The first groomed rec path between Breckenridge and Frisco will soon become a reality

The Recreation Path, buried in snow, seen in Frisco Tuesday, Feb. 6. For the first time, the recreation path between Frisco and Breckenridge will be groomed during the winter, allowing multi-purpose travel between the town’s Nordic centers.
Hugh Carey / |

For the first time, the recreation path between Frisco and Breckenridge will be groomed during the winter to allow walking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, biking and other non-motorized recreational uses between the towns.

The grooming effort is the result of collaboration between Summit County, the United States Forest Service and the towns of Breckenridge and Frisco. The path effectively connects the towns as well as the Gold Run Nordic Center in Breckenridge to the Frisco Nordic Center.

The towns will each handle half of the grooming along the 8-mile stretch of pathway. The path will be groomed twice a week from November to April, depending on weather and equipment availability at the Nordic centers.

Grooming will include track-setting for classic Nordic skiers, as well as laying corduroy for skate skiers, cyclists and other non-motorized users. While the groomed portion of the path is free to use, trail passes are still needed for the Nordic centers.

Summit Open Space & Trails director Brian Lorch said that clearing the path between Breck and Frisco for winter use has been a long time coming.

“There’s been talk about clearing the path for over a decade,” Lorch said. “With the expanding interest in fat bikes and more people walking in the snow, we thought it’d be a really good opportunity to work with USFS and towns to get something everybody can use for-non motorized purposes.”

County Commissioner Dan Gibbs said in a press release that he was pleased with the new trail connection and believes it will be great for the county.

“Winter recreation is a huge part of the soul of Summit County,” Gibbs said in the release. “Between Nordic skiers, fat bikers, runners and walkers, the public is really going to enjoy having this section of the Recpath groomed all winter, and we could not have done it without this partnership.”

Michael Wurzel, a resource specialist for Open Space and Trails, said there were several challenges to overcome before the path could be groomed.

“Most of the land the path is on is owned by the federal government and managed by the Forest Service,” Wurzel said. “So we had to get the proper permitting from USFS and undergo an environment review for approval.”

The environment review found no significant environmental impact from grooming and winter use of the path, and approval was granted in January. Another challenge to opening the path was building large enough highway overpasses able to accommodate passage of grooming equipment underneath.

An event will take place Thursday, Feb. 8, at 4 p.m. to commemorate the new winter trail connection. The public is invited to join officials from the four partner organizations in Breckenridge and Frisco as they travel the path from each end and meet in the middle near Dillon Reservoir at 4:30.

The town of Frisco and Summit County will begin their journey from the new Dickey Day Use parking lot at Frisco Adventure Park, while Breckenridge will start from the Gold Hill trailhead parking lot. Once the groups meet in the middle, officials will make brief remarks and the communities will make a ceremonial exchange of iconic items.

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