Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Before the start is Big Elk YMCA camp. Please be considerate when passing through. During the summer, camps and/or events may be going on. If possible, come/go early in the day. This is Forest Service leased ground and the FS is the land manager, so even though there is a gate, you can pass through on foot. Do not interfere with camp property. After crossing the gate and bridge, take the dirt road immediately to your left and follow it up to the trailhead. This will bypass most of the camp.
Need to Know
If you are parking at the Blowout Canyon Trail
trailhead to do this in reverse, note that a high clearance vehicle is needed to access that end of the trail. It is 1 mile along the Blowout Canyon Trail
to get to the Quaker Flat trail.
Starting at the Big Elk trailhead parking lot, you'll need to pass through the Big Elk YMCA Camp (see Access Issues for more info) to get to the Quaker Flat trailhead. The first mile is steep and you climb over 1,200 feet in thick tree/brush overgrowth. With only a short flat section at the head of Booth Canyon, you'll turn east and start climbing again for another 800 feet before you crest out with fantastic views of the Palisades Reservoir.
After the 2 mile mark, you'll make your way back into the forest. Soon the quaky aspens start to appear and the terrain is as wonderful as any wild garden. Time the flowers right and you'll have picture-perfect sunrise/sunset backdrops. Mt. Baird can be seen in the distance to the north at this point, until you start a steep downhill section towards Blowout Canyon Trail
Please note there is no water access in Blowout Canyon (or anywhere along this trail) and it can get very hot during the afternoon in the scree/boulder fields. It is easier to start at the YMCA camp and climb up the first mile than to come down it.
Flora & Fauna
A plethora of flowers and plants abound, especially on the Quaker Flat mapped labeled area. Late June/early July are the prime times to hike this trail. Plenty of shade before and after the 2-mile mark. If you are on the sidehill section during the heat of the day, it can be brutal. Signs of elk, deer, and bear have been seen.
Shared By: Jeff Fullmer