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Challenging (moderate/difficult) to Surprise Lake and a more moderate second half to Upper Cataract Lake. We left the TH at 6:30am, arrived at Upper Cataract shortly after 9:00am. We fished with small spinners and spoons and caught four brook trout. Great hike, we will be back to camp at Surprise Lake!

2 hours ago

Always a family favorite. Great for little ones. Saw a big bull moose about 20 feet from us. Amazing!

It says easy, but it was a little tougher than easy. The beginning heads straight up, makes you wonder early, stick to it and keep going. Nice view of Dillon Lake near the beginning. pretty Ricky in places and tree roots along the way make it more difficult. If you are a novice pretty tiring. The lake is very pretty with nice mountain views. The trek back in was easier.

Not "EASY" unless you're acclimated! Still very beautiful, but I feel this is mislabelled in the AllTrails

The first mile was OK but after that it is just cut down dead trees and not very pretty. We turned around after two miles in...kind of a disappointing hike. Maybe further in it gets better but not from what we could see.

1 day ago

An amazing trail with breathtaking views, especially for those from the flat Midwest. The first 1.5 hours gets you to Booth Falls, which are pretty small this year due to the lack of snow and rain. This is where most of the inexperienced hikers will stop, but beyond that is the true beauty of this trail. Highland meadows with wildfires, marmots chirping everywhere, and oh yeah....a pretty sweet mountain lake at the end. Plan for ~3 hours each way with plenty of water for the elevation change. Also this trail isn’t the most remote after the falls, as I ran into people every few minutes, but it’s also not so overcrowded you can’t escape. If you find yourself in Vail I hope you find time to do this awesome trail!

Hiked this in July by myself. On a weekday I only saw 2 other people. Challenging boulderfield...especially if you get off trail. Start the field to the RIGHT of the large cairyn....if you start to the left you will be climbing straight up til you find the trail. Lots of goats and stunning views from the top. Summited in 2.5 hours...and I’m from Minnesota...so it’s doable...but challenging.

Really enjoyed this hike. Just looking for one that was relatively short and considered easy/moderate. The hike up the trail on the northern leg was relatively steep, but worth it. Saw nice stands of aspen and a side-stream/brook that crossed the trail just prior to the "bridge". The turn-back at the "bridge" was accurate according to the GPS, but the trail was not well defined where it crossed the creek. It was great to find it. The return trail was much, much easier. One place along the way beside the creek was the most peaceful I've seen. (Snapped/posted a panaroma here.) Technically, I crossed at 39.62933, -106.26334. Enjoy it.

Nice hike! A good bit of the first part is along I-70, and the sound of traffic is annoying. Once you get beyond that, it is a nice, moderate incline to the lakes at the top. We will do this one again!

4 days ago

Very nice hike up the slopes. The elevation makes it pretty challenging, but it was doable for our 11 year old. Mix of forest and crossing the meadows on the ski slopes. Saw lots of berries (both edible and not). Had a nice lunch on top at the Eagles Nest. On the way down we diverted to Strawberry Trail for the last stretch to mix it up, which was nice. That feeds out into Vail Village about 10 minutes from the trailhead in Lionshead.

4 days ago

Terrific hike. The elevation is challenging but was quite doable for us and our boys, who range from 11 to 17. Took five hours total. 8am start was perfect to miss some of the traffic and get a cool start. Look for the goat at the lake.

Excellent hike! It took us 2:.5 hours to reach the lake at a good pace....and then a nice dip in the lake!!

Nice hike, interesting differences in how the fire has affected the area. I’d estimate less than 20% is completely burnt - 60% is untouched. Regardless- many signs of new life as seen in my pictures!

5 days ago

Decent trail. Hiked it again after previously hiking it about 6 years ago. Lots of dead trees around the trail which had hardened the beauty of the trail, but still a decent hike.

Amazing view! Our 3 boys loved it and one is 4 years old. Don’t miss this trail.

7 days ago

Up hill all the way plus high altitude does make this trail hard, but the trip to the lake is amazing. We even got to see a goat.

Easy dirt road to drive. Most of it is like a graded county road, though toward the end it is a little more bumpy. A sedan can make it, though smoother in an SUV. At the end of the road is a "resort" with a restaurant, lake for paddle boarding and horses. Since it takes 30 minutes to get there on the road (45 minutes if you get behind someone slow), make a day out of it.
The hike is easy. Starts through a meadow. Wildflowers are weak now. Aspen groves would make a great fall trail. Light incline for a while, then a few long switch backs. It appears most people stop at the first area that reaches the creek with a tiny waterfall. However if you go downstream there is a less traveled, steeper trail that leads to the bottom of a much taller cascade. For pics and more info: https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/07/31/a-weekend-in-vail/

Easy hike, with great views. Mostly in the sticks, until the end. Highly recommend

Very nice mellow hike. We got to the trailhead about 9 am and there were only a few other people, but the trail became heavily trafficked to packed near the lake on the way back. A lot of the people were visiting from other states and not respectful of the fragility of the high alpine environment (taking short cuts between switchbacks and walking over obviously blocked off shortcuts). The trail is well-maintained, and although most of the wildflowers are gone for the season, a few pockets remained. The cataracts were pretty small with the low water level, but it was still worth the hike. The views of the Gore Range are incredible and worth the drive.

9 days ago

Did this hike with my family and my mom said that it was her favorite hike she has ever done. It is a steep incline but not terrible and the view of the lake at the top is amazing. We hiked up and back in about 4.5 hours and spent about a half an hour at the lake eating lunch. (so total time about 5 hours) This is a great hike and would do it again!

9 days ago

Beautiful! Not many people for a Saturday in Vail. Caught the end of wildflower season.

Fantastic hike and very doable for kids. We had ages 3-13 with us and all had a great time. I do think it’s important people know this isn’t an easy, flat walk through the woods- it does have some pretty good hills throughout.
We are also up from the front range and are acclimated to the elevation. If you are visiting from somewhere lower this could be a bit tougher for you, although if you’re in pretty good shape I still think very doable

11 days ago

We are 60 and in good shape. We thought the difficulty level was easy to moderate. We were not 100% acclimatized, being flatlanders and been here 3 days. Rocky trail. Great view of Dillon Lake near start. Then forest. There is a lily covered pond at the end. That is not the lake. About 100 feet north of the pond is the lake, but if you don’t walk there you may miss it. I think some people actually missed the lake because they thought the lily covered pond was the lake.

on Pitkin Lake Trail

11 days ago

The trail is definitely steep but nothing too challenging. We completed the trail with our four year old doing it on his own. Got to the lake in five hours, all trails clocked it as 5.6 miles one way. Beautiful views, tons of wild flowers!

This was a great day - highly recommend if you have the time to spare. 45-minute drive on pretty rough forest road to Piney River Ranch but very scenic. The Ranch has several options for activities including a restaurant, lake for paddling and fishing and horseback riding. We had lunch in the restaurant and it was really good! The trail is great for beginners and kids. Pretty out and back to the falls, well marked and not too much incline. We went out in the afternoon and returned near sunset. Spent around 30 min at the falls with our feet in the water and taking pictures. Great day!

11 days ago

One of my favorite hikes in the valley for sure! The hike is supposedly the most difficult in the area, I would agree that statement.

The path is steep but, dotted with berries and unique plants and wildlife. there are several streams and resting points on this trail. Feels great to hike to the top, stop for a beer and take the gondola down. 10/10 Will hike again.

11 days ago

Great hike. Due to slight inclines, rocks and roots in the trail I'd rate this more moderate than easy. However it was a very enjoyable hike and the lily pond and lake at the end were beautiful. A nice place to rest before heading back.

We took our three kids (ages 6, 6 and 5) and really loved it. A bit rocky and definitely some incline but worth it. We saw elk, grouse, chipmunks and ducks! The reflection on the lake was beautiful too!

Outstanding in every way. The valley and lake were beautiful, wildflowers were still out, challenging enough of a hike, and the falls were so refreshing and relaxing after a long hike. The drive isn't for the faint of heart, and I would consider myself slightly in that bucket, but if you take it slow like I did, it's a fun and beautiful drive. I saw a guy make the drive in a VW GTI, which I definitely wouldn't advise. 4WD or AWD will make you feel more confident but you can do FWD and get by just fine. Good food and drinks at the ranch. Best hike during our time in Vail, for sure.

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