5.23.2004

Game Creek Trail

Well now that I got paid from my new job, I have joined the digital camera revolution. I'll have to try and get myself a web address so I can post pictures for all to see. My first hike with the new camera took place on Saturday. I hiked the Game Creek Trail, which rises out of the north end of Minturn, on the back-side of Vail. The trail starts out along the creek through a narrow canyon with aspens on the left, and conifers on the right. There are a few steep sections, but for the most part the trail along the creek is pretty mellow. As you rise you start to get views in front of the Game Creek Bowl at Vail (which still had a little snow), and behind you are some of the trails at Beaver Creek. At about 9,000 feet the trail takes a quick left and quickly rises. After about 1,000 vertical feet of lung burning hiking (after all, I am still adjusting the altitude), the trail reaches the ridge at about 10,000 feet. The ridge opens up to a beautiful meadow that in a few months will surely be crawling with wildflowers (and picnic-ers). There is even a picnic table at the top, perfectly positioned for maximum views. The view from the ridge is spectacular, you can see the aforementioned ski resorts, as well as Grouse Mtn and Mt of The Holy Cross (14,005 feet). You can also see all they way down to the valley and the towns of Avon and Edwards. From here, you can continue another 1/2 mile to the Eagles Nest, which is the top of Vail ski resort. At this spot you also get some great views of the Gore Range, which is across the Valley from Vail.

The hike took a little over 2 hours to go up, and about 1 1/2 to get back down. On the way down, the trail lived up to its name, I saw 3 mule deer having an afternoon snack of meadow grass. If the climb is too much, you can get to the same ridge via the Eagle Bahn gondola at Vail in the summer, just hike down to west of the gondola and you'll see the meadow! I think of the hikes I have done so far, this one had the best views, and I would highly recommend any summer visitors to give it a try!