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

Snowshoe Hike Of The Week: Snowshoe McKenzie Gulch Near Sylvan Lake

Posted by Peter Suneson on Jan 7, 2019 2:52:22 PM
Peter Suneson


Trail Name: McKenzie Gulch Sylvan Lake State Park

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!

Create Your Private Snowshoe Experience!


2.5- 3 miles each way depending how far you hike on Powerline Road.

Subjective rating:
Moderate if the trail has been packed down. Difficult if you’re the first one out on the freshies!

What to Expect:
The trailhead for McKenzie Gulch is off of West Brush Creek Road, en route to Sylvan Lake State Park. The road to the lake is maintained to allow access to the cabins and yurts surrounding the lake so look for a turnout on the left a few miles after the Y split in Brush Creek Road. The trail begins by crossing through a wildlife gate (please remember to close it after you!) and then winds through a stand of mixed aged aspen and through a mixed spruce/ fir forest as you continue to climb. At about the half-way point, you’ll pass by a sign directing you to a few local springs, Hart and McKenzie, but stay the course and start your climb up to Powerline Road, the terminus of the McKenzie Gulch trail. If you snowshoe South East along the road, within a mile or so you’ll get a great overlook of Sylvan Lake and the new dam!

Stewardship Message:
Although it might seem as if you are visiting a local State Park, the McKenzie Gulch trail is located on the White River National Forest and is thus managed and overseen by our local Forest Service office. With many Forest Service entities and employees currently unable to return to the forest or office, it is a great time to remind hikers and snowshoers to “Pack it in, pack it out!” Although it is always important to learn from Leave No Trace Principles, it is especially important that we, as users, do our part to help keep our local forests clean and healthy when our local managers are unable to.


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 

Upcoming Guided Snowshoe Hikes


Topics: Hike Of The Week, Snowshoe Of The Week

Peter Suneson

Written by Peter Suneson

Peter Suneson is the Community Outreach Coordinator and manages the backcountry hiking and snowshoeing programs at Walking Mountains Science Center. He invites you out on the trail with him to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of our local trails (just not his boots!).