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Backpacking: Colorado > Pike and San Isabel National Forests > South Platte Ranger District

Quick Facts

Meridian Trail

Beginning Elevation: 9,070 Feet (2827.3 Meters) Trailhead
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 1,630 Feet (508.1 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 10,700 Feet (3335.4 Meters) Saddle
Handicapped Accessible: No
Length, One-way: 3 Miles (5.0 Kilometers) 4.8 K
Other Maps: Pike National Forest
Recommended Season: Fall
Trail Number: 604
USGS Maps: Quads: Harris Park




Satellite and Topo Map




General Description

This pleasant hike leads to a saddle, which marks the boundary between Pike and Arapaho National Forests. Hiking distance is 3 miles and the elevation gain is 1,630'. The trail remains below tree line the entire 3 miles, and it is well maintained and easy to follow. Keeping a moderate pace allow 80 to 90 minutes to reach the saddle. There are possible sites for overnight camping at the saddle. Water is not available in the immediate area so campers will need to supply their own. Although the trail continues northward into Arapaho National Forest this description assumes users will turn around at the saddle and return to the original trailhead.

The first mile of the hike leads north on the west flank of Peak 9489 (labeled on Quad map). The Elk Creek drainage will be to your left as you ascend. After a mile the trail begins to bear in a northeasterly direction, heading for the saddle east of Peak 11,766 (east of Rosedale Peak). This portion of the trail passes through several aspen groves, and offers some interesting vistas looking east and south. The saddle turnaround point is marked by several rock cairns. Note that the quad map has the designation "Meridian Campground" at the saddle. This is not a designated Forest Service campground, and there are no water or sanitary facilities at the saddle. (The developed Meridian Campground is south of and below the Meridian Trailhead.) If you decide to camp overnight at the saddle be sure to check with the Forest Service first regarding possible restrictions on open campfires due to high fire danger.

Directions from Bailey: From Bailey drive east on Highway 285 for 2.7 miles to the top of Crow Hill. Turn north (left) on Park County Road 43, Deer Creek Road. Drive 6.7 miles on this paved road to a fork. Bear right on to Park County Road 47 and follow this paved road for .9 miles. Turn north (left) on to a gravel road and cross a cattle guard. When you reach the Meridian Campground sign bear right (northeast). About 100 yards further bear right again at a fork. After driving .5 miles on the gravel road bear left (straight ahead) at the road junction. At .3 miles further bear right and continue .5 miles to the trailhead. Park near the horse corrals. The trailhead is accessible for all types of cars. This access road passes through private property. Please respect their property.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: Mid-Spring through Mid-Winter .



Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Time of Day: Morning and afternoon
Length of Time: 5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Very pretty trail, once we found it. Driving directions are incorrect. Continue past Meridian CG to turn left for Camp Rosalie, then .8 mi to TH. The 1600 ft of elevation gain makes this a moderate hike. Fall colors were at peak during the last week of Sept. but we still had a very nice show of aspen. As the trail climbs through taller aspen groves and lodgepoles, it gets more shady and a little less dry.
Conditions: Most of the trail is decomposed granite, with a slight sidecut. Mixed shade and sun. Further up the trail it gets more rocky and earthy, as the moisture increases.
Water Availability: It was unusually warm the day we hiked, so I went through about 2 qts of water. After about 1 1/2 mi, there are a couple of shallow streams that you could possibly use to collect water, which would need to be treated.
Recommended Clothing: Definitely a sun visor, as the aspens on the lower part of the trail are pretty young and don't provide shelter from the sun. A windbreaker would be important.



Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Meridian Trail
Yes
ICON Hiking & Walking Meridian Trail
Yes
ICON Horseback Riding Meridian Trail
Yes
ICON Animal Identification Meridian Trail
Yes
ICON Bird Identification Meridian Trail
Yes
ICON Mushroom Identification Meridian Trail
Yes
ICON Plant Identification Meridian Trail
Yes
ICON Wildflower Identification Meridian Trail
Yes
ICON Viewing Scenery Meridian Trail
Yes
ICON Viewing Wildlife Meridian Trail
Yes



Nearby Services

nearest public telephone: various (private, for profit) Directions: Harris Park - Drive east on County Road 47.

fire and emergency services: (non-profit) Directions: Harris Park - Drive east on County Road 47.



Related Activities
Deer Creek Campground - The Deer Creek Campground consists of 13 family campsites. This site is very close to 2 trailheads allowing access to the Mount Evans Wilderness Area and other recreation opportunities.

Meridian Campground - This campground consists of 18 individual family campsites each with a table, fire ring and parking spur. Recreation opportunities from this site include access to the Mount Evans Wilderness via the Meridian trail.

Tanglewood Trail - The Tanglewood Trail is a moderately difficult trail in the Mt. Evans Wilderness. It leads to some spectacular views of rock formations, wildflowers and forest areas.



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