Starting as a trickle in the Rocky Mountains, the Eagle River emerges in a glacial valley, cuts through a spectacular gorge near Red Cliff, and then creates the broad flood plain of the Eagle River Valley. At Dotsero, the river joins the mighty Colorado River. As long as humans have settled along the river, they have depended on it for their livelihood, trapping beaver for hats, mining gold and silver, collecting water for locomotive engines and channeling it for crops and ranching, harvesting ice for food preservation, and, most recently, converting water into snow with modern machines. Today the Eagle River Valley is the backbone of two of the greatest ski areas in the world, Vail and Beaver Creek. Sparkling through the ancient riverbed, the Eagle River continues its course to this day, flowing through the same valley that drew pioneers here in the 19th century.