Meadow Route

Page Type
Colorado, United States, North America
Route Type:
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Time Required:
Half a day

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Meadow Route
Created On: Apr 19, 2010
Last Edited On: Apr 19, 2010


Peak 1 and Tenmile through the fogPeak 1 and Tenmile through the fog

This scenic outing is pleasant choice for all seasons. It is mostly on-trail, leveraging the Meadow Creek Trail, with an approximately ½ mile off-trail segment to the summit. There are even two choices presented here for reaching the summit.

Roundtrip Distance: 9-10 miles depending on route chosen from meadow to summit and back
Elevation Gain: 2,200 feet
YDS Rating: Class 2 (off trail segments)

Getting There

Up at Chief from MeadowUp at Chief from Meadow
West from summit areaWest from the summit area

From I-70 westbound

• Take Frisco Exit #203
• Enter the traffic circle, then take the dirt road (that parallels I-70) to the west side of the roundabout
• Follow this dirt road for about one-half mile to the trailhead parking

Route Description

Meadow Creek Route

Northeast slope of Chief MountainNortheast slope of Chief Mountain
Tenmile Range from the summit areaTenmile Range from the summit area
Evergreens in Fresh SnowEvergreens in Fresh Snow
Springtime SnowSpringtime Snow

• The trail begins at the north side of the parking area.
• The route ascends gradually for the first ¾ of a mile to the junction with the Lily Pad Lake Trail.
• Roughly ½ mile past this junction you will reach the Eagles Nest Wilderness Boundary.
• Traverse for about ½ mile past the wilderness boundary into the Meadow Creek drainage.
• The trail gains elevation more rapidly for about 1 mile until you enter the meadow opening at roughly 10,500 feet.
• Shortly below 11,000 feet in elevation, where the meadow is broadest and the terrain most level, you have a choice (see map for details):
o Leave the trail and head sharply southwest up the northeast facing slope of Chief Mountain (this option means longer mileage and denser timber, but a gentler elevation gain)
o Continue on the trail for another ½ mile until it nears the saddle with the northern end of Chief Mountain (this option means shorter mileage and sparser timber, but a steeper way to the summit ridge; also, be careful about trending west when ascending the northeast slope during snow season to avoid potential avalanche risk)
• The summit area is non-descript and no cairn was present when I was on the summit (though the snow we stood on was several feet deep per a probing).
• Explore the general summit area – the views are fantastic – before selecting your descent option to regain the Meadow Creek Trail.

Essential Gear

Breaking trail near the meadowBreaking trail near the meadow
Looking up toward the summit plateauNortheast slope of Chief Mountain

• Trail map (Trails Illustrated #109 (Breckenridge, Tennessee Pass) would meet most needs)
• Compass
• Sturdy, waterproof hiking boots
• Snowshoes or skis for floatation
• Water and snacks
• A camera to save memories of the high country views
• First aid kit
• Other standard backcountry essentials