While in the Vail Valley, simply look in any direction to see why our region is an ideal place for hiking! There are hundreds of miles of scenic hiking trails for all ability levels. Explore the wildflowers, catch a glimpse of wildlife, and enjoy the amazing views of the surrounding mountain ranges. Vail & Beaver Creek Resorts also offer numerous hiking trails to be explored, both by foot or by gondola/lift.
The Big List of Area Hikes – Non-Guided
A few favorites:
Big Horn Creek Trail — Easy hiking trail, chance to experience Colorado’s plant and animal life
A combination of an easy hiking trail and the chance to experience Colorado’s plant and animal life first-hand, makes the Big Horn Creek Trail one of the best trails in Vail. This 3.6-mile easy-to-moderately difficult hiking trail takes you by ponds filled with beavers, old abandoned mining camps, and ends at the breathtakingly beautiful waterfall known as Big Horn Falls. If you’re looking for a more challenging hike, take a side trail which will lead to beautiful, awe-inspiring cliff valley views that overlook the Big Horn Creek.
Gore Creek to Gore Lake — Climbs from Vail to a pristine lakeshore
Enjoy the Gore Creek Trail as it parallels the creek. You will encounter some short steep sections. The Gore Creek trail winds through beautiful meadows and stands of aspen trees. At around the 5th mile the trail forks. The right trail goes to Gore Lake while the left goes to Red Buffalo Pass.
Booth Falls — The iconic day hike
The perfect hike should be three things: challenging but not impossible; short enough to finish in half a day; and end with a spectacular reward from nature. The popular, somewhat crowded Booth Creek Trail is all of this, but it is the nature reward that makes this hike iconic.
Fall Creek Trail — Experience the fun of one of the valley’s favorite lakes
Surround yourself with the beauty of green forestry, and experience the fun of one of the valley’s favorite lakes on the Fall Creek Trail. This 9-mile, one-way, moderate level hiking trail will take you through a winding forested path that ends at Lake Constantine. Once there, you can take part in fly-fishing, swimming and boating while surrounded by the beauty of the Colorado Mountains.
Deluge Lake – Awesome hike, great views
The Deluge Lake Trail is highlighted by aspen, expansive alpine meadows, and open tundra. Visitors will enjoy varied terrain, spectacular scenery, and well-earned solitude at Deluge Lake.
Cross Creek – Side trips to small hidden lakes
Tucked along this trail is the chance to take side trips to small hidden lakes that are ideal for fishing. The Cross Creek Trail ends at the glacier-made valley of Reed’s Meadow and is one of the only trails in the Vail area that provides a picturesque view of the Mount of the Holy Cross.
Piney River — Oasis on the mountain
If there is a best-kept secret in the Vail Valley it has to be this high mountain lake. A 45-minute drive down a rugged red sandstone road (make sure your car has high suspension) will deposit you in one of the most picturesque spots in all of Colorado: steep, snowcapped mountains towering over fields of wildflowers and a glassy lake dotted with canoes and standup paddleboards.
Missouri Lakes — Three landscapes for the hike of one
If you want to see the diversity of Colorado’s landscape in one Vail Valley hike, make it this one, just 45 minutes outside of Vail. Start in alpine desert and wind your way through lush forests and along narrow creeks and waterfalls until you emerge in meadows that lead to several lakes.
Mount of the Holy Cross — A classic 14’er challenge
The presence of this 14,005-foot peak(named for the cross of snow that sometimes appears on its side) can be felt throughout the valley. But climbing it is not recommended for the lapse backpacker. The most common assent, the North Ridge, is an almost 12-mile round trip trek with 5,000 feet in elevation gain.
Resort and Guided Hikes
Vail Mountain offers numerous hiking trails to be explored, both by foot or by Gondola. Guided Hikes and Private Tours also available.
Hike Beaver Creek Mountain to a pristine high alpine lake through a field of wildflowers! Or summit one of Colorado’s coveted 14,000ft peaks – Guided Hikes and Private Tours also available, click here.
Vail Recreation and Nature Center – A farmhouse perched between a montane meadow and the forested bank of Gore Creek houses the Vail Nature Center. This seven-acre facility in the heart of Vail is a tranquil gem whose knowledgeable staff hosts informative bird, wildflower and beaver pond tours and backcountry hikes. Camp Eco Fun is heaven for children.