- Mileage: approximately 4.3 miles
- Altitude: 8,202 feet at mountain base, 9,202 feet at mountain summit.
- Elevation Gain: Unknown
- To Get There: From Denver, take Interstate 70 West toward Grand Junction. Take exit 232 toward U.S. 40 E/ Empire/ Granby. Turn right at Village Road for Sol Vista Ski Area/ Granby Ranch. Park at Base Camp Lodge.
Today, our hike has no real destination and is anything but epic, like hiking sometimes can be. But we are excited because it is kind of a ‘welcome home’ hike. Last week Alex got hired to teach 7th grade science at East Grand Middle School in Granby, so we will be moving to Granby in August! Granby isn’t necessarily the cutest or trendiest mountain town. But, nonetheless, it’s a mountain town and we are excited. We wanted to come up and do a hike in our new neighborhood and Sol Vista ski area seemed easy enough to organize.
It’s a quiet day at Sol Vista, except for the sounds of a Tae Kwan Do expo. We
ride the chairlift to the top of the small mountain and head out on the Vista Ridge trail there. After the first few steps, we come to a ledge that has sweeping views of Indian Peaks Wilderness- craggy and mysterious at the south end of Rocky Mountain National Park- and of distant mountains to the southeast that we don’t yet know. The trail proceeds through Lodgepole pines and aspens. With a name like ‘Vista Ridge’ I thought we would have more mountain views on this trail, but they are quickly obscured by the forest. Rocky Mountain Pine Beetle kill is obvious; forests that were once thick are now frail. Hiking is one of my favorite times to brainstorm the various oddities of early adulthood, and Alex and I are doing just that as we walk along. So, it’s okay that we don’t have views or a destination or any big physical challenges on this hike.
We reach the end of the end of the Vista Ridge trail and take a right. We soon come to a three-pronged fork in the trail and stick to the right. We know we need to head back that direction to end up where we started. We had a footpath map and knew which trails we needed to take, but after Cabin Trail, nothing was marked so we just kept heading in the right direction. We took one of two routes: Cabin Trail to Rabbit Run to Yang to Low Road to Nature’s Way or Wades World to Ying to Yang to Low Road to Nature’s Way.
It was an easy two hours of hiking and chatting, and then we were off to search for apartments.