Hike of the Week: McKenzie Gulch in Eagle is perfect for early, late season | VailDaily.com

Hike of the Week: McKenzie Gulch in Eagle is perfect for early, late season

Peter Suneson
Hike of the Week

Editor's note: This story originally ran in the Vail Daily Weekly.

Trail name: McKenzie Gulch.

Mileage: Just under 3 miles to Powerline Road.

Subjective rating: Moderate. Few inclines to climb roughly 1,700 feet of elevation.

What to expect

The trailhead for McKenzie Gulch is off of West Brush Creek Road, toward Sylvan Lake State Park. Look for a turnout on the left a few miles after the fork in Brush Creek Road for parking, and the trailhead is on the right side of the road.

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The trail begins winding through a diverse stand of aspen trees, ranging from saplings to patriarchs of the forest. As you pass through the wildlife fences, please remember to close them behind you as this area sees lots of grazing during the summer.

Once you reach the top and exit through another wildlife fence you'll find remnants of hunters' camps along Powerline Road. These make great lunch stops or continue along the road southwest to find an overlook of Sylvan Lake.

This is a favorite early or late season hike as the Eagle area tends to stay warmer longer and loses its snow earlier. The drive to the trailhead is another great opportunity for wildlife viewing as beavers, moose and elk all call the Brush Creek drainage home.

Stewardship Message

This is the last weekly hike from Walking Mountains for the season. Coming this winter will be our take on the best snowshoeing trails in the area and tips for making winter recreation more inspiring. For now, please be courteous of other trail users, remember to hike on sustainable and durable surfaces (no muddy footprints) and give wildlife their space to raise their young in our amazing local forests.