Cross Creek Out-and-Back
ElevationAscent: 1,759' 536 m
Descent: -1,759' -536 m
High: 9,728' 2,965 m
Low: 8,474' 2,583 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 50% (27°)
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“This is a lengthy romp along the creek & behind Mt. Holy Cross with early wildflowers & fall colors.”— Megan W
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 run 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 runners 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, run 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. Run 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.
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Land Manager: USFS - White River - Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District