Explore West of Vail - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

West of Vail Map
scenic driving
5 hours ago

For years now I have thoroughly enjoyed driving Shrine Pass. The wildflowers and wildlife are always amazing. Love the marmots! Saw two alive and one dead - road kill. Watch out for our little furry friends. LOTS of people. Probably the most crowded that I have ever seen it at the top. Please remember to leash your dogs for their safety and yours. Several bags of dog poop left alongside the trail. Rather unfortunate for such a beautiful place. Wish my fellow pet owners would be more responsible and pack it out with them if they are 'packing their dogs in'. Lovely place to visit!

10 hours ago

Have done this hike in June over the past few summers when it was rainy/muddy/overcast and loved it! This week we did it on a sunny day in July and it kicked our butt. Almost no shade, and uphill most of the way. We ended up connecting through to the meadow mountain trail to finish. Don’t waste your time with the grouse lake trail in July, it’s very dry. We used to love the beginning of the lake trail because you get to cross over multiple streams, but this year one was completely bone dry. All trails on this mountain are too hot, buggy, and dry for July. Would consider doing it again in June maybe.

The first 1.5 miles is essentially walking through the ski resort. The last push to lake is not very impressive trail. The lake though is beautiful. The trail headed to turquoise lake was spectacular. If you have the extra time would recommend.

Absolutely beautiful with wildflowers, butterflies, deer and the beautiful lake. Hikes up Overlook to Allies Trail and back through Royal Elk. Going back is much more difficult. Would rate this more on the difficult side.

Went all the way up to Suprise Lake (the second beaver dam at the end) beautiful views of Mt of the Holy Cross and the bridge over the creek and waterfall is stunning. It's pretty rocky and a few points require some minor scrambling but nothing me my friend and my German Sheppard couldn't do. Probably a hard moderate rating to be more accurate.

7 days ago

Great scenic drive, hardly any other cars during the week. I have an SUV no problems. There were some ruts and I would be nervous in a little car with low clearance when you get to the red cliff side.

Great Hike! Rewarded with the beautiful lake at the end!!

Nice trail, and know that you can go much farther than the 4 mile round trip. I did 10+ today before having lunch near a fast part of the river, and got tired going under, over, and around all the dead-falls. Good Job to the two U.S. Forest guys who were walking the trail cutting gaps in the dead-fall.

This was a very fun trail! We began on the five senses trail at 8 in the morning and from there began the beaver lake trail. The five senses trail takes you through a residential area, however there is still plenty to experience. Within the first ten minutes of starting our hike we saw a fox! The trail to beaver lake was wide and allowed my group of four to have fun and chat with one another along the way. We saw deer, beavers, and marmots! The hike is shaded a large portion of the way. Certain times we got a bit winded going up hill, but then again we were all coming from sea level and hadn’t quite acclimated to the thinner air. Right before the sign for royal elk trail appeared, the path got fairly thin and my group had to walk single file for the last ten minutes or so. Once we reached the lake it was stunning! I believe packing a lunch would be wise (or at least a snack) because my group was fairly hungry by this point. Take time to relax and enjoy the scenery! It is also worth it to walk along some of the small paths near the lake and make your way around to see different perspectives! There were tons of cute little alpine squirrels to sit and watch as well. From this point we turned around and went to the royal elk trail. This trail cuts horizontally across the mountains towards the gondolas. This trail was thin the entire time and my group had to walk single file the whole way. Sometimes the terrain was challenging for my group, but with frequents breaks we powered through. I was hoping to see more animals on this trail, however that was not the case. Royal elk was challenging, but in a fun way that brought my group together. At the end of royal elk trail it was 12 noon (4 hours from the start of the hike). I wish we began an hour earlier because by eleven in the morning the sun started heating things up more than I would like (nothing unbearable just a personal preference). Eating lunch and having a brew at the restaurant and then taking the gondola for FREE down was worth all the hard work we put into the hike! Overall this hike was great! We never had to go down hill during the hike which really saved my knees. If you are in Beaver Creek , I highly recommended taking the morning to complete this hike. It is very enjoyable, you get some spectacular views, encounter some friendly animals, and it is an absolute blast to do with family and friends.

Took Centennial Lift up, hiked over to and through a Royal Elk, up to Beaver Lake. The lake is lovely and very full of fish...cutbows, I believe. This route is not much uphill. There are a couple climbs but mostly downhill. Saw people on the trail with no water or packs. That was stupid! Seemed fine for dogs...there were quite a few with people.

12 days ago

Fun trail, I thought it was very scenic and definitely a strong moderate trail that was challenging. We followed the Five Senses trail out of the Beaver Creek area, easy to find from the Centennial Lift. We did not stay on the road, but followed the trail near the creek to the Beaver Lake trailhead. From there it is basically 2.5 miles up the long hill to the lake. Unfortunately like other reviewers have mentioned, the horse manure along the way was very annoying. About every 20-30 yards was another load on the ground, which I could have lived with but since it was fresh, it attracted flies and took away from the wonderful pine scent. We took the Royal Elk trail on the way. back. I highly recommend this route as it was even more challenge and very pretty though the mountain to get to the Centennial chair lift. Also, no horse manure. Plus there were bathrooms, food and beer at the Lift.

It’s beautiful up here. I’d like to hike it further next time.

Surprised to find that Surprise Lake was really just an enlarged boggy pond. Lots of bugs there. However hike was beautiful until about 3/4 of the way to the lake. Gorgeous river which we hiked down to in a few spots. Lots of ginormous Queen Anne’s Lace wildflowers and a beautiful field of sunflowers near the top as well.

Great trail, along with a beautiful drive out to the trail from Edwards.. I was mostly hiking but did do a little trail running. The surface for the most part is smooth dirt. The wildflowers were wonderful and there was quite a bit of shade. I did find a parking spot at the trailhead midday on a Wednesday. Parking could be difficult on a weekend. The terrain does roll with several uphill and downhill sections. I could have used my shoes with deeper treads!

17 days ago

Start on 5 Senses trail in Beaver Creek Village. This will get you into wilderness faster. The whole trail was pretty easy to navigate. It’s best to start early. We set out at 9:00 and should have started about 8:00. Please go all the way to the lake, it’s worth it. Please venture into the lake for a dip, you worked this hard, reward yourself. On the way back down turn onto Royal Elk Trail and follow that to the Gondola. Royal Elk is a 2.5 mile hike that cuts across the mountain. They are FREE to ride down.

Nice hike. The first section goes through parts of Beaver Creek Resort which is nice but quite developed.
Steep parts are reasonable.
Wish they had some distance markers to encourage the novice.

18 days ago

Took my 8 and 11 year old. We started from the beaver creek lodge at about 9:30 am. We saw fantastic wildlife as soon as we passed all the buildings. It is quite a climb- my kids struggled often throughout. Might have been because we’re from Indiana and we notice the thin air here. Beautiful scenery especially when you reach the lake. We had lunch and the chipmunks were very entertaining and friendly. The climb down was very easy and quick.

Really enjoyed this easier moderate hike. Great views along the way and fun rocks to play or hang out on.

Great trail, great views. Serves as a good beginner trail for new hikers in fairly decent physical condition.

24 days ago

This trail doesn't get very good until 2 miles in. No parking is allowed at the actual trailhead or on the street, so you must park at the Beaver Creek parking structure. From there it's about a mile walk following a paved road to the actual trailhead. From the trailhead, it's another mile before it starts to feel more secluded and away from the resort. Nice and shady in the morning, but still required 1L+ of water. Lots of little stream crossings and access to the creek for my dog to catch a drink of water and cool off. I probably wouldn't go out of my way to do this trail again unless I was staying IN Beaver Creek. Takes too long to become secluded. Took about 2h 30m from the parking structure and back and had the lake to myself around 9:50 AM on a Thursday.

Went backpacking to Surprise Lake last night. Like other reviews say, lots of mosquitos. We were the only ones there though.
The road is closed about a mile before the trailhead, so it was just under 4 miles to the lake.

26 days ago

Trail is currently occupied entirely by very cold overflow stream, so we did Shrine Pass Road instead!

Fun hike. Beautiful flowers and best of all, my dogs had a blast in the water!

Nice hike if you only have a half of a day. The gate was closed adding a mile or so to the overall hike. Great views along the hike from several vantage points. We took a short detour off the trail before the bridge about 50-yards downhill to the creek. Beautiful area to lunch or rest on the smooth boulders & rock walls with swirling eddy’s below cascading down to mini-waterfalls. Very serene & regenerative stop along the trail. Stopped at the bridge and headed back down with the family.

Went backpacking in this area; we made it up to Harvey Lake but got rained out Saturday night and came back down to the TH on Sunday.

On paper this trail seems pretty moderate but after ascending to Harvey Lake, it was considerably more difficult than expected past Surprise Lake approximately. There is an astounding amount of deadfall on the trail as you go up and with the water still being high there are a few creek crossings that require care. After Reed's Meadow there is also a completely flooded section you will have to navigate without stepping in. The bugs are plentiful right now so finding a good windy campsite took time. If you are trying to go backpacking in this area right now I suggest go as high as you can manage to avoid mosquitoes. We did not encounter many at Harvey Lake at 11k and above.

1 month ago

Hiked this with my dog last week (Early June) and started at 1030 am. I like to go for time instead of destination since I’m busy busy. We made it to an awesome bridge in 90 min!

The trail is pretty easy to find the whole way and there are no crazy inclines. We had trouble in one spot on the way back where we went right instead of left on a crossroads and ended up at Tiguan Road. Don’t try to take it back to Minturn, you won’t be happy! Thankfully other hikers helped us back.

Overall, it was a beautiful hike through various terrain with lots of surprises along the way including carcasses and some people riding llamas. We didn’t see any wilderness animals along the way but maybe because it was the middle if the

On our way up, we only encountered a few people but by the time we were headed down the trail was busier. Lots of dogs and most of the good owners leashed when coming into sight of my canine companion. This is important to us as hikers because sometimes he’s a jerk when on leash and sees a non-leashed dog. We need space on the trail to give the dogs/owners to pass by without confrontation. There was plenty on this hike.

I hear if you go far enough you’ll get to a lake. Can’t wait to try!

Great hike!

Beautiful and great for a family hike!

May 15, 2018. This is such a pretty trail, I look forward to doing the whole thing. There is a seasonal closure for elk and deer migration and reproduction from May 15 until June 20. Lets all give a shout out to the trail managers for respecting wildlife!

Note: This trail is CLOSED to all traffic 5/15-6/20/18 for wildlife preservation

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