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
1 day ago

Date: 9/22/18, 7:30am-1:30pm
Conditions: Sunny, clear, temps 40-65F
Parking:
Adequate dirt, roadside parking at trailhead. More parking available up the hill. Watch for bicyclists coming down when leaving.
Trail:
While rated as hard, overall the trail is fairly moderate. There is a steep section at the start and a long climb to the lake, but the majority of the trail is a series of short climbs, downhills and flats. The trail carves through a variety of terrain, remaining mostly well-shaded throughout. Following Gore Creek, there are some small waterfalls and water access points along the route. Once you hit the marked graves of the Recen brothers, take a minute to fuel up and shed layers as the climb to the lake begins. The best views, aside from the lake, come from the open meadows on this final climb. Gore Lake itself is a breathtaking large green body at the feet of Snow Peak, Willow Peak, and Red Peak. There is a trail around the entire lake if you have energy remaining. As others have noted, this looks to be a great place to spend a few nights camping. I'll be back!
PSA:
Upon reaching the lake, I noticed an illegal campfire left burning and was forced to throw the large, smoldering logs into the water to put it out. Please abide by fire bans and Wilderness regulations posted at the trailhead.

on Shrine Ridge Trail

hiking
1 day ago

Hiked 9/8/18 on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. A relatively easy outing for my first day in CO. The trail was busy but not crowded. Scenery was good with yellow willows and many mountains around. However, the good mountains were all rather distant and had no snow.

hiking
1 day ago

I know that with most things, opinions are highly variable. Having got that "disclaimer"aside however, Booth Creek Falls has got to be in my top 5 BEAUTIFUL hikes, most especially if the Aspen are in their full glory. It is also in my top 5 most difficult hikes. The change in elevation is not the issue. The relief is. It is like working out on a "stair-master" for 3 hours (round trip). The increase in relief and elevation, in some places nearly 32% (if the AllTrails app is to be believed), is unrelenting and starts right at the beginning in a series of switch-backs and keeps on challenging you until you reach the falls. The last 1/8th mile is maybe the most difficult/steepest portion, though by this point your legs may be nearly spent (mine were) making it seem worse than it might be otherwise. The Aspen were pretty this year, but not at their best (we missed peak by 1 week I'v been told.) Also, as a working Geologist there is some interesting geology to be seen along the way. Finally, parking is a real problem, made worse by my hike being on a weekend. I've uploaded some photos and hope you appreciate them. Again, a GREAT but challenging hike.

I would say it is a moderate short hike. Good for kids as well. There is a up hill climp so where good hiking shoes. Not much water coming down probably due to lack of rain but worth to see. No parking but there is a close parking lot near by ( about a half a mile walk) and you need to walk to the falls.

Great hike!

Ammmmazing views. Got there around 8 and there were only 3 parking spots left. Definitely a little steep at first, but slow and steady and you’ll be fine.

Beautiful Trail! In mid September the leaves are changing and glow in the sunlight! at the end of the trail is a beautiful waterfall The parking is small and strict but if you park at the Park just west its with in walking distance.

trail running
4 days ago

Gorgeous! Nice length. Elevation changes aren’t crazy, but more gradual with some shorter, steeper areas. I couldn’t run up the scramble you will see to the left of the ridge onto the rock formation. Good excuse to sit and relax before going back.

hiking
5 days ago

Did this hike this week on the way back from Utah. It was a last ditch effort after realizing that Hanging Lake is closed. The views are incredible especially now with the fall leaves. I would say the hike is definitely worth it. As others have said parking is a nightmare and I honestly have no other idea where there is overflow parking or where to pick up the shuttle. We got there on a Monday midday and still had to wait for a spot. Overall the hike was amazing, I would rate it as moderate and not difficult. Also if you have good boots/shoes you can venture further up the falls and find some more falls which are beautiful. Overall I would definitely do this hike again, next time to the lake!

5 days ago

The trail is very pretty, through the woods and shady. It's just a pleasant walk, not strenuous. When we came out to the meadow area with the marshy little lake, we were not able to find the rest of the trail. Despite having the app, we tromped all over the place and could not pick it up, so we went back the same way we came. It didn't seem to track the red line in the app. But lovely nature walk. The handicap accessible portion of gravel is only a small part of the trail, the dirt path continues on through the woods.

Great hike in the fall! Parking is a nightmare... even on a Wednesday every spot was full. Sounded like there’s a shuttle service from town. Would have done 5 starts but trail head parking lot only had like 12 spaces.

hiking
6 days ago

Beautiful scenery and a variety of views! We are 50 and not seasoned hikers but in pretty good shape . Uphill on the way to the falls.. down hill coming back. Hard and steep at times but worth the views. Saw all ages on the trail. Took about 2.5 hours total which included time for lots of photos along the way.

This is a great short hike especially if you leave early in the morning work shaded on the Eastern slope.

Did this hike 3 days ago and it was one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever done. The ridge was beautiful and we actually walked about 1.5 mile along south spur. The fall colors and views were magnificent. Watched a marmot for quite awhile. Splendid!!!

hiking
7 days ago

Gorgeous hike especially with all the fall colors. Was definitely on the harder side but well worth it. Tracking on my watch put me at about 8 miles to the cabin and back. We brought our dog and only ran into 3 groups of people throughout the hike!

Absolutely stunning views and very fun hike up to the top!

hiking
7 days ago

Very difficult trail. Could use poles for sure. Amazing fall colors and amazing views at the top of the mountain.

There are much better hikes in the area. Though rated moderate, for anyone less than a seasoned hiker, I would say this is a hard hike with 35% grade ascents. HIGHLY recommend poles! Travels through aspen so nice for the fall and seems like there would be good wildflowers in July. Only about 12 parking spots limited to 3 hours and most people cannot get to the cabin and back in three hours. The cabin is anti-climatic. I recommend stopping for your snack at the large boulder field (not the small one) or going just above that field to a large flat area in order to enjoy the views. For more info and pics click here: https://etbtravelphotography.com/2018/09/18/roadtrip-to-the-rockies-vail/

hiking
7 days ago

This trail has it all, in my opinion. Very challenging at the beginning, levels off for awhile then hard again (for someone not acclimated to altitude or used to hill climbing - came from Indiana). Open meadow, forest, rushing stream and waterfall off in the distance. Didn’t have enough time to get to the lake but the Fall colors were incredibly beautiful! Loved this hike! Only did about 6 miles round trip but had done 3 earlier in the day so my knees were ready to be done hiking (poles came in very handy).

hiking
8 days ago

Always a beautiful hike! The views at the top are amazing, why we love living in Colorado. Moderate climb, and worth doing many times.

hiking
9 days ago

This was an absolutely amazing hike. The leaves are changing so beautifully which made it so much more magical! It’s labeled as difficult but I would say it’s a medium-hard hike. There are some steep parts but for the most part it’s just an uphill climb with a great reward at the end! Very clean trail, but very well trafficked. I recommend getting to the trail before 8 am (or even earlier). We arrived at 8:40 am and were really glad we came early because the hike back was pretty busy. Also, only park in designated parking spots because you WILL get a ticket if you’re parked on the side or the road. Overall, despite it being a busy trail, it’s probably one of my favorite hikes! Enjoy!

hiking
9 days ago

What an amazing hike! Pitkin lake is so beautiful during the fall. It is not as hard as you think. First mile is pretty tough but after that you can see very beautiful valley. Steady incline when you approach lake. Just bring enough water and a good snack. Must do if you in Vail area!

hiking
9 days ago

Great hike, highly recommend

Hiked nearly to the lake, had to turn around due to time. The last portion of hike (past the tree with grave marker/cant miss it) is mostly uphill. Lots to see on this hike, variety of terrain, plenty of shade, beautiful views.

Not many aspens but very nice hike without lots of people

hiking
11 days ago

Beautiful trail. Lots of photo ops. Went when aspens were turning colors. Nothing like it. Difficult trail, though. Take plenty of water.

Hiked this morning 9/11/18
A good hike up, enjoyed the scenery and took pictures. I would consider this a moderate and not hard trail compared to some other ones. We had great weather this morning, cool and some sun at time. Water is really low, therefore the fall is very small.

Hiked 9/9/18. The leaves are turning colors and it’s absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!! The water is low so you are able to walk on top of the waterfall and take pics on the edge of the drop off! Good workout! We clocked 5.8miles which is longer than what All Trails has as the distance. Definitely a great summer and fall hike!

Very beautiful but WARNING! Very very very limited parking. And the vail police will give you an expensive ticket if you park ANYWHERE other than that small parking lot beside the trail... even if there is no sign saying not to... not that I am bitter or anything. But the trail itself is beautiful. A bit longer than you think though.

hiking
16 days ago

I know it’s subjective, but it closer to hard than moderate. Amazing views, well-worth the time and effort. We went on 7 Sep and most of the Aspen in the immediate vicinity of the trail were still green.

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