill back to your vehicle or town.
Rating: Easiest Length: 6 miles Riding Time: 1-1/2 to 2 hours
Notes: Great ride for novices. A mixture of backcountry roads, jeep trails, and single-track.
To access this loop from Winter Park, ride west along the Fraser River Trail to the town of Fraser. From Fraser, head west at the traffic light on Elk Creek Road which runs behind the Safeway Center. Go about ¼ mile, turn right after passing the railroad tracks. Follow this road to County 73. Cross Country Road 73 and look for the entrance to the Givelo Trail which runs parallel to the road. Turn left and follow the Givelo Trail as it climbs gradually alongside the road for about 2 miles. Look for the Northwest Passage trail on your right, just before the cattle guard and Fraser Experimental Forest sign. Turn right.
Northwest Passage is a mostly flat trail that varies from single-track to jeep trail winding through a Lodgepole pine forest. This trail ends at the softball fields. Continue straight ahead, past the fields, down the access road and out onto County Road 50. Turn right and follow it east back towards town; it will eventually turn into pavement. After approximately 1 ½ miles the road takes a sharp turn to the left; ahead of you is the lumber yard. You turn right onto a dirt road marked County Road 731. Stay on this road for 1 mile. You will pass the rodeo arena on right. Follow this road around to the front of the rodeo arena you come to the Givelo Trail and County Road 73. Turn left d follow this trail back into Fraser.
Rating: Most Difficult Riding Time: 2-1/2 to 4 hours
Length: 17 miles Notes: Many dive-off points for shorter loops.
This trail is one of the more popular rides in the valley, offering a variety of terrain, from paved and dirt roads to single and double-track trails. In Fraser, head west at the traffic light on Elk Creek Road which runs behind the Safeway Center. Go about ¼ mile, turn right after passing under the railroad tracks. Follow this road around to County Road 73. Cross County Road 73 and look for the entrance to the Givelo Trail which runs parallel to the road. Turn left and follow the Givelo Trail as it climbs gradually alongside the road for about 2 miles. Look for the Northwest Passage trail on your right, just before the cattle guard and Fraser Experimental Forest sign on the road. Turn right.
Follow Northwest Passage until you reach the softball fields. Follow the access road alongside the fields to County Road 50. Turn left and ride approximately 3 miles to the Tipperary Creek trailhead, (Just past the second cattle guard). Turn left and begin the climb up the Tipperary Creek Trail. Pace yourself – it’s a long and steady climb.
You’ll encounter the first of two stream crossings in about ½ mile. Cross the creek and proceed uphill. The second crossing is about 1 ½ miles further. The trail begins to level out for a short distance before reaching the top of Morse Pass. The downhill section is fast and furious. Be prepared for serious eye-watering speed and fun. This is definitely not a novice ride…Hang on for life!
At the bottom of the pass is St. Louis Creek Road. Turn right then immediately turn left onto County Road 159. Cross over the creek and continue up the road ½ mile to the Flume Trail on your left. Follow this route through lodgepole pine forests and rolling meadows. Be sure to notice the remains of the old water flume that loggers used to transport wood to Fraser in the early 1900’s. Take time to stop and enjoy the view of Byers Peak from the lookout point, complete with a bench for relaxing.
About 1/4 mile past the lookout point, a trail leads off to the left and over a bridge. This can be used as a bailout St. Louis Creek Campground then back to Fraser on County Road 73. To continue with the loop, go straight past the turnoff. The trail -now becomes Chainsaw Trail. Follow the trail around a pond (Great for moose watching) and prepare for a tough climb. At the thinned out timber, make a right turn on the double-track trail. This trail intersects with the Zoom Trail, but stay left and follow Chainsaw out to Elk Creek Road. Turn left and follow the road back into Fraser.
If you’d like to continue further, turn right instead of left on Elk Creek Road. Continue up the road for about 1OO yards. Elk Meadow Trail is on your left. Please reference the Elk Meadow Loop description.
Rating: Difficult Riding Time: 1 ½ to 3 hours
Length: 12 miles Notes: Offers a’ mixture of dirt roads and single-track.
In Fraser, head West at the traffic light and continue under the, railroad tracks. Take the first right. Follow this route to County Road 73. Turn left. This is a dirt road with a gradual climb. Go approximately 2 ½ miles to the St. Louis Creek Campground. Follow the road down towards the campground. Just before you pass a gate, turn right onto a single track trail. This is the beginning of Creekside Trail, which gently follows the bank of St. Louis Creek. The trail eventually crosses an irrigation ditch and then winds around on several paths until it meets County Road 159.
Turn left and follow County Road 159 over a bridge and up a gradual hill. At top of hill take a right and follow King Creek Road for about 2 ½ miles until it meets up with County Road 159
Continue straight for about 1/2 mile. Turn left onto Zoom Trail. This single track trail winds down for just over 1 ½ miles. You’ll come to a “T”, turn right and follow the rest of the Chainsaw Trail down to Elk Creek Road. Turn left and continue downhill to Fraser.