This fairly level, easy-to-follow trail follows the north rim of Sweetwater Canyon. It begins as a slight uphill grade through scrub oak and sagebrush. At 2 miles it enters aspen interspersed with grassy meadows. The trail descends at 3 miles to cross the Sweetwater Creek. There is no bridge, so crossing on foot can be difficult during high runoff. After the creek crossing, the trail climbs up through aspen mixed with fir and large meadows. It levels out crossing a south-facing slope. The trail continues through aspen/fir for the next 2 miles before reaching the marshy areas of the beaver ponds at the head of the Dry Sweetwater Creek. The trail ends at the Indian Camp Pass and connects onto the Trappers Lake trail, #1816.
SCENERY - This trail offers some spectacular scenery and photography opportunities its entire length. There are beautiful views of the snowcapped peaks of the Sawatch Range, Sweetwater Lake and canyon and the high cliffs of the Flattops.
WILDLIFE - Various species of wildlife are often visible during the early morning or evening hours all along the trail. Mule deer, elk, black bear, coyotes, pocket gophers, mountain bluebirds and house wrens may be seen.
Directions: From Beaver Creek, Go 43 miles west on I-70 to the Dotsero exit. Follow signs for Sweetwater turning north onto the Colorado River road. Go 7 miles, turn left onto the Sweetwater Creek road. Stay on this road for 11.2 miles. Limited parking for vehicles is available near the cabins of the Sweetwater Wilderness Ranch. Another small parking lot, accessible by 4-wheel drive only, is located another 1/4 mile up at Hilltop Ranch. From Hilltop Ranch, go through the gate and hike up 1/4 mile on this connecting trail to the beginning of the Sweetwater Trail. There are no facilities at the trailhead.
Elevation: 8,000 feet
Ending Elevation: 9,700 feet
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White River National Forest, Colorado
Review by Wildernet Copyright © 2010 Wildernet.com all rights reserved.
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