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Holy Cross Wilderness (Holy Cross District Section)


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Holy Cross Wilderness (Holy Cross District Section)
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General Information

Close-up view of Mount of the Holy Cross
Copyright: - US Forest Service
Close-up view of Mount of the Holy Cross
Description - The Holy Cross Ranger District portion of the Holy Cross Wilderness lies to the southwest of Vail and Minturn. The different trails are accessed from either U.S. Highway 24, Tigiwon Road or Homestake Road.

Elevations within the wilderness range from 8,000 to over 14,000 feet. These elevations support lodgepole pine, Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, aspen, and spruce/fir vegetation communities, as well as alpine tundra above 11,500 feet. One-third of the wilderness is above tree line, with the Continental Divide forming its southern boundary. The area contains a myriad of creeks and lakes. 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 Thoreau

This wilderness, located on the White River and Pike and San Isabel National Forests, derives its name from its key landmark, Mount of the Holy Cross. High on the the northeast face of this peak lies a deep crevice, which retains snow longer than other crevices and appears as a "Latin" cross from a distance. The area was first made famous by photographer William Henry Jackson in 1873.

Elevations within the wilderness range from 8,000 to over 14,000 feet. These elevations support lodgepole pine, Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, aspen, and spruce/fir vegetation communities, as well as alpine tundra above 11,500 feet. One-third of the wilderness is above tree line, with the Continental Divide forming its southern boundary. The area contains a myriad of creeks and lakes. There are many constructed trails available for travel through this rugged terrain, which offers moderate to difficult hikes.

Recreation - Recreation opportunities within the Holy Cross Wilderness are restricted to activities using non-motorized and non-mechanized devices. Hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, fishing, photography, ski touring and cross-country skiing are a few of the activities that may be enjoyed in this vast area.

Climate - Weather patterns change quickly in the high country. 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, even 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 Holy Cross Wilderness encompasses 123,410 acres in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains of Central Colorado. It lies south of Interstate 70 between Minturn and Edwards. Highway 24 is a major thoroughfare that provides access to trailheads on the eastern side of the region.


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More Information

Contact Information:
Holy Cross Ranger District, P.O. Box 190, 24747 US HWY 24 , Minturn, CO, 81645, Phone: 970-827-5715

Additional Information:
Beaver Creek Area - Beaver Creek is a resort community located 10 miles west of Vail in Colorado's central mountains. This area is loaded with outstanding outdoor recreation attractions, many of which are found on the surrounding White River National Forest.
Colorado Wilderness Areas - Some of the most spectacular terrain in Colorado is preserved within Colorado's extensive system of Wilderness Areas.
Holy Cross Ranger District - The Holy Cross Ranger District surrounds the towns of Vail, Minturn and Avon. It includes the northern reaches of the Sawatch Range and the western flank of the Gore Range.
Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway - Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway leads through amazing mountain scenery, past the two highest peaks in Colorado, through Leadville, the highest incorporated town in the United States, and into pieces of Colorado history.
Vail Area - The Vail Area includes the upper Eagle River Valley in Eagle County, Colorado. The area is approximately 100 miles west of Denver, on the west side of Vail Pass and the Gore Range.

Links:
Leave No Trace - Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics
Vail Portal - Local news and information from Vail, plus links to other local businesses.

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