The Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District lies between the Gore Range, the Sawatch Range, and the Flat Tops, and includes the forest areas surrounding the towns of Vail, Avon, Red Cliff, Eagle, Gypsum, and Dotsero. Recreation opportunities abound on the Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District. View Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District Recreation Quicksheets for downloadable Recreation Opportunity Guides, maps and other information. See below for information on recreation activities of all sorts.
Camping here is great! Be sure to go equipped for hard trails, if you are doing any four wheeling. Also expect a little rain, after all it is Colorado.
As an adventurer in Colorado, I often find myself driving down I-70 and over the Vail Pass. If anyone has ever traveled this route they may have found themselves, like me, wondering about all of the cars, dirt bikes, ATVs and snowmobiles parked zooming around near the rest stop just before Vail Pass (exit 190). Well, this past weekend I finally decided to investigate and was not disappointed in what I found! This exit brings you to two fantastic recreation areas: Ten Mile Canyon and Shrine Pass. I did not explore Ten Mile Canyon very much but I know there is another campground, awesome bike path, multiple reservoirs and fantastic views of the Rocky Mountains. I did however, take the Shrine Pass Road which connects the I-70 corridor to the adorable mining town of Redcliff, Colorado.
Shrine Pass is a 11.2-mile road that is easily drivable in most cars during the summer and is popular with snowmobilers in the winter. Along the road there are a great number of turn offs that lead to dispersed campsites. We decided to travel along the majority of the road and enjoy the scenery before choosing a lovely wooded campsite. These sites are primitive for sure, but all that we saw had designated fire pits in rock circles, logs around the pits for sitting, multiple flat spots for tents and ample parking. We were pleasantly surprised by how well this entire area is maintained, considering how much of the year it spends under significant levels of snow!
There is also plenty to do in the area including hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and wildlife viewing. We saw tons of birds and a few mule deer. While we didn’t see any black bear on this trip, I have seen them in this area in the past, so using proper food storage techniques is a must. A highlight of our camping trip at Shrine Pass was walking along the short nature trail to the Mount of the Holy Cross overlook at “Julia’s Deck”. This desk not only offers wonderful views, but is totally wheelchair accessible, which was really great to find so deep in the wilderness.
All in all, I would definitely recommend this camping area for those that want to experience dispersed car camping, great scenery, and a sense of privacy that isn’t difficult to access. If going on the weekend, try to scope out your campsite fairly early to get the best spots. For those looking for more of a glamping experience, we also noticed that there are huts and cabins at the top of Shrine Pass which are part of the 10thMountain Division Hut Association. We are hoping to reserve one of these huts at the pass for a winter camping adventure!
As a Ranger for The Dyrt, I occasionally have the opportunity to review gear. On this trip I was very excited to be testing a 16-liter backpack from an awesome brand called Matador. This brand has an awesome approach to designing products with convenience in mind. This backpack was no exception and was just what I was looking for in a travel day pack: durable, waterproof and most of all- easily packable! I often like to go backpacking on over-night trips and am often frustrated by my need to bring an extra backpack for day trips from my base camp. This packable backpack is truly the answer to that issue. It literally folds up into the size of my palm and is ultra-light weight (just 4.1 oz). I think this backpack will also be awesome for urban adventures and city exploring, so it will not be forgotten when packing for my future international travels. This pack also currently comes in two stylish colors; I went with the indigo but would have been happy with either. It is rare to find such a functional product that is also so low-profile and could even be considered quite hip and fashionable! These product designers definitely know what they are doing in combining form and function.
I tested this pack out on two hikes during my stay at Shrine Pass and was very pleased with how comfortable it was. I was surprised how breathable the material was, even on a fairly hot day. When we got caught in an afternoon rainstorm, the waterproof material and water resistant sealed zippers really held up against the downpour and kept my camera gear safe and dry. In addition to my camera equipment, this 16-liter pack easily held a few layers, my first-aid kit, two water bottles and my packed lunch. I really appreciated the additional pockets which make it easy to organize and access all of my gear while out on the trail or back at the campsite. The only con of this backpack is that it is not compatible with my water reservoir which I like to have for longer hikes. This isn’t much of an issue though, because the pack has plenty of space for water bottles.
The price of this product was also quite a shock to me! At only $49.99 this backpack is truly a bargain considering the high quality material and design used. Most other day packs of this caliber cost well over $100 and are not nearly as convenient as this packable backpack.
Overall, I would highly recommend the Matador DL16 backpack to anyone. Not only is this a quality piece of gear for the avid camper and hiker, it has a multitude of other uses; from carrying around school books and laptops on campus, to holding souvenirs and passports while exploring a new country. This backpack is truly a great investment and is something that I look forward to using on a variety of future adventures.
We camped at the top of the mountain at the intersection for muddy pass and Red and White Rd. It had amazing views of the western mountain ranges and the ranges on the east. We tried camping a little further up to the trees to get a little more coverage from the sun. We ended up moving back to our spot immediately the next morning due to the crazy amount of mosquitoes and lack of wind, which made it unbearably hot. Hardly any traffic up there and there is lots to explore on the area.