Forest Service changes some seasonal trail closures on Vail Valley trails
EAGLE COUNTY — The U.S. Forest Service reminds the public that seasonal trail closures are in effect on several popular Forest Service trails adjacent to Vail and Avon. These closures are in place to protect elk calving areas and mule deer migration stopover
The Whiskey Creek and Eastern Hillside trails have been closed since December to protect elk during the challenging winter months and will remain closed during the calving season. The Knob Hill trail was closed to provide winter range for deer and elk but reopened Monday, April 16.
There will be some changes to seasonal closure locations and dates in the Vail area, which will be implemented this season:
• The Garmisch and Trapper’s Run portions of the North Trail will remain open this season to allow for trail use closer to town.
• The rest of the North Trail and Son of Middle Creek closure dates have been extended to Wednesday, June 20, to further protect deer during critical migration periods and to make closure dates more consistent across the Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District.
• The Buffehr Creek trail will be closed until June 20 to protect deer during critical migration periods.
• Gates will be installed at all closure points this season. Several of these gates have already been installed and will be shut for the duration of the closure period.
“Updated signage, better gates, a new Adopt-A-Trail Ambassador program and your support will all help in protecting our sensitive local wildlife.” District Ranger Aaron Mayville said. “Thank you for your continued diligence with these closures this spring.”
The Ambassador program is a new, 2018 addition to Eagle County Adopt-A-Trail program. In conjunction with the Vail Valley Mountain Bike Association, the Forest Service has trained 20 volunteers to assist in further educating users about the needs of the valley’s wildlife and proper trail etiquette. During seasonal closure periods, volunteer ambassadors will be stationed at trailheads to explain why the seasonal closures exist, as well as where trail users can recreate during these times.
This program, along with the newly- nstalled gates and signs, is expected to greatly increase compliance with seasonal closures on Forest Service trails and better protect deer and elk during periods critical to their survival.
Please use alternate trails until these seasonal closures are lifted. Hiking, dog walking and mountain biking, as well as all other uses, are prohibited during the closure. These trails are currently closed:
• The North Trail: Reopens June 20.
• Son of Middle Creek: Reopens June 20.
• Buffehr Creek: Reopens June 20.
• Paulie’s Plunge/Stone Creek: Closed May 15 to June 20.
• Two Elk from the west entrance (approximately one mile up the trail at the second bridge) to the east end on the Vail Bike Path: Closed May 6 to June 30.
• Whiskey Creek: Reopens June 20.
• Eastern Hillside: Reopens June 20.
Forest Service partners including Vail Mountain, Beaver Creek Resort, Eagle County and local towns also have seasonal restrictions on some of the trails they administer. Visitors are encouraged to plan ahead and visit the appropriate websites to ensure the trails they wish to use are open.
For more information about Forest Service trails and recreation opportunities, call the Eagle-Holy Cross Office at 970-827-5715 or stop by during business hours, weekdays 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.