Meadow Creek Trail
Trail name: Meadow Creek Trail
Trail length: 8.4 miles out and back (10.2 miles out and back if you go to the top of Eccles Pass)
Trail difficulty: Moderate
Elevation gain: 2,286 ft (2,923 to the top of Eccles Pass, about 12,000 ft. elevation)
Best time to hike: November – May for snowshoeing / July – October for hiking
Good for: Day hikes, backpacking, camping, snowshoeing, trail running
Dog friendly: Yes, but must be on leash
Starting trailhead: Meadow Creek Trailhead
To get to the Meadow Creek trailhead from Breckenridge, take Highway 9 towards Frisco. Drive straight through Frisco and do not turn until you reach the roundabout next to I-70. Drive around the roundabout and take the turn directly before the westbound on-ramp exit. Drive about .6 miles down a dirt road until you reach the trailhead. Bring some good hiking boots, as there is a good chance you will be walking through snow and crossing streams. Bring your hammock, as well, to relax on the edge of the meadows.
Once on trail, you will find a variety of beauty to treat yourself to. The tall aspens and occasional beetle kill lead the way for the first portion of the trail until you reach Meadow Creek. You can also meet up with Lily Pad Lake trail right around this point. After the river crossing, you wind next to the creek for a few miles. Depending on the time of the year, you may get to do some trekking through snow.
You gain elevation consistently through the first few miles, but nothing too extreme. After a while, the forest opens to beautiful meadows that often have moose. There are a few great campsites around, as well. The first two meadows are beautiful, but the third one is the prize of the trail. The trees fade with Grand views of Buffalo and Red Mountain. During the summer you may get to see masses of wildflowers blooming, especially in late July. Don’t forget to look up into the rock above for mountain goats and marmots.
The end of Meadow Creek Trail is where you reach the Gore Range Trailhead. You can turn back here and have an easy hike downhill to your car. However, we highly recommend pushing on along the Gore Range trail another mile or so to the top of Eccles Pass. (2 miles roundtrip). This is especially true from late June to late July, when the wildflowers are in bloom. The terrain is tougher than the Mead Creek Trail, but the reward is great. Once you reach the top of Eccles Pass you will look down into a massive valley. This valley is complete with alpine lakes, views of the back of Silverthorne, wildflowers, and wildlife.
If you are really feeling ambitious, you could hike all the way to Vail. This could be done as a long day trip, or an overnight backpacking trip. I highly recommend this as well, for those looking for a longer trip.
Want to help contribute to our National Forest? Visit FDRD.org/calendar for a list of all volunteer opportunities. You can also visit www.dillonrangerdistrict.com to download free individual guides for all the trails.