Hiking in Vail, Colorado
The unique landscape of the Vail Valley lends itself to every type of outdoor adventure, yet hiking is an all-time favorite year-round activity in Vail. Whether you are exploring the expansive woods of Epic Discovery’s Wildlife Exploration Trails, setting out on a guided nature walk with the Nature Discovery Center or basking in nature’s glory as you explore the spectacular hiking trails from your back door or deep in the wilderness of the backcountry, there is the perfect hiking trail for you to escape to the surreal silences of Vail’s varied terrain and unparalleled majesty.
Your stay in one of our Vail Vacation rentals makes hiking easy and accessible. Many of our vacation homes & condos are located within walking distance to some great hiking adventures. After a day of exploration, you will be able to relax in our professionally cleaned, fully-furnished vacation properites. Unwind even more when you stay in a Vail rental with a hot tub!
HIKING TRAILS ON VAIL MOUNTAIN
Easy 1 mile loop
Eagle’s Loop is a short ridge-top loop with great views of Mount of the Holy Cross. An easy hike great for beginners and families with access from the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola.
Easy 1 mile loop
Lower Fireweed is a beautiful wooded trail between Adventure Ridge and Mid-Vail, great for families and those looking to enjoy gorgeous views. Loop with Upper Fireweed for a slightly longer 2.2 mile hike from the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola.
Intermediate 1.4 miles one way
Ridge Route is an intermediate ridge climb from Adventure Ridge to Wildwood and back with spectacular views. The option to loop up with many other of Vail’s scenic trails makes this a great option to explore the trails of Vail Mountain.
Intermediate 1.5 miles one way
The Grand Escape trail offers an alternative hiking experience with spectacular views and makes a great loop with Ridge Route. Starting from the top of the Wildwood Express lift area, a This well-marked, serene trail leads you through fields of wildflowers to panoramic views of the Gore Range.
Intermediate 2 miles
Kinnickinnick is an intermediate wooded trail connecting Ridge Route at Wildwood and heads to Mid-Vail. Combine this scenic trail with Ridge Route for a 3.4 mile hike one way.
Intermediate 1.2 miles
The Ptarmigan Loop is a scenic trail through shaded woods connecting with Ridge Route at Wildwood to Ptarmigan Point and back. Loop up with Ridge Route for a great 4 mile hike.
Expert 1.5 miles
Sunlight is a beautiful wooded trail connecting Ridge Route and Kinnickinnick at Wildwood, finishing at Patrol Headquarters. The length of the trail ranges from 1.5 miles to 4.5 miles dependent on the connecting trails.
Expert 0.75 miles one way
Bad Simba is a steep single track trail with switchbacks winding through trees and meadows eventually meeting up with Berry Picker.
Intermediate 4.6 miles one way
Starting at Lower Fireweed, this intermediate scenic trail winds down from Mid-Vail or Adventure Ridge to Vail Village or LionsHead or alternatively for a slightly harder hike trek from either Lionshead or Vail Village for a hike up the mountain with stunning views of the snow-capped peaks of the Gore Range. Pack a picnic and take a break at Minnie’s Deck along the way.
Stone Creek Trail
Easy: 2.3 miles one way
Stone Creek Trail (aka Paulie’s Plunge) begins at the cul-de-sac at the top of Eagle Drive. Hike your way through Aspen trees, conifers and low brush down to the golf course and on to the foot bridge crossing Stone Creek. This is a great place to turn around for young hikers or push yourself and continue on for a steep climb to the Beaver Creek Resort.
Shrine Ridge Trail
Easy: 2.1 miles one way
Shrine Ridge Trail offers 360 degree views of Copper Mountain, Mt of the Holy Cross, the Gore Range and the back bowls of Vail. A spectacular hike during mid-summer when the meadows come alive with the colors of wildflowers.
Pitkin Lake Trail
Moderate to Difficult 4.5 miles one way
After a strenuous first mile as the trail climbs out of Vail, you can wander through the aspen groves and spruce-fir forests on the Pitkin Lake Trail. The trail leads past two waterfalls on Pitkin Creek to Pitkin Lake.
Gore Creek Trail
Moderate to Difficult 5.48 miles to Gore Lake one way
The Gore Creek Trail takes you alongside Gore Creek with some short steep sections, scenic meadows of wildflowers and aspen groves and on to Gore Lake, a scenic high alpine lake. One of the most popular in the eagle’s Nest Wilderness, Gore Creek Trail leads you not only to Gore Lake but you are able to branch off to the saddle of Red Buffalo Pass overlooking Red Peak and Buffalo Mountain.
Bighorn Creek Trail – Moderate
Moderate to Difficult 3.25 miles one way
After a steep hike out of Vail, the Bighorn Creek Trail passes beaver ponds, the remains of old mining camps, meadows of fir and spruce and ends at the beautiful Bighorn Falls. The trail promises great views of the Grand Traverse, a continuous 12,000 foot ridge connecting all the peaks and high drainages of the Gore Range and inspiring views overlooking Big Horn Creek.
Moderate to Difficult 4.1 miles (one way)
Booth Lake Trail climbs steeply from the trailhead through aspen groves for the first mile then levels out along Booth Creek to the iconic 60 foot Booth Creek Falls. Many hikers stop short at the falls which is approximately a 2 mile hike, however the trail continues to wind through conifer forests and meadows filled with wildflowers along a steep and rocky path.
Deluge Lake Trail
Moderate to Difficult: 3.8 miles one way
The Deluge Lake Trail begins alongside the Gore Creek Trail at the Gore Creek Campground. Passing through several boulder fields and along a steep slope of aspen woods, the trail is steep for 3 miles reaching the creek. Follow the creek to Deluge Lake where you are greeted by spectacular views of the Saswatch Range and Mount of the Holy Cross. A beautiful hike to restore your soul and witness the cascading rainbow of fall colors of Vail.
Lost Lake Trail
Easy: 3.73 miles between trailheads
The Lost Lake Trail takes you through lodgepole pine and aspen groves along the ridge dividing the Piney and Red Sandstone drainages forking to the left to Piney Lake or straight onto Lost Lake.
Easy to Difficult: 7.02 miles (one way)
Piney Lake is an oasis in the midst of the Gore Range. From the trailhead, the hike takes you about 3 miles through fragrant pines to a cascading waterfall, then on through meadows to a small lake onto a rigorous hike to Upper Piney Lake where the trail can be difficult to follow. An easy trail to the waterfall which becomes more difficult as you head on to the scenic Upper Piney Lake.