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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > White River National Forest > Eagle Ranger District

Quick Facts

East Lake Creek Trail

Average Time: 8-9 Hours
Beginning Elevation: 8,640 Feet (2693.3 Meters)
Difficulty: More Difficult
Elevation Gain, One-way: 2,560 Feet (798.0 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 11,200 Feet (3491.3 Meters)
Length, One-way: 12.5 Miles (20.83 Kilometers)
Recommended Season: June-November
Trail Number: 1880
Usage: Heavy
USGS Maps: Grouse Mtn., Mount Jackson




Satellite and Topo Map




General Description

Lake Thomas Basin, Holy Cross Wilderness
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
Lake Thomas Basin, Holy Cross Wilderness
This popular hiking trail begins as a well-defined, moderately uphill dirt path through lodgepole pine and aspen. The first 2 miles travel through damp lush aspen forest with abundant wildflowers down to East Lake Creek. After crossing the wooden bridge, the trail is again a moderate climb up the east side of East Lake creek. The trail becomes rocky and is wet in areas where it crosses drainages into the creek. The trail continues through this narrow canyon valley of spruce/fir forest for about 4 miles. After passing Boot Lake and a swampy area, it passes through an old mining site with ruins and old machinery. Then it enters a flat area where the stream meanders and beaver have made a series of ponds. The trail is faint here because of the beaver activity, but look for markers indicating the way. Towards the end of the trail, it goes into some alpine meadows. The trail ends at Upper Camp Lake. The majority of the trail goes through the Holy Cross Wilderness Area. Please practice wilderness ethics to preserve this natural resource.

SPECIAL INTERESTS
FISHING - East Lake Creek offers fishing for native Colorado cutthroat, brook and rainbow trout.
HISTORIC MINING SITE - About 6 1/2 miles up the trail, there are the ruins of a mining operation from the 1930's. There are the metal remains of an old mill, a large pipeline to draw water from the creek for processing and some fallen log structures. This area is private land and it is advised not to wander far off of the trail because of still open mine shafts.

Directions from Eagle: Go 18 miles east on I-70 to the Edwards exit. Go south on Highway 6, then turn west . Go 0.7 mile and turn right onto Lake Creek Road, at the National Forest Access sign. Travel 1.8 miles and turn right onto West Lake Creek Road. Be sure to stay on West Lake Creek Road as it winds through a residential area. After the pavement ends, travel on the dirt road for 1.1 miles until there is a V in the road. Take the left fork and follow this road for one mile to the East Lake Creek trailhead. There is a parking area which can accommodate small trailers and a bulletin board at the trailhead. There are no other facilities at the trailhead.

Directions from Beaver Creek: Follow Highway 6 about 4 miles west to the town of Edwards. 0.7 mile past the Edwards stoplight, turn left onto Lake Creek Road at the National Forest Access sign. Travel 1.8 miles and turn right onto West Lake Creek Road. Be sure to stay on West Lake Creek Road as it winds through a residential area. After the pavement ends, travel on the dirt road for 1.1 miles until there is a V in the road. Take the left fork and follow this road for one mile to the East Lake Creek trailhead. There is a parking area which can accommodate small trailers and a bulletin board at the trailhead. There are no other facilities at the trailhead.

Directions from Vail: Travel 13 miles west on I-70 to the Edwards exit. Go south toward the town of Edwards to Highway 6 and turn right. Go 0.7 miles and turn left onto Lake Creek Road at the National Forest Access sign. Travel on this road for 1.8 miles and then turn right onto West Lake Creek Road. Be sure to stay on West Lake Creek Road as it winds through a residential area. After the pavement ends, travel on the dirt road for 1.1 miles until there is a V in the road. Take the left fork and follow this road for one mile to the East Lake Creek trailhead. There is a parking area which can accommodate small trailers and a bulletin board at the trailhead. There are no other facilities at the trailhead.

Seasonal Information:
Recommended Season: June through November .



Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Updated: 2001-06-26 14:39:00.0


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Filed By: Witt Sparks (Denver, CO)
Length of Time: 2 days
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: Hiked with packs to the Discovery and Ohio mines, and camped just below the mines. We should have kept going another .5 miles to the beginning of a large, flat marshy area, as there are better camp sites near some ruined mining cabins there. The trail was good up until this point, with some deadfall to negotiate. The next morning I planned to hike up valley to upper camp lakes. It seems like the trail beyond the cabins gets very little use. I spent a couple of hours losing and re-finding the trail until it disappeared into a marshy area. My feet were already soggy, and since I was alone and the weather looked iffy, I elected not to push any further. It seems like the trail beyond the cabins is no longer maintained and seldom used.
Conditions: The area in general is wet, and above the cabins there are numerous marshy areas to negotiate
Water Availability: Plenty of water in east lake creek

Filed By: Neal Henzler (Avon, CO)
Length of Time: 2 days
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Great hike up a long wilderness valley. Hardest part is the steep drop from the trailhead to the bridge (and back up after a long day). Saw very few people after the mining remains. Trail crosses huge avalanche path below Mt Jackson summit.
Conditions: The trail gets more faint and rugged at the creek crossing past mining remains. After the third creek crossing, it disappears into elk paths. Maintenance was performed on the lower 2/3 Summer 2008? Logs cut and cleared from trail, but some new logs have since fallen. No markings for trails leading to side valleys/lakes.
Water Availability: Plenty of water along the trail. Treat all water.
Recommended Clothing: Prepare for wet feet - lots of wetlands/marshes to cross, especially in upper valley. Can't count on logs for creek crossings. Creek crossing just past old cabin is dangerous at high water.
Suggested Accessories: Hiking poles



Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking
Yes
ICON Fishing
Yes
ICON Hiking & Walking East Lake Creek Trail
Yes
ICON Horseback Riding
Yes



Related Activities
Dead Dog Trail - This trail south of Edwards, starts from the East Lake Creek Trail #1880 and intersects the Middle Lake Trail #2223 on the ridge between Middle Lake Creek and West Lake Creek.

Middle Lake Trail - This steep trail in the Holy Cross Wilderness south of Edwards leads from West Lake Creek up to Middle Lake.

New York Mountain Trail - This trail south of Edwards begins near the Baryeta Cabins site and leads past the Polar Star 10th Mountain Hut before linking to the New York Lake trail #2221.



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