Trail Name: Squaw Creek
Summer is in full swing here in the Eagle River Valley, and there’s no better way to escape the heat than to head to the mountains. The Squaw Creek trail outside of Edwards offers a beautiful shaded hike along a mountain stream, with plenty of opportunities (some mandatory) to cool off and get a little wet!
The Squaw Creek Trailhead is a 30-40 minute drive from Vail Village, and is a great option for avoiding the crowds on the popular East Vail trails. Exit I-70 at exit 163 in Edwards and cross the river to Highway 6. Take Highway 6 west for 2.5 miles to Squaw Creek Road. Turn left on Squaw Creek Road and follow it roughly 5 miles to the trailhead--be sure to continue straight on the dirt road when a paved road veers right up to Cordillera.
What to Expect:
A hike along squaw creek can be as long or short as fits your day. The full trail takes you 4.5 miles back towards the Holy Cross Wilderness, and links to old service roads that connect to Big Park and Bellyache Mountain. Hiking 3 miles down the trail will take you to Elk Park, a beautiful wildflower meadow and excellent destination for a moderate day hike. The first mile of the hike switchbacks on a dry hillside with scrub oak, juniper, & pine before dropping to the creek & the first water crossing. The rest of the hike follows the creek through spruce & fir forests, with intermittent meadows featuring tall grasses & vibrant wildflowers. When you reach a long & wide meadow you have made it to Elk Park, another water crossing waits for you right after the park, and can be a nice place for lunch.
A Note on Conditions:
Our snowpack has melted fast in the past few weeks, and peak runoff has come and gone. However, water levels are still higher than usual for this time of year. The Squaw Creek trail does have a number of water crossings. All crossings are straightforward and safe, but be prepared to get a little wet! Additionally, as of the end of June this trail also had a significant number of downed trees.
Water: The Life Blood of the West!
Join a naturalist guide on a guided hike up Squaw Creek next Tuesday, July 23! This hike is the second in our monthly featured hikes series which features local trails, history & ecology. Join us for a day experiencing the beauty of Colorado’s streams, and learn about the wildlife that calls the water home, and the role of streams in the health of the West! This hike will give you the chance to enjoy a day on the trail, as well as get up close and personal with Squaw Creek and take part in some fun, hands on stream science! For more information & to register visit our website www.walkingmountains.org/hikes or email email@example.com.
Quick Facts (Round Trip to Elk Park)
Distance: 6 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,600 ft (to Elk Park)