Meridian Peak – Site Guide

North America – USA – Colorado

Site Information

Meridian Peak is a mountain summit in the Gore Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 12,432-foot (3,789 m) peak is located in the Eagles Nest Wilderness, north of the town of Vail, Colorado. It can be reached by ascending several hiking trails into the Gore Range.

There are two launch sites and one landing area for hang gliding on Meridian Peak. The launch sites are located on the south and north ends of the Elliot Ridge Trail, which runs along the summit ridge of Meridian Peak. The landing area is located near Blue Lake, at the base of the ridge.

Launch Sites

Landing Area

  • Blue Lake Landing: This landing area is on a large meadow near Blue Lake, at the base of the Elliot Ridge. It faces east and has a flat terrain with some trees and power lines. The landing altitude is about 10,000 feet above sea level, and the distance from either launch site is about 3 miles. The landing area can be accessed by driving to Blue Lake Trailhead.

Flying Conditions and Restrictions

Meridian Peak offers both ridge soaring and thermal opportunities for hang gliding. The site is suitable for H2/P2 pilots early mornings and late evenings when conditions permit but requires a minimum H3/P3 rating other timesParaglider pilots should use extreme caution mid-day due to high wind and strong thermals. This is a high-altitude big air mountain site that can be challenging for inexperienced pilots.

There are no formal restrictions on flying at Meridian Peak, but pilots should follow the USHPA guidelines and respect the local landowners and residents. Pilots should also be aware of the airspace regulations and avoid flying into restricted areas such as military operations areas (MOAs) or controlled airspace around airports. Pilots should also avoid flying over wildlife areas or disturbing livestock on the ground.

Pilots should be prepared for high altitude flying including cold weather gear, flying with a hydro pack and radio. Oxygen is recommended. Pilots should also carry a first-aid kit, ropes, and a knife in case of emergencies. Pilots should always check the weather forecast before flying and monitor the wind speed and direction at launch and LZ. Pilots should also have a retrieve plan and communicate with other pilots or ground crew.

Best Times to Fly and Visit

The best time to fly at Meridian Peak is from July to September, when the road to the Elliot Ridge Trailhead is open and the weather is more stable and predictableThe road to Lower Cataract Lake Trailhead will be open earlier and later, but expect lots of snow on the trail outside the summer season. The site can be flown year-round, but winter flying requires more preparation, equipment, and experience.

The best time to visit Meridian Peak is also from July to September, when the Gore Range offers many attractions and activities for visitors. The range is known for its natural beauty, wildlife, history, culture, and outdoor recreation.

More Information

For more information about hang gliding at Meridian Peak, you can contact the following sources:

You can also find more information about the Gore Range and its attractions on these websites:

  • SummitPost, a website for climbers and hikers that features detailed information and photos of Meridian Peak and other peaks in the Gore Range. You can visit their website at
  • The Denver Post, a newspaper that published an article about exploring the Gore Range in the winter. You can read their article at

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