Push yourself at Buck Creek | VailDaily.com

Push yourself at Buck Creek

Peter Suneson
Walking Mountains Science Center
Hike for two and a half miles on Buck Creek to the first meadow, but there's much more beyond that, too.
Special to the Daily

Trail Name: Buck Creek.

Mileage: Roughly 2 and a half miles to the first open meadow, plenty more trail to keep you moving.

Subjective rating: Moderate to difficult depending on how far you go. The trail to the first meadow where the old Nottingham Ridge trail intersects has only two major inclines. The further you head up towards Red and White Mountain Road, the steeper it gets.

What to expect: The Buck Creek trail starts just above Walking Mountains Science Center off of Buck Creek Road in Avon (this snowshoe trail always starts a Buck Creek hike off at Northside Kitchen and Cofee for doughnuts). Coming from Interstate 70, you’ll continue west on Nottingham Road and then make a right just after the medical center. The trailhead is less than a mile up the road.

The first bit of trail proceeds through conservation easements held by the Mountainstar POA and Town of Avon before entering the National Forest just beyond the culvert under Mountainstar Drive. After a bit of a climb and a few water crossings, the trail opens up in a meadow that once housed the National Forest Service office for the White River National Forest (much has changed since 1907).

The trail continues to climb to the first good turnaround spot in an open meadow where the ridge trail intersects Buck Creek. If you’ve got a little more energy, follow the ridge trail west and after a mile or so you’ll find another great meadow, this one surrounding a pond littered with boreal toads in the spring, and plenty of picnic seating year-round.

Stewardship message: Buck Creek is a seldom-used trail in the winter other than the first mile or so by local dog walkers. In the summer, it is part of a steep single-track circuit many bikers like to loop in from other trails and roads closer to Vail. Because it is a relatively quiet trail, the chances for someone else to pick up after you are even slimmer. Do your part and give back to this hidden gem of a trail by helping keep it clean and in good shape for the upcoming recreation season.

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