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

Middle Lake Trail travels from the Bareyta Cabins site through the Holy Cross Wilderness to Middle Lake. It is one of the steepest and most challenging trails on the Eagle Ranger District. It climbs 1000 feet in the first 1/2 mile to a total rise of 2200 feet at the highest point 2.5 miles along the trail; 11,800 feet. The trail then descends 680 feet to Middle Lake. The trail begins after crossing West Lake Creek, which currently has no bridge. It climbs through spruce/fir up a number of switchbacks. At 1.5 miles, the trail connects onto the Dead Dog Trail, #2220. The climb continues through a Krummholz forest of spruce before reaching the rocky alpine meadows. The descent to Middle Lake is also steep and rocky. Often the trail may be faint, but look for stone cairns to help guide the way. Camping is best in the meadow region before the lake. If camping near the lake, remember to stay at least 100 feet away from the water's edge and from the trail.

MIDDLE LAKE - This picturesque 9 acre lake surrounded by spruce/fir and rocky snow-covered peaks offers fishing for rainbow and Colorado native cutthroat trout.

ALPINE WILDFLOWERS - The alpine meadows of the high ridge have a good variety of alpine flowers. It's best to view kingscrown, white marsh marigold, globeflower, harebells and phlox in July and August.

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. Follow to Forest Road 423, a rough, rutted 4-wheel drive road and take it 3.2 miles until it deadends at Baryeta Cabins site. There is limited parking at the turnaround and that is the only parking available. The trail begins across West Lake Creek at the end of the road. There are no facilities at the trailhead. Those not wanting to drive the very rough Road 423, can park at the bottom and walk the 3.2 miles to the Baryeta Cabins site. Mountain bikers using the Bareyta Cabins Road are reminded that bikes are not permitted on trails through the Wilderness.

Elevation: 9,600 feet

Ending Elevation: 11,120 feet

Usage: Moderate

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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