Saturday, January 5, 2013

Robert's Tunnel Road Snowshoe

Distance: 3 miles round trip
Elevation: 9,129 ft - 9,100 ft
Elevation Gain: 29 ft
Dogs: On leash
Bathroom at Trailhead: No
Date snowshoed: 25 December 2012

View of Buffalo Mountain and Lake Dillon from the Robert's Tunnel Road.  The pictures in this post were taken with my iPhone camera.
Near the Dillon Nature Preserve and the Keystone Ski Resort is a snowshoe/ski route that travels along the Frisco-to-Keystone bike path before splitting off onto the Robert's Tunnel Road (see image at end of post). This route is very level, great for cross-country skiing or walking and affords lovely views of Lake Dillon, Buffalo Mountain, and Peak One of the Tenmile Range.

The parking lot for this route is located across from the Dillon Cemetery and usually has a few cars in it, so it is hard to miss.

Looking back on the snowy route and the two skiers that passed us.   In late afternoon, most of this route is in the shade.
Directly across from the parking lot is a tall ridge that becomes a locals tubing resort in the winter.  There must have been 10 kids or so sliding down the slick hillside screeching with glee. Given the expense of some of the tubing facilities at the various nordic centers in the area, I am sure the parents were screeching with glee as well.  Nothing like free winter fun.

The first quarter mile of this route is on the bike path that was unfortunately plowed. Since we had on snowshoes, we ended up walking to the sides where the plow had created a small berm. Once through the gate to Robert's Tunnel Road, the route was unplowed and had about six inches of fresh power on it.  I was able to break trail the entire time, which is always fun when there is no elevation gain to get the heart rate going.

Looking northeast along the route across Dillon Bay
At around 0.8 miles is the entrance to the Dillon Nature Preserve itself. This is an open meadow leading to more naturalistic trails. Since our time was limited, we stayed on the road but it was tempting to head up hill just for the fun of it.

Our goal was the Robert's Tunnel Complex, which is rather obvious at the end of the road. The sun was setting and the wind was picking up, however, so we turned around a little early and got back to the car just as the temperatures were approaching zero. It has been a nippy holiday season so far in Summit County. Not as cold as our eye ball freezing excursion to North Tenmile Creek two years ago, but cold enough to warrant coats for the dogs and hand warmers for the humans.

The Gore Range comes into view
Next time I do this route, I think I will just wear boots.  Plenty of folks were out walking their dogs along the road and I am sure on a normal day it will be well tracked.

Satellite View of the route showing the location of the cemetery and parking lot


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