4.5 miles (one way)
Trail Use: Moderate
Open To: XC Skiing, Snowshoe, Snowmobile
Ending Elevation: 9,756 feet
USGS Map(s): Minturn
Access from Vail
: Travel west on I-70 to Exit 171 for Minturn, Leadville, and Hwy 24. Exit here and turn right (south). Just past the interstate, there is a large parking lot on the right. The trail begins from the south end of the parking lot near the white house.
From the trailhead sign, follow the old road that winds behind the white house at the end of the parking lot. This road climbs gradually through large open meadows, aspen, and spruce-fir forests. The open nature of
Mountain has required that the road be marked with poles and arrows. The climb is gradual, but constant. At mile 2.4, the road will split. Stay straight here; do not go left. You will know you are getting close when you hit the straightest and most difficult climb on the route. The line shack is a small cabin that lies at the end of the trail. The line shack offers a good place for lunch and a vantage point of some views of the
Range and Beaver Creek ski area. The extensive open meadows and ski runs from the old Meadow Mountain Ski Area offer good chances for some cross-country downhill skiing. The less advanced skier may choose to follow the road back down. Especially challenging are the three steep ski runs which end up at the trailhead.
This area was home to ever crisp Lettuce farming back in the 1920s until they realized that they could grow lettuce year-round in
California. Between 1964 and 1971 the property was owned by Jack Oleson and managed as a downhill ski area. It brought attention to the large area from Minturn to McCoy Creek and brought Vail Associates into the picture in 1969. They purchased the Oleson property in 1971, but ended up developing Beaver Creek, four miles to the west, shortly after. And the area finally became public land in 1979, when the United States Forest Service acquired the land from Vail Associates