Grouse Lake Trail is a 9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Minturn, CO that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from April until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
The trail up West Grouse Creek wanders through lodgepole forest, meadows, and aspen forest then enters thicker spruce and fir forest. Hunters use this trail during hunting season. Snoeshoers and people walking dogs frequently utilize the first couple of miles in the winter. The trail is neither marked nor maintained for winter use.
Beautiful trail with lots of wildflowers and wildlife. There are mosquitoes around. A lot of people around the trailhead but only saw a few on the actual trail.
The Good: Beautiful hike and great fly fishing (it’s where I caught my fist trout on a Dry Fly!). Grouse Lake has a stunning backdrop as well.
The Bad: Caution if you go right after the hatch because the bugs at the lake are almost unbearable. I typically don’t mind bugs but we ended up leaving the lake earlier than planned.
The Random: My friend did this hike on his own and on the way down he got trapped by a couple of moose. He had to spend the night on the trail. Keep an eye out for mating moose.
You will notice at the beginning of the trail a lot more people and sometimes mountain bikers. Once you get less than half way they will dissipate. Overall, this trail is a must for the Vail Valley!
Easy hike we did the trail to the right and followed the river. Nice trail but the miles all seemed the same
Hiked at the end of July 2014. We did Grouse Lake which was not difficult. A few steep sections. Five miles or so one way. Tons of wildflowers and very green. Lots of shade too. Follows the creek. Ends at a small lake.
One of the other reviewers explains the difference between Grouse Lake and West Grouse Creek. The latter is longer and apparently more difficult. Both start at the same trailhead.
I don't understand why this trail is rated as extremely difficult and for experienced outdoorsmen only. Granted I hike often but this was actually the easiest hike I've done this summer. There are a couple of moderately steep sections but most of the trail is a gentle grade. Lots of fallen trees but easy enough to get around and the trail is well-marked. The difficulty of this trail is moderate at best, alltrails kinda dropped the ball on the grading of this one.
Moderate trail with beautiful scenery along the way. The views from the lake make the elevation well worth it.
There actually appear to be three trails here. The Grouse Creek Trailhead is at the location specified by the map for this trail. Once on the trail head, you can go in three different directions: Grouse Lake, Grouse Creek, and Shack Line (?).
We hiked along the creek and then jumped on the Meadow Mountain logging road and followed it almost to the end. I am not rating the trail greater than 3 stars because we didn't hike any of the three routes from start to finish, so 3 stars was the best I could do for "neutral." We didn't see the lake(s), so don't have a conclusion on those. The trail is nice, though, it was in good shape, it is well marked, and there are plenty of shady spots along the way for walking during a hot day.
I hike this trail all the time - winter, spring, summer, fall. Always a beautiful go-to when I only have an hour or so for a quick outdoor workout. Steady climb most of the way up. Many people use it as a dog workout too (watch out for dog owners who haven't picked up after their pooches, it's EVERYWHERE along the beginning of the trail-a real shame) Starts on a logging road, then turns right onto a well marked trail. The trail then splits a little further up (grouse lake left, grouse creek right.) Both are quite nice. Lots of biting flies at the lake last time I was there (early summer), didn't stay long, but sometimes timing is just bad like that. Conifers and colorful aspens in the fall provide good shade once you get past the first bit which makes it nice on hotter days. Still able to get the occasional views of the mountains though. Watch out for occasional mountain bikes. During winter, the trail's snow gets compacted a good way up the trail, making snowshoes unnecessary unless you're going a far distance or for the lake. I've never had any trouble with my boots alone or with my yak tracks. Nice day hike, just wish people would be more responsible and pick up after their pets.
I wondered why the description says for very experienced outdoorsmen only. Now I know. It's the most difficult trail I've seen yet. Lots of fallen trees, sloped trail on the edge of a 15 foot drop to the creek, etc. The toughest part of the trail is right along the creek, about the 4th mile or so. When you see a very clear trail cutting up the bank, heading back to the southeast, take it. It climbs and loops along a ridge and if you don't take it you'll soon find yourself bushwhacking your way through the thicket. Some fairly steep portions and tricky footing, especially when wet. Great little lake at the top, though, with a few nice campsites along the shore.
Great Trail! Easy to get to Trailhead and is super dog friendly. I hit the trail about 7am and only passed 3 ppl and that was on the way down. 4 hrs total hike. It's certainly a good workout. The trail is level the first half and crosses a creek 2-3 before heading steeply upwards. The vertical gain mentioned in the description is mostly in the last 2 miles up so be ready for a good quality burn in the legs. I lost the trail once but bushwhacked my way through the vegetation and kept the creek on my right for a half click to so before I figured out I needed to cross over. I missed one of the creek crossing is what got me messed up. There were blue flags tied to trees along the route but not at that particular area where I needed to cross. Be aware that if it starts storming those creek crossings will get hazardous quickly. Use your head and don't cross during high and fast water!
The lake was beautiful and not a sole around. There were a couple snow capped peaks surronding the lake and it was extremley serene. There were a few spots to camp so it would make a great weekend adventure. This is a great day hike! Pack a lunch, get your lady, head up, and soak those tired little doggies in the cool mountain water before heading back down from a great day and hike! Good TImes