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A scenic out and back in the Cross Creek drainage behind Mt. Holy Cross with early wildflowers, fall colors.


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Map Key

5.1

Miles

8.1

KM

89%

Runnable

9,061' 2,762 m

High

8,477' 2,584 m

Low

723' 220 m

Up

723' 220 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

18%

Max Grade (10°)

Dogs Leashed

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.

Runner Notes

Pretty rocky and rooty, good shade for most of the route.

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 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.

Flora & Fauna

Aspens! Signs at trailhead warn about bears in the area- be sure to use bear-resistant containers for food and other attractants.

Contacts

Shared By:

Megan W with improvements by Sam Chipkin

Trail Ratings

  3.8 from 8 votes

#2

in Minturn

#3810

Overall
  3.8 from 8 votes
5 Star
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1 Star
13%
Recommended Route Rankings

#2

in Minturn

#558

in Colorado

#3,810

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Photos

Looking across the valley towards Battle Mountain
Oct 1, 2015 near Minturn, CO
One of the places you can visit the creek
Oct 1, 2015 near Minturn, CO
Nice stand of aspen trees along this section of trail
Oct 1, 2015 near Minturn, CO
Brilliant fall colors against the blue Colorado sky
Oct 1, 2015 near Minturn, CO
Taking a snack break on the large rock slabs
Oct 1, 2015 near Minturn, CO
The begining of the Cross Creek Trail passes by several enormous boulders
Oct 1, 2015 near Minturn, CO

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