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Grouse Mountain Loop

Difficult
  3.8 ( 4 ) Favorite

Trail

27.9 mile 44.9 kilometer point to point
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 5,936' 1,809 m
Descent: -5,952' -1,814 m
High: 11,975' 3,650 m
Low: 7,663' 2,336 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 27% (15°)

Dogs

Unknown
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Trail shared by Dan Findley

A long, epic loop with lots of elevation.

Dan Findley

Features Fall Colors · Lake · Views · Wildlife

Overview

Grouse Creek, Grouse Mountain, Turquoise lakes, Beaver Lake, Royal Elk Trail, Paulie's Plunge....this route has it all!

Need to Know

You can find water on most of the route except on the pass.

Description

A good place to park would be the Meadow Mountain trailhead.

Follow the Meadow Mountain fire road for a mile or two until you get to the switchbacks; follow the singletrack through the middle or stay on the road and take your first left turn once you hit the trees. Take this road down to Grouse Creek and take a right to follow the West Grouse Creek Trail.

You'll follow the creek and climb for 6 miles until you top out at the pass. Along the way ,the trail varies in steepness all while being within sight of the creek. About .5 miles from the pass, the trail dissolves into the grass as you pop out above treeline. Follow the cairns to the ridgeline.

From the ridgeline, decide if you want an even more epic hike and hit the summit of Grouse Mountain to your left. If not, head down the west side of the pass along the now visible trail.

This two mile downhill will become steep at times on a rocky trail.

At the bottom of the descent, you'll come up to a junction. Head up the creek and cross it if you'd like to make the short one mile round trip to Upper Turquoise Lake which is one of the nicest lakes in the area.

From back at the junction, head down the valley. In 3.5 miles, you'll pass Beaver Lake.

A short distance down from Beaver Lake, you'll get to the junction of the Royal Elk Trail. This trail traverses the ski slopes of Grouse Mountain and Birds of Prey. Stay on this trail until you reach Spruce Saddle.

From Spuce Saddle, take the fire road (Cinch) down until you reach the trailhead for Paulie's Plunge.

From the base of Paulie's Plunge, take the road down to the Willow Creek pitch and putt. Go around (or through) the golf course to the Whiskey Creek Alternate trail. Take this up and down the bottom section of the Whiskey Creek Trail.

You'll pass through the tunnel and back on US-6. Take the bike path back to your car. Take a breath, go get a beer, and celebrate your epic loop.

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We need help with the following missing trail information:

Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Dogs Allowed, Flora & Fauna, History & Background

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Check-Ins

Aug 1, 2019
Chris Nebinger
Jul 21, 2019
Stephen K
Aug 20, 2018
David Janssens

Trail Ratings

  3.8 from 4 votes

#6

in Vail

#2932

Overall
  3.8 from 4 votes
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Featured Hike Rankings

#6

in Vail

#404

in Colorado

#2,932

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6,305 Since Apr 17, 2017
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Photos

Nice fern glen on Rose Pedal
Mar 23, 2015 near Minturn, CO
Upper Turquoise Lake.
Apr 17, 2017 near Avon, CO
Looking west down to Turquoise Lakes from the Grouse Creek Trail.
Apr 17, 2017 near Avon, CO
Beaver Lake is a nice spot to have a lunch, watch for wildlife, and listen to nature.
May 19, 2017 near Avon, CO
The Grouse Creek Trail heads through the cliffs.
Apr 17, 2017 near Minturn, CO
A small creek crossing along the Grouse Creek Trail.
Apr 17, 2017 near Minturn, CO

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