2,879 acres (4.5 square miles)
This area occupies a narrow strip of land between I-70 and the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area. The terrain consists of steep west and south facing hillsides above Black Gore Creek north of Vail Pass, and Tenmile Creek to the south. Many avalanche paths cross the unit. The bulk of the area is densely forested with spruce and fir, as well as some aspen in the Gore Creek campground area. Corral Creek is the major creek in the unit, and flows from Uneva Peak. The elevation ranges from 8,600 feet near Gore Creek, to 11,900 on the SW slopes of Uneva Peak.
What’s special about it
Wildlife migration: The primary importance for protecting this area is to extend Wilderness protection down to the edge of I-70 so to ensure the effectiveness of the wildlife movement corridor through the area. As a sub-alpine roadless strip, it plays an important role in connecting the Eagles Nest Wilderness to the Ptarmigan Hill roadless area to the south. This is part of an extremely vital north-south migration corridor for wildlife, particularly the endangered lynx, as well as bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and elk. A “wildlife bridge” is expected to be built just west of the Vail Pass summit that would link the Ptarmigan Hill and Corral Creek roadless areas.
Recreation: The area is also important access to five hiking and horseback trails that enter the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area from I-70. Polk Creek and Corral Creek are important fisheries for the imperiled Colorado River cutthroat trout. This roadless area acts a scenic corridor for the Tenmile-Vail Pass National Recreation Trail that passes along its northwest boundary.
Given the ease of access from the Vail Pass Recreation Area, it is conceivable that rogue ORVs (including snowmobiles) could begin encroaching on the area if crowding on the south side of the interstate gets intolerable.
Division of Wildlife habitat qualities, species of significance
This area supports a strain Colorado River Cutthroat trout. Corral Creek is on a movement corridor for elk.
In anticipation of future regional transit opportunities, this area is proposed for interim protection of its wilderness values—using a special designation at this time, pending final decisions about the location of that transit route. Once the route is selected, remaining lands will become Wilderness.
The proposed Corral Creek Addition is one of 12 roadless areas that are contiguous with the Eagles Nest Wilderness area, and together form a roadless complex of over 168,000 acres (262 square miles).
How to get there
The proposed Corral Creek Addition to the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area is located along the north side of I-70 from Vail to Officer's Gulch.
- The Gore Range Trail (60) begins at a trailhead directly across I-70 from the entrance to Copper Mountain Ski Area. This trail provides access through the proposed Wilderness Area into the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area.
- From Vail Pass, you can hike through an underpass to access the Corral Creek Trail (41), which climbs toward Uneva Peak.
- This unit also contains the trailheads for the Deluge Creek (2014) and Gore Creek (2015) trails into the Eagles Nest Wilderness. These are accessed from the Gore Creek Campground near East Vail.
- The USGS 7 1/2' quads for the proposed Corral Creek Wilderness Area are Vail East, Red Cliff, and Vail Pass.