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.
Mid-Spring through Mid-Winter .