Gore Lake is a 12.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Vail, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 12.5 miles Elevation Gain: 2,890 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

camping

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

This trail enters the Eagles Nest Wilderness. Wilderness regulations exist and are posted at the trailhead. Hunters may be in this area during hunting season. Be aware that this trail is neither marked nor maintained for winter use, and it crosses several avalanche paths. Campfires are prohibited at Gore Lake because of a lack of dead/downed timber, and to protect the sensitive alpine vegetation. Mountain goats are prevalent at Gore Lake. Please keep your distance, keep your pets leashed, and do not approach or feed them. From the trailhead you rise in elevation pretty quick, so be ready to start with a climb. After about a mile you get to a more moderate incline all the way to "the graves" which is around 4 miles total. You are in and out of the trees that first 4 miles with good views. Once you get to the graves you follow the signs and take a hard left towards Gore Lake. The next 1.8 miles are steep. This section is why this trail has a hard rating. Keep pushing and get to the lake! It's worth it.

hiking
muddy
off trail
snow
29 days ago

We went out on the trail last weekends ago (5/3). Although very beautiful, definitely a very hard time of year to go. The first part of the trail was fairly dry, until it bacame a constant transition between dirt, to water to snow. We carried in snowshoes but didn't end up putting them on until about 3.5 miles after finally getting frustrated with falling through the snow. The walk was much easier after, however we weren't able to stay on an sort of "trail" and did not end up making it to the lake. Also evidence of very recent avalanches on our way up. Will love to try again in the summer!

gorgeous trail. last 1.7 miles is not easy for beginners. very difficult be ready. many long vertical inclines

backpacking
8 months ago

My brother and I hiked to Gore Lake yesterday and camped there last night. NO CAMPFIRES ALLOWED! We spent the first hour after we arrived at the lake putting out someone else’s campfire that had spread. Everything about our trip was perfect. The trail is long, but the lake, as well as the views along the way, more than make up for the difficulty. There are plenty of great camping spots on the lake, though we had the whole lake to ourselves. I will definitely be doing this hike again.

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
scramble
8 months ago

This hike is not for the faint-hearted but 1000% worth it. It is a looong 6+ miles up to the lake (my fitbit recorded 8). The hardest parts are the first incline of the hike and that last 2 miles after the junction at the gravesite. It took us about 4.5 hrs to get up to the lake and about 4 for the trek down. If you have weak ankles like me, wear your high-top boots and take your time coming down. The steps are steep and there are loose rocks. We did a day-trip but next time will plan to bring our packs an stay the night on the lake because we wish we could've spent more time up there and fish in the morning and evening. We fished from about 1 to 3:30 pm but it was pretty windy by then and the water was rough -- only saw a few rises and had a couple nibbles but no catches. In hindsight we would've gotten an earlier start to the hike (we started about 8:30 am) so that we could've fished longer. If you're planning a day-trip, definitely start as early as you can so that you can take the time to relax and enjoy the lake and still have plenty of time to hike down before it gets dark. WILDLIFE - there is a ton of life on this trail, as you hike along the creek for most of it and also through some meadows. We saw a family of foxes as well as some mule deer. We did also see a giant moose track and some bear poop so they were definitely around somewhere. Additionally, right now the wildflowers are still in bloom AND the aspens and leaves are starting to turn for fall -- that combo made for incredible vibrant colors that are gorgeous. All in all - this hike was amazing and worth the challenge. We will definitely be back here. Never have been disappointed by Eagles Nest Wilderness.

8 months ago

A great, great hike. But the first mile and the last 1.5 are steep! Took me about 4 hours to get to the lake (with a pack) and about three to get down, both directions at a moderate pace. Camp at the lake if you can — it’s beautiful. If you climb the hill the to the left of the lake it will give you great 360 degree views of the entire valley. Did this on 9/7 to 9/8.

hiking
8 months ago

I backpacked here on 9/1. Once you get to the graves, that's where the trail gets steep but it is worth it! It took me about 3 hours to get up to the lake. Do yourself a favor and suffer through the incline to set up camp at the lake - you won't regret it!

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful trail the whole way up - meadows, waterfalls, a creek, wildflowers, aspens and obviously the lake. Doing it in one go was not the best idea since I have grandma joints, but was able to do it in about 5 hours and 45 min (including hangout time at the lake) - will probably backpack it if I do it again. I would note that about 75-80% of the people there do NOT heed the rules about keeping their dogs on a leash. Super frustrating if you have a dog who’d prefer to keep to his or herself...so heads up if you also have an introverted doggo. I’d imagine they’d all be loose while camping up at the lake, too, but we were in and out before that happened.

hiking
rocky
9 months ago

hiking
rocky
9 months ago

Beautiful trail and lake with fresh creek water for your dog at least 80% of the time and under cover about the same amount. Greeted by bald eagles when we got to the lake. Take time to walk around the lake and up to the top of the back rocks to see more great views. Total distance on my gps with hiking around the lake and up a bit of the back was just over 14 miles out and back.

hiking
9 months ago

Easy to follow trial but long. Some part of the trial can be steep but doable. Lots of wildflowers and not much wildlife. After the Graves site can be steep and flatten out and steep all the way to the lake.

hiking
9 months ago

Absolutely stunning, beautiful and easy climb up to the graves, after that you wonder if the Recen brothers ever made it to Gore Lake! The climb appears never ending! The lake is absolutely beautiful, and green as could be around, and the lake itself! Sadly no mountain goats!

hiking
9 months ago

would highly recommend this trail. Lots to see. Wild flowers were blooming, and lots of meadows. Trail is very steep in spots. But my daughter and I are low landers and made it. We just took lots of breaks.

hiking
9 months ago

Beautiful hike with the brother

hiking
9 months ago

Backpacked up to Gore Lake over August 10-11. Wildflowers are out in full force at all elevations right now! The first 0.6 miles are solid uphill, then it's gradual climbing up to the fork where you turn left to continue to the lake (Alltrails clocked this at about 4.3 or 4.4 miles in). Several creek crossings along the way, but you could keep your boots dry by rock or log hopping. The next 0.6 miles above the forks are pretty steep ~600 feet in .6 miles - especially with a full pack! Then you start to break into open meadows filled with flowers as you continue climbing to the lake. The lake itself is gorgeous - surrounded by rocky walls. We saw five mountain goats who had no qualms about walking right through our campsite. Pikas and marmots were hanging out in the rock field on the southwest side of the lake. I only wish we could have had more time (with less rain and thunderstorms) to explore around the lake. Mosquitoes were out but surprisingly not bad (worse at Vail Pass the night before).

hiking
9 months ago

Plenty of goats and people last weekend, including USFS trail crew cleaning up. At least 50 campers, but dint feel packed around lake. Hike up from grave site is 2.7 miles, and tough, not 1.5. This is not for feint or unprepared. Amazing lush wildflower conditions a full month or more later than usual. Shh— this hike is really awful.

hiking
9 months ago

Amazing hike!!! Unexpected views at the top. Saw about 15-20 mountain goats and only about 10 people. Last couple of miles are the steepest. Definitely recommend this one.

hiking
muddy
rocky
10 months ago

My gps clocked this in at 12.8 miles round trip, so it’s a bit of a time commitment for a day hike. The whole trail is flooded with beautiful scenery right now: aspens and huge wildflowers near the bottom, cascades and water crossings throughout the gulch, meadows and craggy views near the top, and a beautiful lake with its own herd of mountain goats as the finish. The trail gets its “hard” rating for the steepness of the first mile, the section right after the cut-back, and the final push to the lake. Luckily, it’s all laced with gradual sections of elevation change to give you a rest. This hike is comparable to nearby Pitkin Lake and Booth Lake, so try those if you enjoyed this one.

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
10 months ago

Awesome overnight backpacking trip. A lot of wildflowers early on in the hike. at about the midway point, it opens up into a pleasant meadow with great views of ridgelines, avalanche gulches, and peaks. Once at the lake, lots to do. You can fish for trout in the lake, admire the herd of mountain goats while they investigate your campsite, go for a jaunt up the surrounding ridgelines, and star gaze at night.

hiking
muddy
10 months ago

Muddy but worth every step. There was a large herd of goats at the south end of the lake and views throughout the hike were amazing!

hiking
10 months ago

Great hike. Beautiful views of the valley very early on. A few crossings of seasonal streams but you should be able to keep your boots dry. Climb from the graves to the lake in good condition and not as daunting as trail description suggests.

hiking
10 months ago

Great hike and beautiful views! So many mountain goats at lake. A few steep areas but overall easy walk up. So worth it!

hiking
muddy
rocky
10 months ago

Awesome views, worth the hike! For the adventurous.. took me and my dog ~ 6 hours with a short break at the top. Mtn goats near the lake.

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