Upper Piney River Falls Trail

MODERATE 104 reviews
#5 of 22 trails in

Upper Piney River Falls Trail is a 6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Vail, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
721 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

backpacking

birding

cross country skiing

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

The first few miles undulate gently through meadows with good spots for lunch, relaxation, and great views. The trail climbs through aspen and mixed conifer forest, crossing numerous little creeks before switchbacking downhill.

3 months ago

We mistakenly took the trail head and lower Piney lake and then Meadow Creek Road. Still pretty but the 9-mile dirt road made me like it less than others.

3 months ago

Long and bumpy dirt road to get to the lake. But worth it! The lake itself is gorgeous, but the trails around it were just decent in my opinion. The real prize is the lake, which you don’t even have to hike to get to, it’s right where you park.

hiking
3 months ago

The views from the whole trail are stunning. When I imagine Colorado this is what comes to mind. Wildlife is everywhere. We saw a bald eagle and a moose. This was a great trail!

hiking
3 months ago

It is absolutely worth the looooong drive down the dirt road. The view of the lake when you get to the ranch is stunning. The hike itself is relatively easy. There's only a short bit of climbing. Really beautiful with the golden aspens this weekend. We also saw a moose on the drive in!

hiking
4 months ago

Loved this hike so much we've done it twice in two weeks and 1/2 way with our 5 year old. Love love love

hiking
4 months ago

Lovely hike! The trailhead can be difficult to find for a first-timer to the area. Be prepared for a long bumpy ride. I wouldn't drive it in a two wheel drive car. At first, we stopped at the lower Piney trail. Don't stop there. Go all the way to the lake at Piney River Ranch. When we left around 12:30, the parking was pretty full so go early. The trail is 3 miles to the falls which are pretty, but not super impressive as falls go. The first two miles are easy and then it gets hilly and rocky. Anyone in relatively good shape can do it. The views and aspen trees are gorgeous. Saw 4 moose before reaching the trailhead on the road. In a Jeep, the drive is half the fun.

hiking
4 months ago

This is a beautiful hike! I wouldn't necessarily classify it as moderate, there were sections that were more challenging but overall pretty easy. Important note...this hike is 3 miles in to the Falls, you have to hike another 4 beyond that to get to Upper Piney Lake. We had a family member with us from TX and the altitude was getting to her so we didn't go beyond the falls. Truly so many beautiful photo ops and the leaves are changing already! Be ready for an EXTREMELY bumpy, slow ride in and zero cell service!! The 12 miles in took 45 min. Enjoy!

hiking
5 months ago

one of the best hikes i have been on. Piney Lake is gorgeous with spectacular views of surrounding mountains and rivers. We camped nearby on the Red White and Blue trail and we had a great night of camping.

hiking
5 months ago

Great views!!

hiking
5 months ago

Incredible views. It started with a little rain but this quickly passed. The continuous views of the green valley with the view of Mt. Powell in the background was stunning. The trail was moderately trafficked. Reaching the Falls themselves was not as incredible as I imagined but the journey there is what makes this hike worth it. Photos to come

Beautiful trail, especially in the fall through groves of aspen trees. Lake is surrounded by part of Gore range. That alone is worth the drive. View near the top looking back to the lake is well worth the hike.

5 months ago

Gorgeous!

hiking
5 months ago

Great trail. Not so difficult, less than 6 miles. Watch out for the almost 45 minute drive on a dirt road. MUST have bug spray.

5 months ago

Great hike for your first one out here. The falls were an awesome place to rest & have a snack before you headed back down & the views were beautiful. Just be prepared for a rough road up to the trail head.

hiking
6 months ago

The drive to the hike was about 15-20 or so miles of forest service roads dirt and gravel and bumpy.

Beautiful trail. out and back we measured it about 4 miles from outer parking and back. Go early or it can get busy. We hit trail at about 0800 and it took us about 3.5 hours with a long break at the water falls. Didn't pass anyone out but coming back was very busy.

The trail is easy and well marked. About 1 mile before the waterfall the elevation takes off up but doesn't last long. It got very hot out there so bring water or a filter for the streams along the way.

A great way to get out there and not kill yourself about 3-4 hours to complete

hiking
6 months ago

Bring bug spray and try to get out there as early as possible

hiking
6 months ago

Very interesting hike, beautiful views and gorgeous lake. 30+ minutes of off road drive that's not too bad but pretty rough. Get a bug spray, honestly, give yourself a favor.

6 months ago

The driveway was terrible. It is a 45 minute drive to lake. You need a 4 wheeler car. We could not make it with our standard car.

hiking
6 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

Lovely casual hike to the waterfalls. This was a nice walk with a great view at the end, a bit buggy in the woods but once we sat by the falls it was a nice place to eat. The car ride out is a bit of a b*tch, but there are plenty of sites to camp on the way if that's what you like (that's what I did), and gives you a great head start in the morning.

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