Two Elk Trail

Consensus:    (details)
  4.5 from 11 votes
black  Difficult from 4 votes
Rank: #2 in the Vail Resort area
#33 in CO, #80 Overall
Views: 6,396. Last 30 days: 488
Condition Details | Update
Jul 31 Green - Dry
Trail in the area near Vail,
“A huge adventure across the mountains making up the back side of Vail.”
Nick Wilder on Oct 10, 2012
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10.016.0 milesKilometers 1,825’556 m Ascent 10,921’3,329 m High 9% Avg Grade (5°)
Singletrack Type -2,927’-892 m Descent 8,031’2,448 m Low 28% Max Grade (15°)
Closed for elk calving from May 6 to July 1.
The trail is very steep and much harder on the east end (from I-70 up to Two Elk Pass). The western portion is considerably easier.

Many loops and epic rides are possible, though most require a shuttle.

From the east trailhead, follow the Old Vail Pass road, now the Vail Pass Recreation Path, 1.8 miles to the junction with the true Two Elk Trailhead on the right. The trail drops from the recreation path to a bridge crossing the Black Gore Creek, then passes under I-70 into the tight Timber Creek canyon which is a cool shady forest alongside the creek. At mile 2.6 the trail makes a sharp right across a third bridge before starting the steepest climb.

From Two Elk Pass, a bunch of trails diverge. Don't worry too much as long as you're on one that is going downhill to the west, under the Mongolia bowls of Vail ski area. Other trails make some other good rides... but that's for another day.

There is evidence of an older version of the Two Elk trail that goes is deeply rutted and goes straight down the drainage. The new trail is now very smooth, easy, well built, and winds around the open meadow.

Continue down, passing the bottom of ski lifts. You'll cross a few roads, but never stay on one for more than 100' or so, and you'll find the singletrack again. You might have to look around in a few places, but it's all there.

Once you leave the ski area behind you, the forest gets thicker and the trail rockier. It follows Two Elk Creek for several more miles of moderate to difficult (due to rocks) until eventually popping out at the valley floor.

You'll be at the end of Cemetary Rd (and a shooting range, which is a little disconcerting after so many miles of backcountry riding). Follow the road for a mile or two into Minturn.
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Forecasting the weather...
4.9 (7)
A life-changing 485 mile ride on the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango.
near Roxborough Park, CO
4.6 (17)
A grand tour combining amazing alpine scenery with Vail's finest flow trails.
near Frisco, CO
4.5 (13)
An epic ride with spectacular singletrack, scenery, and a 4,600' descent.
near Frisco, CO

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PHOTOS of Two Elk Trail
  5.0 from 1 vote
Welcome to Colorado singletrack! (Minturn, CO)
  5.0 from 1 vote
All smiles! (Minturn, CO)
  4.3 from 3 votes
Several miles of this... and it doesn't get old. (Minturn, CO)
  4.0 from 3 votes
Still climbing. (Minturn, CO)
  4.0 from 3 votes
The upper part of the Two Elk trail is gorgeous and really easy. It get... (Vail, CO)
  4.0 from 3 votes
Thomas zig'n and zag'n through vail resorts outer Mongolian Bowl (Minturn, CO)
  4.0 from 3 votes
Big skies and wild flowers abound in outer Mongolia Bowl. (Minturn, CO)
  3.5 from 2 votes
Two Elk is a ripping, fun descent. (Minturn, CO)
  3.3 from 3 votes
Shot of Two Elk Creek using iPhone 5s and SlowShutter. You can't miss th... (Minturn, CO)
  3.3 from 3 votes
Just past the Teacup Express chair the climb gets less technical, but ma... (Minturn, CO)
  3.3 from 3 votes
Many wildflowers still at end of July (Vail, CO)
  3.3 from 3 votes
When you reach the bridge, you're almost done. (Minturn, CO)
  3.0 from 4 votes
K enjoying the lower aspen groves (Minturn, CO)
  3.0 from 3 votes
This downed tree (as of July 2013) makes it VERY easy to miss this turn ... (Vail, CO)
  3.0 from 3 votes
Two Elk is narrow, technical, and has a very steep drop (> 30') to the c... (Minturn, CO)
  3.0 from 1 vote
It's an aspen fire! (Minturn, CO)
  2.3 from 3 votes
Some of the dense vegetation along the trail. (Minturn, CO)