Vail Hiking Trails, Colorado Hikes

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Hiking & Backpacking


Surrounded by millions of acres of wilderness which are home to some of the most remotely beautiful backcountry hiking trails and camping spots, tremendous opportunities abound in Vail and Beaver Creek, Colorado when it comes to getting out in the summer.

  • Enjoy the untouched beauty of the Rocky Mountains when you go hiking around Vail
  • It’s an easy out-and-back hike to Lost Lake
  • Wilder Gulch takes you through lovely meadows with abundant wildflowers
  • If you’re up for it, Mount Powell Summit Trail is an exciting though difficult trek

Overview

Vail, Colorado hiking is one of the best ways to get off the beaten track and witness some of the untouched beauty in the area. With an array of different types of hiking and backpacking trails in the area for all levels of skills and abilities, it’s no wonder why scores of people flock there during the summer. Although there are tons of activities to partake in while you’re visiting Vail, getting out in the backcountry can be a rewarding and inspiring experience. Wandering through wide-open spaces, viewing pristine waterfalls and enjoying colorful wildflowers are just the beginning.

Where to go Hiking and Backpacking

Most popular Vail hikes are located in White River National Forest and the Eagles Nest Wilderness. Backcountry camping is also available in the Holy Cross Wilderness Area.

Lost Lake
An easy out-and-back hike of 6.8 miles is the perfect way to start a day. See displays of wildflowers and Aspen groves. Wildlife is abundant, too. Best time to go is from late in May to early October.

Wilder Gulch
Another easy out-and-back hike is Wilder Gulch Trail. This aesthetic 4.6-mile adventure is through a stream valley and takes you through lovely meadows with abundant wildflowers. You can get to the trail by taking the bike path downhill from Vail Pass.

Shrine Ridge
An easy to moderate hike of 3 miles starts just west of Vail Pass and runs up a dirt road. Late July will show you a wild mass of wildflowers, but that’s not all. The views are amazing. But be prepared - the top elevation is 11,760 feet.

Bighorn Creek
Bighorn Creek Trail is an easy to moderate trek of 4 miles. The first half-mile climb is quite sharp in ascent, and then eases up as it moves through a scenic valley. Lovely Aspen and flowers abloom border the trail. Best hiking time is from late June to August.

Gore Creek
This moderate 6-mile out-and-back trail follows the river and moves through a number of habitats within Eagles Nest Wilderness. With another .4 miles and extra stamina, you can reach Gore Lake.

Booth Falls
Booth Creek Trail is 4.2 miles of moderate to strenuous hiking, but it’s quite worth it for the fabulous scenery, amazing wildflowers and beautiful Booth Falls. Blooms start in mid-June and last until August.

Mount Powell Summit Trail
This difficult White River National Forest hike is for those who want to really experience the Gore Mountains, with their jagged peaks. At the top, you will discover outstanding views all around. It’s 10.2 miles out-and-back and an elevation at the top of 13,534. The trek takes 7 to 10 hours.

Hire a Guide

A Vail CO hiking adventure is often best done in company of those who know the area. A guided hiking trip gives you the advantage of the vast knowledge of those who have “been there and done that.” Guided hikes are available all around Vail Valley and through the surrounding national forest and wilderness areas. Browse the listings on this page to find outfitters who can lead you on a once-in-a-lifetime hiking or backpacking adventure.


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