Snowshoe of the Week: Buck Creek Trail yields an accessible hike out of Avon
Snowshoe of the Week
Snowshoeing is one of winter’s greatest and most popular activities in the Vail Valley each winter, and could prove to be a great alternative option when reservations at Vail and Beaver Creek have all filled up. Walking Mountains Science Center is sharing weekly snowshoe trails this winter. This week, we focus on the Buck Creek Trail.
The Buck Creek Trail starts right in Avon, and is a great quick hike easily accessed from town, This trail quickly climbs above Avon with beautiful views of the valley and Beaver Creek ski area. The full Buck Creek Trail climbs 3.5 miles, and 3,000 feet up to the Red & White Mountain Road, however this hike is best as a short to moderate outing and you will be rewarded by great views within a mile.
To get to the US Forest Service Trailhead, drive to the north side of the highway and turn onto Buck Creek Road, next to Colorado Mountain Medical. Drive up Buck Creek Road half a mile, and turn down a dirt driveway to a small parking area on your right.
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Alternatively, you can hike the Buck Creek trail from Walking Mountain Science Center’s Avon campus. Park in the upper parking lot and head up the trail from the north side of the parking area, and make sure to stop in to the Visitor’s Center after your hike.
What to Expect
From the US Forest Service Trailhead, the trail immediately crosses Buck Creek. There is a rock in the creek that makes easy crossing in the summer, however it can be icy in the winter so be careful here.
Continuing up from the first creek crossing, the trail contours above a steep ravine and then crosses under the highway. After crossing underneath the highway you come to a second creek crossing. There are many well-placed rocks for crossing, and a log that makes for secure crossing — but beware of ice here as well.
After this second crossing, you are done with creek crossings and the trail climbs steeply into open sage brush & shrub meadows. From here, another half-mile or so takes you to an open meadow with stunning views. This is a great destination, or you can continue as far up the creek valley as you would like.
Hike with us
Walking Mountains offers half day guided snowshoe tours on local backcountry trails Tuesday and Wednesday each week. Visit http://www.walkingmountains.org/snowshoe for more information on our snow science, tracking, and history themed snowshoe programs.
Nathan Boyer-Rechlin is the community outreach coordinator, hiking guide, and trails guru at Walking Mountains Science Center. You can reach him at (970) 827-9725 ext. 144, or firstname.lastname@example.org.