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Backpacking: Colorado > White River National Forest > Eagle Ranger District

Quick Facts

McKenzie Gulch Trail

Average Time: 1.5 Hours
Beginning Elevation: 8,000 Feet (2493.8 Meters)
Difficulty: More Difficult
Elevation Gain, One-way: 1,450 Feet (452.0 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 9,450 Feet (2945.8 Meters)
Length, One-way: 2.6 Miles (4.33 Kilometers)
Recommended Season: May-November
Trail Number: 1869
Usage: Moderate
USGS Maps: Seven Hermits, Red Creek




Satellite and Topo Map




General Description

This totally wooded trail travels from West Brush Creek up to the Powerline Road, FDR 413, following McKenzie Gulch. The trail begins after passing through a barbed wire gate. The grade is a moderate uphill climb through mostly aspen, mountain maple and wild rose. As you climb up in elevation the vegetation changes to aspen mixed with pine, spruce and fir. The trail is faint in a couple of areas, but can easily be found again, being sure not to follow cattle trails. There are a number of switchbacks to accommodate the rise in elevation, short-cutting them promotes trail erosion.
About 1.5 miles up the trail forks; to the right is the McKenzie Fork to the McKenzie Spring. This 0.8 mile trail has a slight uphill grade through aspen forest (with lots of aspen deadfall) and some small grassy meadows with grazing cattle. It ends near a cattle stock tank at the McKenzie Spring.

SPECIAL INTERESTS
ASPEN FOREST - This trail offers a good example of how varied an aspen forest can be. At the lower end of the trail, there is aspen mixed with the dense vegetation of mountain maple, snowberry, wild rose, gooseberry and small chokecherry trees. Midway up, the aspen has some lodgepole pine with it and numerous clumps of lupines. At the top of the trail, there is less aspen and more lodgepole pine with spruce and fir.

FOREST BIRDS - These aspen forests provide an excellent habitat for a variety of forest dwelling birds. Wood thrushes, house wrens, dark-eyed juncos, mountain chickadees and Northern flickers may all be seen.

Directions from Eagle: Drive 10 miles south of Eagle on the Brush Creek Road. Turn right on the West Brush Creek Road to Sylvan Lake. Go 2.4 miles from the Y. The trailhead is on the right side up a fairly steep 4-Wheel drive road. Parking is available for vehicles and trailers at a pulloff just past it on the left. Four-Wheel drive vehicles can park 100 yards up this road before the fence. There are no facilities at the trailhead.

Directions from Vail: Travel west on I-70 to Eagle (exit #147). Turn left and drive into Eagle. Turn left on Capitol Street and follow to Brush Creek Road. Turn left and follow Brush Creek Road10 miles south of Eagle. Turn right on the West Brush Creek Road to Sylvan Lake. Go 2.4 miles from the Y. The trailhead is on the right side up a fairly steep 4-Wheel drive road. Parking is available for vehicles and trailers at a pulloff just past it on the left. Four-Wheel drive vehicles can park 100 yards up this road before the fence. There are no facilities at the trailhead.

Directions from Beaver Creek: Travel west on I-70 to Eagle (exit #147). Turn left and drive into Eagle. Turn left on Capitol Street and follow to Brush Creek Road. Turn left and follow Brush Creek Road10 miles south of Eagle. Turn right on the West Brush Creek Road to Sylvan Lake. Go 2.4 miles from the Y. The trailhead is on the right side up a fairly steep 4-Wheel drive road. Parking is available for vehicles and trailers at a pulloff just past it on the left. Four-Wheel drive vehicles can park 100 yards up this road before the fence. There are no facilities at the trailhead.

Seasonal Information:
Recommended Season: May through November .



Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Updated: 2001-06-26 14:41:00.0


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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking McKenzie Gulch Trail
Yes
ICON Hiking & Walking McKenzie Gulch Trail
Yes
ICON Horseback Riding McKenzie Gulch Trail
Yes



Related Activities
Brush Creek General Forest Area - This area south of Eagle includes both the East and West Brush Creek drainages.

Sylvan Lake Campground - This state-operated campground on the edge of scenic Sylvan Lake, sits at an elevation of 8,558 feet, and offers 50 campsites.



More Information

Visitor Information:

Vail Valley Partnership, 100 East Meadow Drive , Vail, CO, 81657, Phone: 800-525-3875, Fax: 970-476-6008, www.visitvailvalley.com

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