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Cross Creek Out-and-Back

Intermediate/Difficult
 3.7 (6) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

This is a lengthy romp along the creek & behind Mt. Holy Cross with early wildflowers & fall colors.


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Map Key

10.6

Miles

17.1

KM

Out and Back

9,728' 2,965 m

High

8,474' 2,583 m

Low

1,759' 536 m

Up

1,759' 536 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (4°)

50%

Max Grade (27°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers

No mountain bikes or motorized vehicles. Horses allowed. Dogs must either be leashed or under voice control. Access road closed Nov-June (also known as Tigiwon Rd., Notch Mountain Rd., #707).

Overview

The Cross Creek Trail roughly follows Cross Creek, behind Mount of the Holy Cross to the headwaters about 13 miles away - this description is for the first 5 miles which are the most popular. For a full stats and information on the trail, check out the Cross Creek Trail #2006 page.

Description

After an initial descent from the trailhead, the path winds among a surprising array of enormous boulders and smooth domes. Scattered along the length of this trail there are pockets of aspen trees that turn a brilliant yellow in September. In the first mile, a couple of side trails provide access to the rushing creek for wading or fishing.

Continuously undulating, this trail has many distinct micro-areas, each with its own feel: from open valley vistas to mossy damp forest, to alpine swampland. You never stay in one zone or hike on the level for long. Hop across a couple of small side streams and enter a larger meadow. Here, at about 1.25 miles from the trailhead, is a wooden sign directing hikers to the bridge crossing and horses to a different ford. The robustly constructed bridge is at a pleasant spot and serves as a turn-around point for some. If you are continuing on from the bridge, hike to the right (downstream) for a few steps and pick up the path again after a steep set of rock stairs. A huge rock cairn at the top shows the way. Shortly, the horse track rejoins the foot traffic path.

Continuing up-valley, you soon come across a series of large rock slabs. The trail threads across these, sometimes aided by cairns. Being one of the more open spots along the trail, this is another pretty spot for a snack or a potential turn-around. Next comes one of the larger stands of aspen, soon followed by the appearance of a "lake" at about 2.6 miles.

This low spot collects enough water to sustain pretty marshy plants and waterfowl. Hike through more aspens and meadows to get impressive side-on views of Mount of the Holy Cross. After a steep ascent to navigate below some cliffs, cross a few small side streams and continue upwards. Eventually, the Cross Creek Trail intersects with the Martin Creek Trail below Grouse Mountain. This is another reasonable turn-around spot, although the Cross Creek Trail continues further into the Holy Cross Wilderness eventually ending near Blodgett Lake.

Flora & Fauna

Aspens! Signs at trailhead warn about bears in the area- be sure to use bear-resistant containers for food and other attractants.

Contacts

Shared By:

Megan W

Trail Ratings

  3.7 from 6 votes

#1

in Minturn

#3606

Overall
  3.7 from 6 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
17%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
17%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Minturn

#437

in Colorado

#3,606

Overall
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7,938 Since Sep 30, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Marshy "lake" along the Cross Creek Trail
Oct 1, 2015 near Minturn, CO
Looking across the valley towards Battle Mountain
Oct 1, 2015 near Minturn, CO
Hikers enjoying the Cross Creek Trail in early fall
Oct 1, 2015 near Minturn, CO
Traveling over the rock slabs
Oct 1, 2015 near Minturn, CO
Brilliant fall colors against the blue Colorado sky
Oct 1, 2015 near Minturn, CO
One of the places you can visit the creek
Oct 1, 2015 near Minturn, CO

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Check-Ins

Sep 2, 2018
Michael Johnson
10.6mi
Jun 17, 2018
Tricia B
We loved our experience on the Lower Cross Creek Trail today. Made it just past the wide open scenic viewpoint. Our kids (ages 8,6&3), did great here. 6mi — 5h 00m