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Eagles Nest Wilderness (East Side)


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Eagles Nest Wilderness (East Side)
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General Information

Upper Cataract Lake, Eagles Nest Wilderness
Copyright: - US Forest Service
Upper Cataract Lake, Eagles Nest Wilderness
Description - The Eagles Nest Wilderness straddles the Gore Range. The western portion of the wilderness area lies in the Holy Cross Ranger District and the eastern portion lies in the Dillon Ranger District.

Eagles Nest is dominated by the Gore Range, a chain of sharp peaks, rugged escarpments and glaciated valleys, forming a rock backbone of wilderness. Elevations range from 7,850 feet on the Piney River to 13,534 feet at the top of Mount Powell. There are 17 peaks over 13,000 feet and 33 peaks over 12,000 feet. At the lower elevations on the east side and in the Piney River drainage on the west, are open parks, broad valleys, and densely forested slopes. There are many constructed trails available for travel through this rugged terrain, which offers moderate to difficult hikes.

Attractions - "IN WILDNESS IS THE PRESERVATION OF THE WORLD." Henry David Thoreau

Designated as wilderness in 1976, Eagles Nest totals 133,496 acres. Eagles Nest is dominated by the Gore Range, a chain of sharp peaks, rugged escarpments and glaciated valleys, forming a rock backbone of wilderness. Elevations range from 7,850 feet on the Piney River to 13,534 feet at the top of Mount Powell. There are 17 peaks over 13,000 feet and 33 peaks over 12,000 feet. At the lower elevations on the east side and in the Piney River drainage on the west, are open parks, broad valleys, and densely forested slopes. There are many constructed trails available for travel through this rugged terrain, which offers moderate to difficult hikes.

Recreation - Backpacking, hiking and horseback riding are the primary recreation activities in the Eagles Nest Wilderness. As in all wilderness areas no mechanized or motorized vehicles are permitted within the area boundaries. The following trailheads access the east side of the wilderness: Wheeler Lakes, North Tenmile, Meadow Creek, Mesa Cortina, Willow Lakes, Lily Pad, Rock Creek, Boulder Lake, Cataract Lake, Surprise and Eaglesmere.

The following U.S. Forest Service quadrangle maps cover different portions of Eagles Nest Wilderness: Piney Peak , Mt. Powell, Squaw Creek, Willow Lakes, Vail East, Vail West, Red Cliff, Vail Pass, Dillon, and Frisco. The White River National Forest Map is also a good resource to have, although I would not carry it on a backcountry excursion. Any of these maps can be purchased at district offices or outdoor recreation shops.

PERMITS: There are no permits required at this time.

"Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of like." John Muir

Climate - Weather patterns change quickly. Warm sunny days can turn into powerful electrical storms. Temperatures below freezing and snowfall can occur any month of the year. Be prepared for snow in August!
Afternoon thunderstorms often form in the summer. In case of lightning, move down from high ground (below tree line). Avoid ridge tops and open meadows. Think ahead and get to safe areas before the storm hits.

Location - The Eagles Nest Wilderness is located in the Gore Range directly north of Vail Pass. The southern boundary of the wilderness is adjacent to the Interstate 70 corridor which connects the towns of Vail, Dillon and Silverthorne.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Kim Fenske (Copper Mountain, CO)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: The Eagles Nest Wilderness Area has many day-trip hikes, typically a few hours of ascent and a couple of hours down. Several wonderful trailheads, Surprise, Eaglesmere, and Lower Cataract Lake exist on Cataract Lake Road immediately south of Heeney in Summit County. For more information, search Amazon.com Kindle books for Greatest Hikes in Central Colorado or Barnes and Noble Nook books for Eagles Nest Wilderness Area. Both of these books are available for download to personal computer or electronic-readers.

Filed By: Kim Fenske (Copper Mountain, CO)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: The northeast portion of the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area is filled with beautiful lakes, streams, and waterfalls. In mid-June, the trails are usually accessible to 10,000 feet. Fall aspen meadows provide excellent scenery. Wildflowers are thick. Mosquitoes are usually few before July and after August. For additional information and photographs, view my web-site: http://www.fenskefoto.com/index.html

Filed By: Kristina (Denver, CO)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I did the loop: Surprise - Gore - Eaglesmere. 5 hours not rushing. Lots of mosquitos so be prepared. The hike was a good one..coming down Eaglesmere was beautiful: lots of meadows and Aspen. I didn't stop too long as the mosquitos were awful.


More Information

Contact Information:
Dillon Ranger District, 680 River Parkway, P.O. Box 620 , Silverthorne, CO, 80498, Phone: 970-468-5400

Additional Information:
Dillon Area - Dillon is located in Summit County, Colorado. Dillon is approximately 70 miles west of Denver, just west of the Eisenhower Tunnel and the Continental Divide.
Dillon Ranger District - The Dillon Ranger District includes much of Summit County, Colorado; the area surrounding Silverthorne, Dillon, and Breckenridge. The district lies along the western side of the Continental Divide.
Eagles Nest Wilderness - The Eagles Nest Wilderness straddles the Gore Range. The western portion of the wilderness area lies in the Holy Cross Ranger District and the eastern portion lies in the Dillon Ranger District.
Summit County Area - Summit County, Colorado is a recreational mecca that includes the area surrounding Silverthorne, Dillon, Frisco and Breckenridge. Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapaho Basin and Copper Mountain ski areas are located in this area.

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Leave No Trace - Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics

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