This loop has a bit of everything: a long grind up a dirt road through open meadows, a little historic cabin, a fabulous descent through a large aspen forest, and a little paved bike path to get you back where you started.
The 2,000+ climb starts right from the parking lot up the doubletrack Line Shack
trail, and doesn't end until you get to the high point, at an old "line shack" that appears to be frequently used as a winter hideaway. There's a wood stove and primitive sleep & cooking space. Along the way you'll pass through serene meadows with great views and shady aspen groves.
From there, the singletrack begins down Whiskey Creek
, and you have 4 miles of enjoyable descending through the aspen forest. The trail is a little rutted in places, but not bad. Near the end, as you approach the highway, the trail forks. The straight-ish (right) option goes down a rocky steep ravine to the highway, where you'll find an underpass to the bike path. The marked route goes this way. The left fork (Whiskey Creek Alternate
) goes towards the Eagle Vail Homestake K8 school, and will make your return to the car a couple miles longer.
In the 1920's, the meadows were the property of the Evercrisp Lettuce Company (Can you believe it- Minturn was "the lettuce capital of America").