“A short fast descent in the forest that is moderately technical by Vail-area standards.”
— Bill Hoblitzell
Summer to mid-Fall, usually dry by end of June. Snow closes it by mid October to early November
This ride is referred to locally as the Middle Loop on Meadow Mountain. (Lower Loop = Meadow Mountain Tie-Through trail, Upper Loop = Whiskey Creek
Need to Know
Only the portion of West Grouse Creek Trail #2129 that is used by this ride is open to bikes.
There is a sign at the Grouse Creek TH that would make you think that bikes are not allowed on ANY portion of this trail, but the Minturn Ranger Station holds that this portion is open to bikes.
Park at the Holy Cross District Ranger Station near the Minturn/Leadville Exit from I-70. Climb the Line Shack
Road for approximately 2.7 miles and roughly 1000 feet of vertical. At the top of a steeper rocky segment, look for a doubletrack on the left once you enter a small aspen grove. Take this left; the doubletrack is soon overgrown to singletrack. Climb a short distance then descend several wide switchbacks. Where the old roadbed crosses Grouse Creek, take a left onto West Grouse Creek trail and descend back to Highway 6. All these turns are unsigned. If you continue riding the old doubletrack past the trail, it will dead-end in some former clear-cuts.
The descent is rooty and fast and in the upper half, until you cross the creek over a wood bridge, then the more-funner-er stuff begins. Lots of moderate technically challenging boulder gardens in the lower half, all ride-able, until you get spit out at Hwy 6 & 24. Take the highway a short distance back to your car at the ranger station trailhead.
Practice good trail etiquette and perhaps think about avoiding this trail on weekend mornings in the summer and in the fall during hunting season.
In summer, you can encounter numerous uphill hikers with kids, especially on Minturn Market Saturdays. In the fall, hunters use this trail, often on horseback, to access camps in the upper Grouse Creek and Stone Creek drainages. Please be courteous, keep speeds down, and please don't spook horses or parents with kids.
History & Background
Meadow Mountain was the location of a former a ranch and a small local ski hill, leading to it's current open views and tree clearings.