When you are looking for a workout with great views close to Edwards, it's hard to beat this circle tour of Berry Creek. A somewhat strenuous uphill takes your north and well back from the more heavily traveled areas, and you could extend to the top of the ridge for more northern views. At the top the views are extensive and substantially unblocked.
Be sure to book some time to complete the loop, but you won't be disappointed.
There are a few creeks but no other water sources - some grazing in the area so purify.
This is a beautiful tour along the east and west ridges framing Berry Creek.
Start at the Mesquite Trailhead on Charolais Circle in Singletree (or the minor trailhead on Mesquite Drive). At the top of the popular Mesquite Trail
take a right on FS 774 and continue up. When you encounter a closed FS road (open to foot and horse traffic) about 0.4 miles along that takes off steeply to the left, head on up.
From this point follow the various branching trails and roads up the ridge staying close to the GPS track. At around 3 miles the road/trail remains distinct but the obstacles to prevent motorized traffic increase. Near 4 miles at the top of a steep section there is a memorial cross to an Alicia—quite a feat to carry a steel object to this point along with cement.
From 4-6 miles, the road remains visible but the obstacles increase even more. This is the toughest part of the adventure that can be conquered with a little patience and care. At about mile 6 things open up as you cross through a rail fence and onto an open FS road.
Follow the GPS track up the roads and starting around the corner towards a higher ridge until an unmarked trail drops off to the left nearest mile 7 (you'll have a lot of variance depending on how you navigate the section between 4-6). Follow this across the side of the ridge, down several hills - some steep - until it begins to curve back south and up the hill. You'll pass through a few ranching fences. At the crest of the ridge take the FS road to the left and continue up to the high point of this section.
Views from here are amazing. To the east Vail Mountain and the Ten Mile Range (back of Breckenridge), the Mosquito Range down to Mt. Sherman and Mt. Sheridan, Notch Mountain
and Mt. of the Holy Cross
, Mt. Jackson and New York Mountain are nearby, Capital and Snowmass down near Aspen, and of course Beaver Creek and Arrowhead front and center.
From here, it's downhill for quite a while following FS roads down the ridge, past the power lines, and around the corner down towards Berry Creek. At this point you'll probably encounter mountain bikers and a few hikers. Keep going down to the junction with 774. Take a left and continue around the hairpin and up to the top of Mesquite Trail
. Head downhill to the end of the circle tour.
There can be a lot up this way since past mile 3 it is lightly used. Deer, elk, grouse, likely bear and lion, and pretty much everything that the area supports will be here. I have heard coyotes during the winter in this area.
In wildflower season this is spectacular with large fields of flowers. In fall large portions of the area are covered with aspens providing a sparkling yellow backdrop.