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Holy Cross Ranger District


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Eagles Nest Wilderness (West Side)- The Eagles Nest Wilderness straddles the Gore Range. The western portion of the wilderness area lies in the Holy Cross Ranger District and the eastern portion lies in the Dillon Ranger District.
Holy Cross Wilderness (Holy Cross District Section)- The Holy Cross Ranger District portion of the Holy Cross Wilderness lies to the southwest of Vail and Minturn. The different trails are accessed from either U.S. Highway 24, Tigiwon Road or Homestake Road.

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General Information

Mount of the Holy Cross
Copyright: - US Forest Service
Mount of the Holy Cross
Description -

The Holy Cross Ranger District surrounds the towns of Vail, Minturn and Avon. It includes the northern reaches of the Sawatch Range and the western flank of the Gore Range.

The Holy Cross District has 225 miles of Forest Service trails. These trails offer a variety of opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and, in winter, cross-country skiing.

Recreation opportunities abound on the Holy Cross Ranger District. The district is home to the well known ski resorts of Vail and Beaver Creek. Roughly 35 percent of the district is designated Wilderness and includes major portions of the Holy Cross and Eagle's Nest Wildernesses. Five huts operated by the Tenth Mountain Hut Association along with their associated trail systems are found on the district. Camp Hale, a World War II winter training site now on the National Register of Historic Places, is situated toward the south end of the district.

Attractions - Recreation opportunities abound on the Holy Cross Ranger District. The district is home to the well known ski resorts of Vail and Beaver Creek. Roughly 35 percent of the district is designated Wilderness and includes major portions of the Holy Cross and Eagle's Nest Wildernesses. Five huts operated by the Tenth Mountain Hut Association along with their associated trail systems are found on the district. Camp Hale, a World War II winter training site now on the National Register of Historic Places, is situated toward the south end of the district.

Recreation - The Holy Cross District has 225 miles of Forest Service trails. These trails offer a variety of opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and, in winter, cross-country skiing.

Six developed campgrounds are located on the district. These campgrounds offer varying levels of services. Backcountry and dispersed camping opportunities also exist. Be sure to follow the backcountry and dispersed camping regulations, and Leave No Trace principles to ensure the next forest visitor an equal experience.

Downhill skiing is overwhelmingly the most popular winter recreation activity on the district. The other very popular winter activities include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. The Tenth Mountain Hut System provides a hut-to-hut trail system for cross-country skiing. Great snowmobiling exists in many of the non-wilderness portions of the area. The Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area includes many of the most heavily used snowmobile and cross-country ski trails.

Climate - Elevations range from 7,200 feet, in the valleys, to 14,005 feet, on Mount of the Holy Cross. Vegetation includes sagebrush meadows at lower elevations, aspen and lodgepole pine at intermediate elevations, Engelmann spruce/subalpine fir forests above about 10,000 feet and alpine tundra at the highest elevations.

In the valley bottoms, around the towns of Vail and Minturn, summer high temperatures extend into the low 80s, with cool evenings that can often dip into the 30s. Winter lows occasionally dip to minus 35 degrees, though daytime temperatures are often in the 20s to 30s. The relative humidity is quite low throughout the year. The average annual precipitation is about 30 inches and much of it comes in the form of winter snow. In the higher elevations, significantly lower temperatures and more precipitation can be expected. Afternoon summer thunderstorms are common. Snow is possible at any time of year in the highest elevations. The high-elevation roads and trails are often not clear of snow until mid-July.

Location - The Holy Cross District lies on the northern extent of the Sawatch Mountain Range and the western flank of the Gore Range, about 100 miles west of Denver. It includes the forest areas surrounding the towns of Vail, Minturn, Red Cliff and Avon. To the north, the district takes in much of the Piney River and Sheephorn Creek drainages.


Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Ranger Tip: Beware of afternoon thunderstorms.

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Christopher Murray (Aurora, co)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I loved the scenry there.I went up there about mid June 2006 and Mid July 2002.I thought the place was magnifysent.I wanted to see Holy Cross City but my velicle was not able to get up the 4X4 trail.The sign said there was 2nd road but I didn't find it. So if someone knows another way up to it came you email me.I really want to see it.Other than that the place was clean lots of hiking, 4X4, and fishing to do up there. Theres alot of stuff you can do.I hope you go see it.

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report:

Filed By: Bill Morgan (Littleton, CO)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Went up to Gold Park camping with a men's retreat from Pathfinders Community Church. I led a 4x4 trip up to Holy Cross City. I was very proud to show off the trail, and all the guys had a great time. Not one piece of trash, the trail was in the best shape I have seen it, and every driver was responsible that we saw that day. Interestingly, the only trash I saw was off a hiking trail in the wilderness. None in the OHV area. I took my first elk in that area and its my most cherished part of Colorado - four wheeling, hunting, hiking, and wilderness is all in that one area.


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Contact Information:
Holy Cross Ranger District, 24747 US HWY 24, P.O. Box 190 , Minturn, CO, 81645, Phone: 970-827-5715, Fax: 970-827-9343

Additional Information:
Beaver Creek Area - Beaver Creek is a resort community located 10 miles west of Vail in Colorado's central mountains. This area is loaded with outstanding outdoor recreation attractions, many of which are found on the surrounding White River National Forest.
Vail Area - The Vail Area includes the upper Eagle River Valley in Eagle County, Colorado. The area is approximately 100 miles west of Denver, on the west side of Vail Pass and the Gore Range.
White River National Forest - The White River National Forest encompasses two and one-quarter million acres of Colorado's central mountains, including many of Colorado's resort destinations.

Links:
Leave No Trace - Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics
VailAlive.com - Local community information guide for the Vail-Beaver Creek area.
White River National Forest - Official Forest Service website.

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