Hike of the Week: Take a quick outdoor adventure at the Miller Ranch open space | VailDaily.com

Hike of the Week: Take a quick outdoor adventure at the Miller Ranch open space

Walking Mountains
Hike of the Week
Miller Ranch Open Space is also is a popular spot to walk dogs.
Chris Dillmann | cdillmann@vaildaily.com

With the past few weeks of cold days and storm after storm hitting our valley, it doesn’t take too much effort to find a winter wonderland. During these colder weather patterns, many lower-elevation trails right in our backyard fill in with snow and become great places for a quick outing. If you’re looking to try out snowshoeing for the first time or get a breath of fresh air on a lunch break, one of the best places is the Miller Ranch open space.

Park at June Creek Elementary (or Mountain Recreation — and follow the train tracks — if school is in session) and head toward the Eagle River, across the train tracks adjacent to Edwards’ blue bridge.

The Miller Ranch Open Space is a 32-acre parcel, that Eagle County owns and the Eagle Valley Land Trust permanently holds in a conservation easement. This means trail system as well as the incredible beaver, heron and deer habitat will remain in a similarly natural state forever.

The trail starts out on a narrow easement between the Eagle River and the old train tracks. From there, it opens up into the first of two meadows, the first dominated by sage and the second by encroaching aspen stands. Closer to the river, hikers and snowshoers will see a larger variety of broad-leaved trees — think cottonwoods — and evidence of muskrat, beaver and even the occasional bald eagle.

The trail system dead ends at private property belonging to the Arrowhead golf course.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Please respect the private property and turn around at the fencing. Toward the end of the trails, hikers and snowshoers will pass by remnants of the railroad drainage systems that carried water from the northern hillsides into the Eagle River. The trails here are usually well-packed, so your choice of traction — be it micro spikes, Yaktrax or snowshoes, should all work well on these trails.

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