hiking

views

wild flowers

walking

forest

nature trips

birding

wildlife

trail running

dogs on leash

lake

dog friendly

mountain biking

kid friendly

snowshoeing

cross country skiing

camping

river

horseback riding

backpacking

skiing

fishing

off road driving

waterfall

fly fishing

rock climbing

snowboarding

no dogs

scenic driving

With 12 ski areas, 10 mountain peaks over 14,000 feet, 2,500 miles of trails, eight Wilderness areas, 1,900 miles of forest roads, and 2.3 million acres of nature, it is easy to see why White River National Forest is the most visited forest in the United States. Visitors to these Colorado public lands can see Dillon, Ruedi, Homestake, and Green Mountain reservoirs, check out the ski resorts, hit up the hiking trails up one of the 14ers (Castle Peak, Grays Peak, Torreys Peak, Capitol Peak, Maroon Peak, Snowmass Mountain, Pyramid Pea, Mount of the Holy Cross) many of which are in the famous Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, check out the White River, and look out for elk, mountain goats, bobcat, and lots of other wildlife in the Rocky Mountains. Hanging Lake is another enormously popular attraction in the forest. This forest makes a great trip from Central Colorado cities like Vail, Aspen, or Glenwood Springs.

Climbing Quandary was a spectacular experience! Awesome views throughout the whole hike. I met people from all over the world and encountered mountain goats and marmots on the east ridge. The final 1000 feet are rocky and difficult. One must work with 40% less oxygen near the peak. Totally worth it!

off road driving
2 days ago

On 11/14/17 I hiked from McCullough Gulch trailhead to the first lake (Upper Blue Reservoir) and back, about 4 miles round trip according to my GPS unit. The trail is somewhat difficult to follow between the falls and the lake, but it all works out. There are some icy spots, which can generally be bypassed, but boot traction devices and poles help. Great late season hiking conditions. The crowds have obviously thinned out, but I did see 7 other people on the trail between noon and 4:00pm. There is currently no parking allowed on the last 3/4 mile of the road (due to utility work), so this adds 1.5 miles to your round trip.

Great weather for the trip on 11/12 but the winds would whip in and out near the summit. Be cautious on the summit with gusts. The views are absolutely amazing! Be prepared with water potentially freezing and bring layers, gloves, hat, sunglasses or goggles and all the other items you would need is cold temps. Enjoy!

This trail was amazing! I went November 9th. Started the hike at about 3:30 PM with the sun already starting to set. The ever changing landscape was amazing to see. Through the path there are meandering waterfalls and closely followed by Steller Jay’s! Beautiful little bird!
The last 200 yards of the climb are a bit steeper but far more adventurous and the views are unmatched! Once you finally make it you’ll see why it’s worth it! The tranquil blue and green waters of hanging lake are like nothing I’ve ever seen before!
Go even a little further to spouting rock and see where all of the water for this hike comes from it’s a neat waterfall literally looking as if it was being spit out of a mountain. Totally recommended!

hiking
4 days ago

Great hike- definitely one of the harder ones I’ve done as it was literally uphill the entire way. But thankfully, what goes up must come down! We did the hike to the falls in the early morning and the ground/trail was still frozen over (thankfully). After the falls, we kept going in the direction of the lake. This half of the hike was snow covered, and I was really happy to have my yaktrax on my feet to keep me from sliding (others weren’t so lucky). We never made it to the lake as the snow was too deep, but it was a gorgeous hike. The way back was thankfully downhill, but fairly muddy since the sun was out and thawed the ground. I took a spill and a mud bath... but all in all, it was a great hike- I’d do it again. The parking lot isn’t large- so get there early!

Made the trip this past Sunday, got there around 9am and the parking lot was barely full which was amazing! The hike is even more beautiful than photos make it look. Pictures do NOT do it justice!

During the summer you would need to get here earlier than 9, but during cooler months (especially ski opening weekend) it seems like most people don't start getting there until later. On our way down, around 11:30am there was a lot more traffic coming up.

hiking
4 days ago

Moderately trafficked but a great waterfall to view

hiking
4 days ago

The trail is no longer public, private landowner now.

The directions take you to Booth Creek park which is like a mile away from the trailhead. You need to go past Vail Mountain school on booth falls road up the mountain. There’s a special little parking lot for the trailhead.

hiking
5 days ago

hiking
5 days ago

Lots of wet and thick mud in the first and last half mile. Most of the trail is covered in pack snow, but it was up to 2-3 inches in some places. The views on the way up were just as pretty as the ones at the top!