Explore the most popular nature trips trails near Vail with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
2 days ago

Parking is a bit tight at the trailhead at the bottom of the trail. Google maps was trying to take me about 1/4 mile down the road where there is a little more parking but not a lot. The trail is well defined, smooth in some parts while rocky and steeper in others. There is one easy stream crossing. A few small snow patches were still along the way. They were small enough to go over or around without any problems. There are plenty of areas in the shade for rest stops.

hiking
9 days ago

Great hike. Near the falls there is some snow to navigate through, which was the most difficult part of the hike. Our 6yo hiked with us as well.

hiking
10 days ago

Great hike, saw lots of Bighorn Sheep. The trail was mostly clear of snow, a little slippery in parts.

hiking
10 days ago

Still pretty snowy, overall. The first mile was pretty dry. The next mile was wet but no snow. By about the 3rd mile it was getting getting snowy, and we turned back a little before mile 4. The snow wasn't too bad, and traction wasn't needed, but there was a bit of postholing.

hiking
17 days ago

Great trail, some traction still recommended especially at the steep lookout over the falls.
Postholing will occur for heavier hikers.

Snow packed about a mile in. Still fun. Be careful!

snowshoeing
1 month ago

Easy to access off I70.

Snowshoed. Very different experience in summer.

The trail up Shrine Pass Road was easy to follow. There were very few hikers. Once you pass the Shrine Mountain Inn huts there is not a defined trail. There are lots of snowmobile tracks, but no defined snowshoe route. You will want your gps to follow a route. We bushwhacked as best we could through the trees and up the final slope. The final slope is very steep. I loved it, but some in our group weren't ready for anything that strenuous.

The snow is starting to crack on some slopes and may give soon. Pick your route carefully.

The snow was passable, but the hot sun made it very soupy by the end of the day. It was miserable on the way down. You will need snow shoes. One of my compatriots took his off because the snow was sticking to his snowshoes pretty badly. He couldn't make it 100 yards without severe post holing.

I think this was my last snowshoe excursion for the year. The snow is not a lot of fun to be in these days.

Great views at the top.

Snow is pretty deep above 9500'. I posted a few times falling one of those times into more than 3' of snow, finding it difficult to get out!
Lower elevations have no snow, but the trail is slushy.
It was snowing during our entire 3-hour hike; started late, at 3 pm.
Snow shoes and hiking poles are advisable.
Pretty good hike. Deep snow makes it harder.
Got lost a couple of times.
Saw only 2 other hikers on the trail.
God willing, I plan to do it after the snow has melted, during summer/fall season.

2 months ago

The only reason it get 4 stars instead of 5 is because I couldn’t make it to the lake due to the snow conditions. Just to early in the season to expect to make it to Gore Lake. Regardless, this was a beautiful hike. I had to start cutting my own trail after about 2 miles, so be prepared with snowshoes if you plan to get very far. I can’t wait to be back in late summer to attempt getting to the lake again. The views across the valley are breathtaking. Very impressed with my first hike in CO.

Terrible. You have to hike up a road to even get to the entrance.

hiking
3 months ago

Absolutely beautiful. Didn't make it anywhere near the falls though as we ended up waist-deep in snow! Still a great workout though!

hiking
4 months ago

My family loves to visit this lake. Last year, I did the Booth Falls hike for the first time and it's probably my favorite place on earth. It's absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately the activity area at the head of the trail is not super picnic friendly anymore, but as long as you're on the trail or at your car you'll be fine.

snowshoeing
4 months ago

Snowshed around the trail and had amazing scenery!

hiking
5 months ago

I also lost my father's beloved grey/dark brown cashmere scarf, from Banana Republic but almost 20 years old. If anyone finds it - please, reach out. It may have been 'off-piste' or on the general trail, but I would so appreciate its return.

alexandrakonkina@gmail.com

hiking
5 months ago

Hiked this trail a week ago.

As some reviewers have noted below, the trail gets severely snowy towards the end. I suspect I was nearing the end of the trail, but I had to stop and turn around because I got very lost in the final stretch of trees. The trail almost completely disappeared and I was unable to find it (and on the way back) for about another half hour.

I was also alone, which wasn't the greatest idea. I would recommend hiking this trail in groups of 2 or more, especially in the winter. No mountain lion tracks, but some bobcat tracks were visible.

Good views, and a great workout. Not icy right now, but wear snow boots.

great views. wildflowers almost at peak

hiking
5 months ago

We hiked this trail yesterday and it was one of the prettiest trails I’ve ever hiked. As others have mentioned, It was hard to find the trail in certain points and it is uphill nearly the entire way, especially in the beginning and at the end. It was a great work out, taking us a little over three hours to get to the top and another two or so to the bottom. Definitely bring your snowshoes for the last part of the trek.

I would not recommend this hike for beginners, or for visitors who have yet to acclimate to the altitude. The views on this trail are amazing, especially once you get to the “meadow” section.

I’m excited to come back to this trail in the Summer or Fall when Aspens are in color. Super hike with not one other person on the trail. 5 Stars.

hiking
5 months ago

Not busy at all but a beautiful hike even during the winter. The falls and river are frozen which adds a unique touch to the experience. Most of the trail was icy, so I was very thankful for my mini ice spikes, especially on the way down. But its well marked and not very difficulty.

Great long and very scenic hike. Plenty of small little tarns to hit with your line. And plenty of scrambling fun to be had.

hiking
5 months ago

Hiked on 12/9/2017

Made it about 1 mile until Pitkin Lake before having to turn around. We had lost the trail several times over the first 4 miles but kept finding the trail again to continue. Trail is under about 1 ft minimum of snow (powder not packed snow), at times 3 ft. Turned around after not wanting to walk through deep snow anymore. Started the trail at 7:30am - back at the lot at 12:30pm. Several stops to figure out where the trail was, 1 food break and lots of stops for photography (our main reason for going out there).

Highly recommend this trail but should wait a few months before hiking unless you have snow shoes. I will be back to complete this hike in Summer. Trail is most difficult at the beginning. No snow at the trailhead but starts about 1 mile into the trail.

hiking
5 months ago

Steep trail with great views

hiking
5 months ago

I hiked almost to the lake with a friend today. I say almost because we lost the trail somewhere within a mile of the lake, and decided not to risk bushwhacking.

Conditions at the start of the trail were mostly dry with a few patches of snow. Mostly dry over the steeper middle section. Towards the top of the steep part things transitioned over to snow, which was about 6 inches at the deepest.

Like I said, we lost the trail before getting to the lake. We were following someone else's snowshoe trail, but eventually it got powdery enough that we could no longer find it. We pushed on a little to see if it cleared out, but ultimately decided to turn around and try again another time. It seems like we strayed a bit too far to the north-west.

So, if you see some tracks, and you find they don't lead you to the lake, sorry! :)

Overall, great hike. Almost all of the reviews here seem to indicate this is a very difficult hike, but it didn't seem any different than Gore Lake, or Booth Lake, or the other hikes in this area. The "steep" part wasn't very steep, it was just a long stretch of uphill.

We brought microspikes but didn't need them. We didn't bring snowshoes, but wouldn't have used them even if we had.

hiking
5 months ago

This was the highlight of my trip to CO. Catching wild fish with our bare hands(and obviously releasing them) was something I'll never forget. The hardest part is in the beginning but when you get to the top its worth it.

hiking
5 months ago

Warning: as of 12/3/17 the road to get to the trial is closed.

Went here to hike but the road to get to the trail was closed. Will try again another time as it looks beautiful!

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful! It was extremely muddy and slippery in spots, so wear appropriate shoes. Not too busy this time of year. I'll definitely come back

hiking
5 months ago

Gorgeous! It was too slippery from the warm weather and the snow freezing for me to get to the top today. I will definitely come back for this one.

I'm sure it's gorgeous, however, the road was closed to get to it.

on Pitkin Lake Trail

hiking
5 months ago

Completed hike in August, beautiful wildflowers, wonderful hike... fun. One item to watch-out for are the damn aggressive wasps who got us going up and down!

Awesome trail!

hiking
6 months 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!

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