Hike of the Week: Hit East Lake Creek for options to hike deep into the Holy Cross Wilderness, or for a half-day hike | VailDaily.com

Hike of the Week: Hit East Lake Creek for options to hike deep into the Holy Cross Wilderness, or for a half-day hike

Walking Mountains
Special to the Daily
New York Mountain peaks through the aspens on East Lake Creek Trail last December. This trail is a great hike to see aspens in a short hike.
Chris Dillmann | cdillmann@vaildaily.com

East Lake Creek out of Edwards is an easy to moderate trail with aspen groves and options to take it easy or push yourself.

Getting there

Take Lake Creek Road out of Edwards. When the road splits take the right fork, West Lake Creek Road, following the signs to the East and West Lake Creek Trailheads. Proceed past the hairpin turn that also serves as the trailhead for the West Lake Creek trail and park in the small parking lot on the left side of the road.

What to expect

The East Lake Creek trail travels deep into the heart of the Holy Cross Wilderness. In its entirety, the trail takes you 12 miles up the E. Lake Creek valley to Upper Camp Lake. However, a great half-day option is to hike just under 3 miles to where the trail meets the creek, for a 6-mile round-trip hike.

The first 2 miles of the trail are different from most trails in the Vail area, in that it is more rolling in nature. However, don’t let this deceptively challenging trail fool you. The short climbs add up, and you have just as much elevation to gain on the return trip. The first climb out of the parking area pass through one of the larger aspen clones in the valley.

The trail passes a junction with the Dead Dog trail – another challenging option – and climbs and descends through a few small drainages. It passes through stands of spruce, fir, and pine.

After about 1.5 miles, the trail begins a steep descent into the E. Lake Creek. Just past the wilderness boundary, the forest opens up and you will find a beautiful meadow with a large boulder, and views up the valley. This makes a nice destination, or continue another quarter mile to the bridge over the creek.

Walking Mountains Hiking Programs

Join the Walking Mountains Hiking Club for a full day hike on Tuesdays or Thursdays ($80 for the day, $500 for the season), or come along for one of our free community hikes. Our free community hikes this week are an adopt-a-trail workday on Friday, July 10 and Monday, July 13 for an alpine wildflowers hike on Shrine Ridge.

Weekly Schedule:

Thursday July 9: Walking Mountains’ Club Hike to Notch Mountain

Friday July 10: Adopt-A-Trail Work Party @ Avon Overlook Trail

Monday July 13: Backyard Backcountry: Alpine Wildflowers Half Day Hike

Tuesday July 14: Walking Mountains’ Club Hike to Iron Edge

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