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This trail in the Holy Cross Wilderness south of Edwards, leads up the scenic East Lake Creek valley.

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.

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 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.

Elevation: 8,640 feet

Ending Elevation: 11,200 feet

Usage: Heavy

Difficulty: Strenuous

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White River National Forest, Colorado

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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