Lifes Adventures

Sweetwater-FDT 1854

 

Difficulty:                  Moderate

Trail Use:                  High

Length:                     7.28 miles

Elevation:                 Starts at 8270 ft, ends at 9756 ft, highest point 9796 ft

Elevation Gain          +1486 feet

Open To:                  Hiking, horseback riding, motorcycles

 

Access :   Travel west on I-70 from Eagle for 13 miles to the Dotsero exit and follow the signs for Sweetwater/Burns by turning north onto Colorado River Rd. Travel for 7 miles and turn left onto Sweetwater Creek Rd. and travel for another 11.5 miles until you reach the cabins for the Sweetwater Wilderness Ranch where parking is available.   The trailhead is another 1/4 mile up a 4-wheel drive only road that leads to Hilltop Ranch, where there is also another small parking area, go through the gate and travel on Turret Creek-FDT 1832 for 1/4 mile to the junction with Sweetwater-FDT 1854.

 
Trail Highlights :   This fairly level, easy-to-follow trail follows the north rim of Sweetwater Canyon, beginning as a slight uphill grade through scrub oak and sagebrush and entering aspen interspersed with grassy meadows at about 2 miles.   The trail descends at 3 miles to cross Sweetwater Creek, there is no bridge, and so crossing on foot can be difficult during high runoff.   After the creek crossing, the trail climbs up through aspen mixed with fir and large meadows, before leveling out and crossing a south-facing slope.   The trail continues through aspen/fir for the next 2 miles before reaching some beaver ponds at the head of Dry Sweetwater Creek, and then ending at Indian Camp Pass and connecting with Trappers Lake-FDT 1816 and Coffee Pot Rd., FDR 600.   This trail offers beautiful views of the snow-capped peaks of the Sawach Range, Sweetwater Lake and Canyon, and the high cliffs of the Flat Tops.   Various species of wildlife are often visible during the early morning or evening hours along the trail such as mule deer, elk, black bear, coyotes, pocket gophers, mountain bluebirds, and house wrens.

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