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blueBlack Cross Creek Out-and-Back

  3.6 ( 5 ) Favorite

Trail

10.6 mile 17.1 kilometer loop
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 1,759' 536 m
Descent: -1,759' -536 m
High: 9,728' 2,965 m
Low: 8,474' 2,583 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 50% (27°)

Dogs

Off-leash
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Map Key

Trail shared by Megan W

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

Megan W

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.

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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

Trail Ratings

  3.6 from 5 votes

#1

in Minturn

#3386

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  3.6 from 5 votes
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