Trail Name: Maloit Park Minturn (various trails available)
Walking Mountains' weekly snowshoe hikes are hand picked by our hiking guides and environmental educators to get you out on the most beautiful trails at the most scenic times. Walking Mountains' team of nature nerds and backcountry snowshoe guides are certified interpretive guides are out there to show you the best experiences on our vast public lands and wild environments. Check back next week for another timely and beautiful, Hike of the Week!
Up to a couple miles if you follow all the loops.
Easy! This is one of the flattest trail systems in our area due to the concentric loops and wide open Cross Creek drainage.
What to Expect:
Take Highway 24 south, through Minturn, making a right at the sign for the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy. The trailhead for snowshoeing at Maloit Park is located at the end of the road, past the Minturn Fitness Center and in between VSSA and Camp Minturn. There is not a ton of parking when school is in session so if you’re planning on taking the whole family out, car-pooling is a great idea!
Expect to see the next generation of local Olympic cross-country hopefuls zipping around the groomed trails! Please be courteous of the skiers and follow the signs for the snowshoe trails, making sure to do your best to remain off the groomers. My favorite trail at Maloit Park passes by the oval track and heads up to the south through a mixed Douglas fir and aspen forest. Roughly a quarter mile after you pass through the first aspen stand, look left to see a “sentinel of the forest,” or one of the few ponderosa pines we have in our local area. The winter is a great time to trudge the short distance uphill to stick your nose into the cracks of the bark and deeply inhale the magnificent vanilla aroma.
The trail continues on through a mixed pine, spruce, and fir forest before looping back at a great overlook of Cross Creek. Notice how little water may be running in the creek now, and then check back in June as the snowmelt rushes off Mt. of the Holy Cross (thus Cross Creek!). As you work your way back towards to parking lot, you pass by great beaver habitat as the local ecosystem engineers have been hard at work for decades. Check out the two lodges, and look uphill towards the young aspen to see where the beavers have found all their building material!
Snowshoeing and cross country skiing are two of the most popular winter pastimes but at times can require different terrain and snow surfaces. Maloit Park is another great example of partnerships in action promoting responsible outdoor recreation. If you’re on snowshoes please respect the groomed trails and look both ways before crossing a ski trail. If you’ve brought your canine companion, remember skiers may be in the area and can’t stop nearly as quickly so it may be best to forgo voice control and keep them on-leash.
Snowshoe with Walking Mountains:
Walking Mountains Science Center leads guided hikes year round for people of all ages and abilities. To see a schedule, visit www.walkingmountains.org or stop by one of our Eagle Valley Locations:
In Avon at the Buck Creek Campus behind the hospital
On Vail Mountain at the Nature Discovery Center
At the Vail Nature Center near the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens