Located near Centura Health in Avon right off of I-70. An innovative natural science learning campus for residents and visitors of the Eagle Valley. Free and open to the public.

318 Walking Mountains Lane, Avon, CO 81620

Located at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola on Vail Mountain out of Lionshead Village, Vail. All visitors must have a pass to ride the gondola. Free and open to the public with valid gondola pass.
Nestled along Gore Creek near the Betty Ford Alpine Garden and Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail Village.
601 Vail Valley Drive, Vail, CO 81657

Walking Mountains Blog

Hike Of The Week: Iron Edge Loop

Posted by Nathan Boyer-Rechlin on Jul 30, 2019 1:14:00 PM
Nathan Boyer-Rechlin

Trail Name: Iron Edge Loop

If you had to pick one hike in the Eagle Valley to experience a little of everything our mountains have to offer, the Iron Edge Loop would have to be that hike. Located outside of Eagle, past Yeoman Park, this hike features high alpine ridgelines, mixed forests, lush wetlands, and an iconic subalpine lake. Additionally, in a valley where most of our hikes consist of out-and-back treks, this loop only repeats about 100 yards of trail!


Getting There:

Follow Brush Creek Road out of Eagle past the Sylvan Lake State Park Information Center. At the fork in the road just after the center, bear left towards Yeoman Park. Continue past Yeoman Park to the Fulford Caves Campground. Park here and hike on the obvious fire road heading up the creek valley. About 100 yards into the hike, you will see signs for the Iron Edge and Lake Charles trails, and you can hike the loop in either direction.


What to Expect:

The Iron Edge Loop is a challenging hike, and you should be acclimatized to high altitude and in good hiking shape before attempting this route. The full day measures at 11.5 miles and 2,700 feet of elevation gain. Expect sustained climbs, some loose and rocky sections of trail, and primitive, sometimes hard to follow, sections of trail through subalpine wetland.

The recommended approach to this loop is to hike it counter clockwise, starting with the ascent to the Peter Estin Hut on the Iron Edge trail and returning down the Lake Charles trail. This front-loads the elevation gain, and will more quickly get you through the high alpine terrain—which is beneficial as we are starting to see regular afternoon thundershowers.

3 miles of steady uphill travel will bring you to the Peter Estin Hut. From the hut, follow the trail another mile to treeline. Continue along the ridge for another mile before beginning your descent to Lake Charles. The trail becomes faint in places, but regularly placed cairns guide your way, just make sure you see the next one before continuing on. Once at Lake Charles, enjoy the vistas across the lake before crossing the outflow and merging onto the well traveled Lake Charles Trail. Once you join the Lake Charles trail, there’s 4.5 miles of descent get back to the trailhead.

Note on Conditions:

Walking Mountains Science Center guided this hike on July 25. The trail is in great condition, with the section between the Iron Edge Ridge and Lake Charles being better marked than in previous years. The creek flowing out of Lake Charles is flowing quickly at the standard ford. Hike 50 yards upstream to find a sturdy board bridge that easily crosses the creek.

Walking Mountains guides backcountry hikes four days a week. Join us on Mondays for hikes to iconic mountain lakes, Tuesdays for a more relaxed and education hiking experiences and Thursdays for challenging treks on high alpine routes. Wednesdays are our Piney Family Adventures, where you can enjoy a two-hour hike along the Piney River trail, followed by time to enjoy the historic Piney River Ranch!

Topics: Hike Of The Week, Backcountry Hikes

Nathan Boyer-Rechlin

Written by Nathan Boyer-Rechlin

Nathan is the Community Outreach Coordinator at Walking Mountains. Meet him on the trail for a hike!