Features: Fall Colors — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs
This trail, newly constructed in summer 2016, is a welcome addition to the Mid-Vail running options. The lollipop shaped loop can be completed in either direction, but when done in the counter-clockwise direction, the first half is on enjoyable singletrack, whereas the second half is on fairly rutted doubletrack. This less-than-ideal trail surface is well compensated for by the spectacular wildflowers and views.
From Gondola One at mid-Vail, proceed southeast towards The 10th Restaurant. Midway between the gondola structure and The 10th is a signed path leading uphill to the west. The initial 50 feet on the nearby Kinnickinnick
Trail have been re-routed to share with the beginning of the Meadows Loop Trail. Signs at the junction direct Meadows Loop runners steeply uphill to the west and the Kinnickinnick
runners southwards behind the The 10th Restaurant.
Climb the moderately steep switchbacks up the open ski run, but don't despair - the trail mellows considerably after this short, dispiriting section. Duck into the woods and then back out again to arrive at a signed junction. This is where the "stem" of the lollipop meets the "head" of the lollipop. Head to the right to do the loop in the preferred, counterclockwise direction. Pass through pretty wooded dales and past modest rock ledges. Being a newly constructed trail, the surface is still lumpy, and the narrow path still has some vegetation growing on it.
Contour along the hillside, crossing several ski runs covered with wildflowers. Duck into a lushly technicolor-green section of forest before arriving at a wide cat-track and junction with the Grand Escape
Trail. If you need to bail out, you can reach Eagle's Nest by taking the Grand Escape
downhill towards the west. To complete the Meadows Loop Trail, follow the signs uphill, sharing the path with the Grand Escape
Trail for about 1/4 mile. Signs at the fork direct Meadows Loop Trail runners to the left and move gently downhill. The next highly scenic section is surely where this trail gets its name - marvel at the Gore Range and the glorious fields of wildflowers in all directions.
Soon the dirt road widens and becomes more eroded. Descend around a few rocky bends and keep an eye out for the marmots who make this dry area their home. Soon after going under the Wildwood ski lift, the Meadows Loop Trail turns sharply to the left and enters the forest. After entering the woods, the now narrow trail gets lumpier, twisting around rock formations and through gullies. Upon emerging onto one last open ski run, you come to the original signed junction - you've just completed the "head" of the lollipop and need to retrace your steps downhill along the switchbacking "stem" of the lollipop to Mid-Vail.
Marmots, deer, wildflowers.