BOWMAN’S SHORTCUT TRAIL #1851
4.2 miles (one way)
Trail Use: Moderate
Open To: Hiking, Biking, Horseback
Ending Elevation: 10,987 ft.
USGS Map(s): Red Cliff
Access from Vail
: Drive west on I-70 to exit 190 for
Pass. Turn west onto a good dirt road,
Shrine Pass Road #709. At mile 2.3, you will pass the road for the Shrine Mountain Inn on the left and at mile 3.7; you will pass the Holy Cross Scenic Viewing Deck (known as Julia’s Deck) with a wheelchair access ramp. At mile 3.9, turn right onto
Lime Creek Road #728. You will pass
Timber Creek Road #712 on the right at mile 4.4 and reach the trailhead on the right at mile 4.7.
The trail starts level then climbs gently up to views of the
Range and Ten Mile Range. Emerge from woods to a large open meadow where the faint trail is followed north-northwest making sure to keep the
Range in view to your right. A wooden marker at the end of the meadow shows where the trail leaves the meadow. Pass a trail sign and proceed downhill right into the trees, climb a short bit, then descend quickly to Two Elk Pass. A sign here points out Two Elk Trail west 9 miles to Minturn or east 1.7 miles to the Old Vail Pass/Vail Pass Recreation Trail. Take time to enjoy the views here before returning.
This trail can also be used in conjunction with the Two Elk Trail in several ways. For those wishing to hike the Two Elk Trail from east to west, using the Bowman’s Shortcut Trail, instead of the Two Elk Trail’s east trailhead, eliminates the very steep eastern end of Two Elk Trail which rises 1800 feet in two miles from the Vail Pass Recreation Trail. Another option is to hike Bowman’s and take the Two Elk Trail east from
Pass and then down to a second car at the trailhead for the Vail Pass Recreation Trail.