~ by Bob Volpe ~
Mueller State Park in Divide is one of Colorado’s crown jewels in the state park system. Once the property of the Mueller family, they designated the ranch as a game preserve in the 1980s. Ultimately, the ranch was
purchased by the Nature Conservancy, Colorado State Parks, and Division of Wildlife.
The park is open year round, and in winter it is a great place to cross-country ski, and snowshoe. There are a variety of winter activities available at Mueller State Park, including cross-country skiing and snowshoeing; sledding, tubing and snowboarding on four recommended hills; and 17 electric sites for winter camping.
This year the park has been blessed with some good snow. According to the visitor center, right now is a great time to take advantage of that snow. The visitor’s center told TMJ News that, “Conditions are
pretty good right now for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding, although there are some patchy areas, but most of the trails are still snow covered. Elk Meadows is a good one, and so is Trail
According to their web site, these are some of the trails you can enjoy depending on your skill level:
Beginning snowshoers and skiers: Ski on the road to the Grouse Mountain trailhead. When
you reach the trailhead, ski to the Grouse Mountain turnoff. Return the same way. Round-trip distance = 2.2 miles.
Outlook Ridge: Ski on Trail 7 until it intersects trail 9. Return the same way. If you continue past Trail 9, the trail drops steeply down to trail 25. Round-trip distance = 1.4 miles.
Intermediate Snowshoe and Cross-Country Ski Routes
School Pond – Ski the trail’s #2 loop by following the orange arrows. This trail offers moderate to difficult hills. Round-trip distance ia 1.5 miles.
Lost Pond – To complete the loop, follow the blue arrows. Ski on Trail #11 until it intersects trail 7. Ski trail 7 uphill, to the trail 1 connection that will take you back to the Lost Pond trailhead. Ski the
connection to where you started from. Round-trip distance = 2.4 miles.
Homestead – Ski on Trail 12 until it intersects Trail 26. Turn left on Trail 26 and ski across an open meadow until you reach Geer Pond (Tail 25). Turn left onTraill 25 and ski 0.8 miles to Lost Pond.
Climb steadily uphill on Trail 11 until you reach Trail 1. This is the connection back to Homestead trailhead. Round-trip distance = 3.3 miles.
Elk Meadow – For a shorter route, sk Traill 18 to Trail 19. Follow Trail 19 to the Peak View trailhead. From there, ski the road to the Elk Meadow parking lot. Round-trip distance = 1.8 miles. For a longer,
more challenging route, ski trail 18 to its intersection withTrail 17. Turn left on Trail 17 and ski it back to the Grouse Mountain trailhead. Ski the road back to Elk Meadow parking lot. Round-trip
distance = 4.8 miles.
Advanced Snowshoe and Ski Treks
Cheesman Ranch – Ski on the unplowed road to the Grouse Mountain trailhead. At the Grouse Mountain trailhead, ski the trail 17 loop. Round-trip distance = 7.0 miles.
Ranger Ridge – Ski on Trail 2 until its intersection with Trail 3.
Follow Trail 3, going up and down very steep, difficult hills. While the loop is not very long, it is most definitely challenging. Round-trip distance = 1.9 miles.
Rangers recommend you visit the visitor’s center for maps and information on current snow conditions. You can also call the visitor center at: (719) 687-2366 for current condition