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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > White River National Forest > Holy Cross Ranger District

Quick Facts

Two Elk Trail

Beginning Elevation: 9,200 Feet (2867.8 Meters) at east end
Elevation Gain: 1,800 Feet (561.1 Meters) from east to west
Ending Elevation: 8,023 Feet (2500.9 Meters) at Minturn, west end of trail
High Point: 11,000 Feet (3428.9 Meters) at Two Elk Pass
Length, One-way: 11 Miles (18.33 Kilometers) from the Vail Pass Trail to Minturn
Ti Topo Maps: #108 Vail, Frisco, Dillon
Trail Number: 2005
USGS Maps: Minturn; Redcliff; Vail East




Satellite and Topo Map




General Description

This National Recreation Trail travels from the Vail Pass Trail, just east of East Vail, up over Two Elk Pass, then down Two Elk Creek into Minturn. It can be traveled in either direction.

A designated National Recreation Trail, Two Elk Trail offers many panoramic views of the Gore and Sawatch Ranges.

This trail also passes by the back bowls of Vail Ski Area. China, Sunup and Sundown bowls are known for their deep powder skiing.

A side trip to Red Benchmark, north of Two Elk Pass offers a 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

The changes in elevation provide for a wide variety of vegetation, ranging from high alpine forests to stands of aspens and cottonwoods to dry, brushy slopes.

Directions from Vail: West Trailhead: Follow I-70 west to the Minturn exit (#171). Travel south for 2.5 miles to Cemetery Road in Minturn. (This is the only bridge across the river in the town). Turn left on Cemetery Road and continue on the road to the fork. Take the right fork, where the road forks again, take the left fork and follow this to the end of the road.

Directions from Beaver Creek: West Trailhead: Follow I-70 east to the Minturn exit (#171). Travel south for 2.5 miles to Cemetery Road in Minturn. (This is the only bridge across the river in the town). Turn left on Cemetery Road and continue on the road to the fork. Take the right fork, where the road forks again, take the left fork and follow this to the end of the road.

Directions from Vail: East Trailhead: Travel east on I-70 approximately 4 miles to exit 180, the East Vail exit. Turn right (south) from the off-ramp onto a frontage road. Follow the frontage road to the road closure gate, approximately 2 miles. This is the start of Vail Pass Trail, a paved path. The east end of the Two Elk Trail can be accessed approximately 2 miles up the Vail Pass Trail. No motorized vehicles are permitted on the Vail Pass Trail.

Directions from Beaver Creek: East Trailhead: Travel east on I-70 to the east Vail exit, (#180). Turn right (south) from the off-ramp onto a frontage road. Follow the frontage road to the road closure gate, approximately 2 miles. This is the start of Vail Pass Trail, a paved path. The east end of the Two Elk Trail can be accessed approximately 2 miles up the Vail Pass Trail. No motorized vehicles are permitted on the Vail Pass Trail.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Summer through Early Fall (NOTE: Closed from May 6th to July 1 annually. The area is closed for the protection of elk during calving season. This also includes the backbowls of Vail and the new Blue Sky Basin ski area expansion) .



Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Closed till July 1, 2001 for resource protection. Updated: 2001-06-13 11:28:00.0


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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking
Yes
ICON Hiking & Walking
Yes
ICON Horseback Riding
Yes
ICON Mountain Biking This ride includes a difficult climb to Two Elk Pass and a challenging singletrack downhill. Riders will probably want to leave a shuttle vehicle at the Minturn end of the trail.
Yes



Related Activities
Gore Creek Campground - This campground sits along Gore Creek, just east of Vail, at an elevation of 8700 feet.

Upper Eagle River General Forest Area - The Upper Eagle River General Forest Area includes most of the area from Minturn, south to Tennessee Pass.

Vail - Vail is the largest single-mountain ski area in North America. Its back bowls are legendary. The town offers outstanding dining, shopping and lodging.

Vail Pass Trail - The Vail Pass Trail is a paved recreation trail. It runs from Vail, over Vail Pass to Copper Mountain, where it links to the Tenmile Trail.



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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