This trail begins at the trailhead for Lake Charles, at the Fulford Cave Campground. It leads through a gate and along an old jeep road. Take a right onto the Ironedge Trail. Within 1/4 mile you will see some cabins. Stay to the right to follow the trail. You will cross two bridges and head through a small meadow. The trail is easy to find as you walk through thick stands of spruce, fir and aspen up a moderate incline. After one mile it becomes steep in places with switchbacks and then, after 3/4 mile, it follows an old logging road up. This road intersects with another logging road. Take a left, heading east, and be sure to look for rock cairns marking the trail. Take a right off the road at a cairn and walk on the trail again. The trail still ascends up this logged area for about one mile and comes out in a beautiful meadow filled with wildflowers and presents spectacular views of the Elk Range and Frying Pan drainage. The trail ascends through spruce/fir at a steep pitch for 1/2 mile. Keep your eyes open for old mining shafts and an old cabin. The trail opens up as you reach tree line and for 1 mile you will be walking through Krummholz, an area where the plant growth is stunted due to the high elevation. Follow the rock cairns as the trail skirts around a hill and then begins to descend 2 1/1 miles to Lake Charles, through meadows, forests and rocky areas.
Scenic views - Spectacular views are available from many spots along the trail. From the logged area, looking to the north, Castle Peak and the Flat Tops are visible, and before descending to Lake Charles, the jagged peaks of the Elk Range are breathtaking.
Lake Charles - This 16.2 acre lake sits in a drainage surrounded by the mountains of the Sawatch Range. It sits at an elevation of 11,055 and hosts native and brook trout.
Directions: From Vail, Travel west on I-70 to Eagle (exit #147). Turn left and drive into Eagle. Turn left on Capitol Street and follow to Brush Creek Road. Turn left and follow Brush Creek Road 10 miles south of Eagle. Take the left fork onto East Brush Creek Road, Forest Road 415. Drive 6 miles, passing Yeoman Park Campground, to the next main intersection. Go straight ahead another mile to Fulford Cave Campground. Park in the day use lot. The Ironedge Trail starts from the Lake Charles Trailhead.
Elevation: 9,400 feet
Elevation Gain: 2,040 feet
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White River National Forest, Colorado
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