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

Quick Facts

Turret Creek Trail

Average Time: 5-6 Hours
Beginning Elevation: 8,000 Feet (2493.8 Meters)
Difficulty: More Difficult
Elevation Gain, One-way: 3,222 Feet (1004.4 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 11,200 Feet (3491.3 Meters)
Length, One-way: 8.0 Miles (13.33 Kilometers)
Recommended Season: May-October
Trail Number: 1832
Usage: Heavy
USGS Maps: Sweetwater Lake, Trappers Lake




Satellite and Topo Map




General Description

This recently reconstructed trail has high use from both hikers and horse travelers throughout the summer months. The 3,222 foot elevation change occurs over the entire course, thus it provides good access to the Flat Tops. The first part of the trail climbs through a dry area with scrub oaks, then it begins to follow the Sweetwater Creek from above. It then crosses many small streams as it passes through stands of aspen and grassy meadows. Later, it enters lodgepole pine and at about the 4 1/2 mile mark, the trail passes through Turret Creek Meadows. From the Meadows, the trail steepens as it climbs further up the ridge of the White River Plateau. The trail ends on the east side of Shingle Peak at the Shingle Peak (#1854) and Turret Crescent (#2269) trails.
Since there are many horse travelers on the trail, it is important for hikers to give them right-of-way because the trail is narrow at times. The majority of the trail passes into the Flattops Wilderness Area. Please practice wilderness ethics to help preserve this special resource.

SPECIAL INTERESTS
WILDLIFE - Wildlife of many varieties may be visible along the trail and in Turret Meadows. Some of the species that may be seen during early morning and evening hours include mule deer, black bear, elk, coyotes, grouse, beaver, ermine and mink.

WILDFLOWERS - Turret Meadows offer an incredible array of Rocky Mountain wildflowers especially during the early summer months. Lupines, sunflowers, paintbrushes, phlox and penstemon are abundant all along the trail as well.

Directions from Eagle: Travel 14 miles west of Eagle on I-70 to the Dotsero exit. Follow signs for Sweetwater turning north onto the Colorado River road. Go 7 miles, turn left onto Sweetwater Creek road. Stay on this road for 11.2 miles. Limited parking for vehicles and trailers is available near the cabins of Sweetwater Wilderness Ranch. Another small parking lot, accessible by 4-wheel drive is another 1/4 mile up at Hilltop Ranch. There are no facilities located at the trailhead.

Directions from Vail: Travel 43 miles west of Eagle on I-70 to the Dotsero exit. Follow signs for Sweetwater turning north onto the Colorado River road. Go 7 miles, turn left onto Sweetwater Creek road. Stay on this road for 11.2 miles. Limited parking for vehicles and trailers is available near the cabins of Sweetwater Wilderness Ranch. Another small parking lot, accessible by 4-wheel drive is another 1/4 mile up at Hilltop Ranch. There are no facilities located at the trailhead.

Directions from Beaver Creek: Travel 34 miles west of Eagle on I-70 to the Dotsero exit. Follow signs for Sweetwater turning north onto the Colorado River road. Go 7 miles, turn left onto Sweetwater Creek road. Stay on this road for 11.2 miles. Limited parking for vehicles and trailers is available near the cabins of Sweetwater Wilderness Ranch. Another small parking lot, accessible by 4-wheel drive is another 1/4 mile up at Hilltop Ranch. There are no facilities located at the trailhead.

Seasonal Information:
Recommended Season: May through October .



Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Updated: 2001-06-26 14:46:00.0


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Filed By: Casey (Monett, MO)
Time of Day: 8:00-2:00 AM
Length of Time: 6 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I have been on this trip numerous times. The hike is not all that difficult except the steep parts at times. The worst part is the steep climb at the beginning of the trip at Sweetwater Lake. I never make the whole trip but camp at the turret meadows for a few days and then hike back down. The creek offers great brook trout fishing. If you make your way to the end of the meadow there are beaver dams with unlimited fishing. You basically catch a fish every time you cast.
Conditions: Can be muddy in places, especially after rain. Sunny in places and shady in others. Horses do use the trail so droppings are found for most of the trip except for one part where horses use a different path.
Water Availability: Small creeks the entire trip to the meadow offer plenty of water.
Recommended Clothing: I prefer long pants and long sleeves but shorts and a t-shirt can be worn as long as you don't mind numerous plants rubbing against you along the way.
Suggested Accessories: fishing pole is handy but nothing special is needed.

Filed By: Bob C (Galena, OH)
Time of Day: 4pm - 9pm
Length of Time: 5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: A great hike through various types of terrain. Saw several deer. I camped at the edge of Turret Creek Meadows. Saw a couple elk bow hunters. I had been up from Trappers Lake to Shingle Peak and I wanted to see the back side.
Conditions: It was dry and that made the walking pretty easy except for the steep areas.
Water Availability: Took plenty of water, but water was available in the Meadows. Next day I hiked to just east of Shingle Peak. Awesome. Came back down winding trail (?) to the west.
Recommended Clothing: Used standard hiking gear for early fall weather. It got down to 60's in the night.
Suggested Accessories: There are a few lakes in the area that may hold fish.



Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking
Yes
ICON Hiking & Walking Turret Creek Trail
Yes
ICON Horseback Riding Turret Creek and area trails
Yes



Related Activities
"W" Mountain Trail - This long yet relatively easy trail leads into the Flat Tops Wilderness north of Dotsero and west of Derby Junction. It links to numerous other trails on the Flat Tops.

Sweetwater General Forest Area - The Sweetwater General Forest Area includes the Sweetwater Creek drainage, northwest of Eagle and Gypsum. It takes in the southeast end of the Flat Tops Wilderness.

Sweetwater Lake Campground - This campground sits in the bottom of a deep valley at an elevation of 7,740 feet, on the edge of Sweetwater Lake.



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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