Trails on Vail, Beaver Creek mountains close for elk migration as others open in Minturn
Forest Service land on portions of Vail and Beaver Creek mountains closed to the public on Thursday. The closed areas are state designated elk winter range and concentration zones, used by elk herds for migration and calving.
In Beaver Creek, the Elkhorn trail will be closed through the month of June, as well as the Village to Village Trail from Chair 14 to Arrowhead. The May 6 to June 30 wildlife closing also affects the Two Elk trail through Vail’s Back Bowls, connecting the Vail Pass area to the town of Minturn.
In Minturn, the 0.7-mile Mini Mile trail near Memorial Park officially opened on May 2, said Ernest Saeger with the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance, despite the signs in the area which might say otherwise.
Saeger says the confusion lies in discrepancies between wildlife closures on Minturn land, which end May 1, and Forest Service land, which end May 21.
A Vail Recreation District bike race has been scheduled for May 19 on the Mini Mile course. The rec district says the race will kick off the 2021 summer’s eight-race Bloch & Chapleau Mountain Bike Race Series, presented by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
Also in Minturn, the Game Creek Trail will receive a reroute over the course of the summer, although the work won’t close the trail, which is currently open to hikers only. The Game Creek Trail will open to mountain bikers on May 22.
The Game Creek Trail uses an old logging road which has sections that are unsustainable and seeing erosion, Saeger said.
“We want to make Game Creek, which is already heavily used by hikers … a little more climbable with a bike,” Saeger said. “So you can park at the bottom of the Game Creek/Cougar Ridge trailhead there on Taylor Street in Minturn, you could climb up Game Creek … and then you could take Game Creek and do the new Cougar Ridge Trail back to Minturn, and you have this great loop opportunity there.”