Cross Creek Trail Horseback Riding

Near Eagle, the Cross Creek Trail (#1855) is a 6.5 mile one-way route open to horseback riding. The Cross Creek trail runs parallel to Sweetwater Canyon and quickly drops down into a lush aspen forest in the first 1/2 mile and crosses Lake Creek, before ascending a steep sagebrush and scrub oak hill. At the Lake Creek crossing there is a short steep offshoot from the trail that takes you to a small privately owned cave where visitors are welcome. The cave entrance has charcoal pictographs of horses and bison made by the Ute Indians over 150-200 years ago (Please be respectful of the pictographs). At about 2 1/2 miles the trail forks, follow the right fork heading along the same direction as the canyon, to the left is Prospect- FDT 1867, this will lead you back to the Ute Trail - FDT 2031. As the trail enters a large wet meadow, it becomes faint, but continues again straight across near an aspen group, from this point on the trail is fairly level passing through spruce/ fir forests with some aspen. After crossing the Dry Sweetwater Creek the trail ends connecting onto Sweetwater- FDT 1854, this trail can be utilized to return back to the Sweetwater Lake area, about 2 miles northwest of Sweetwater Campground. Early summer is the best time to find excellent displays of lupine, white and purple peavine, flax, sulfur flowers, wild geraniums, locoweed and scarlet gilia.

To reach the trailhead from Eagle, Eagle, travel west on I-70 for 13 miles to the Dotsero exit. Follow the signs for Sweetwater, turning north onto the Colorado River Rd. Follow this road for 7 miles. Turn left onto Sweetwater Creek Rd. and travel 10.5 miles until you get to the Sweetwater Campground. The trail is accessed by using the Ute Trail, FDT 2031 for a 1/4 mile.

MORE INFORMATION

Local Contact(s):  White River National Forest (970) 328-6388; CO Visitors (800) COLORADO; Vail Tourism (970) 479-1394.

Best Season:  Jun. - Oct.

Average Difficulty:  Moderate

Base Camp:  Park Meadows Lodge w/ hot tub (970) 476-5598; Black Bear Inn (970) 476-1304

Luxury Loding:  Sonnenalp Resort (800) 654-8312; Cordillera (800) 87RELAX; Vail Cascade Resort (800) 420-2424

Breakfast Restaurant:  Daily Grind, Vail

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