Trekking Guide to Snowshoe & Hiking Trails in the Vail Area

snowshoeing-in-vail-2Ski season is around the corner. We in Vail will be able to start our quest for epic powder in less than a month. But, there are so many more things to do in Vail than just ski.

While the Antlers at Vail may be your lodging choice in Vail, we like to think that we are so much more than a hotel. We like to think that we make your condo at the Antlers your home away from home, and that we welcome you as a part of our family. And, that includes sharing our favorite Vail activities, and in this case, trails. Below is a summary of some of our favorite snowshoe and hiking trails. But, we have many more to share, so if you are looking for something different just ask our front desk.

Antlers at Vail Trekking Guide: Our Favorite Snowshoe and Hiking Trails

The Antlers at Vail provides a multitude of complimentary amenities for guests including FREE snowshoe rentals and hiking poles! We have selected a few of our favorite trails below to share with you. Please ask the front desk for additional suggestions or a detailed Vail Mountain trail map.

Self-Guided Snowshoe Tours:

Old Vail Pass- East Vail
Length: 4.16 MI one way (6.7KM)
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 1,015 FT
Trail Use: Light to moderate
Access from Vail: Exit I-70 at East Vail (Exit 180) and drive 1.9MI East to the end of the plowed South Frontage Rd, just past Main Gore Drive.
Considerations: This was the route that Old Hwy 6 took over Vail Pass before I-70 was built. Before that, this route was used by the Ute Indians. Today, be aware that the snow may be thin during the early winter and spring months due to the pavement below the snow.
Directions: Snowshoe 0.4 MI toward the bike path gate. (Snow may be thin under the highway bridge). Go past the Gore Creek trailhead and campground but don’t tour the drainage due to avalanche danger. The old Vail Pass route is a good mid-winter trail that is gradual and scenic.

Meadow Grouse Loop- Minturn
Length: 6.45 MI loop (10.38KM)
Difficulty: Moderate
Trail Use: Moderate
Access from Vail: Travel West on I-70 to Exit 171 for Minturn (Hwy 24) and turn right at the stop sign (South). Continue underneath the interstate and on the right turn into the Forest Service parking lot. The trail begins at the south end of the parking lot near the white house.
Trail Highlights: Start at Meadow Mountain, follow the trail up for about 0.8 miles to the Grouse Creek connector on the left. Follow the trail southeast to the West Grouse Creek trail, turn right. You will soon reach a junction where the Grouse Lake Trail goes left, but stay right on the West Grouse Creek Trail. The trail stays left of the creek- note the ridge across the creek. It will remain steep until you approach a junction with a logging road. The creek, which is well below until this point, becomes nearly level with the trail. Watch carefully here for the snow-covered road. Turn right onto the road and you will soon find yourself on the Old Meadow Mountain Ski Area runs. You have the choice for following the Meadow Mountain Trail back down to the connector you took earlier or following the old ski runs back down to the base.

Guided Snowshoe Tours: (A safe way to get familiar with terrain.)

Nature Discovery Center (2pm daily)
Join a Walking Mountains Naturalist for an introductory educational snowshoe through the forest atop Vail Mountain. Learn about winter ecology and animal adaptations as you gaze at majestic mountain views. Call 970-754-4675 for details.

Walking Mountains Science Center (Monday – Saturday at 2pm)
Join the science center for a gentle educational hike through aspen and riparian communities. Walks will be conducted on snowshoes as necessary due to snow levels. Call 970-827-9725 for details.

The Vail Nordic Center is located on the Vail Golf Course and offers easy, intermediate, and difficult terrain. Daily groups leave at 10am. Call 970-754-3200 extension 4 for details.

*All the Vail Mountain ski terrain is open for snowshoeing. For safety reasons, please go before or after lift operation hours.

Hiking Trails

Vail Mountain Hiking Trails

Eagle’s Loop Green: Short ridge-top loop with great views of Mount of the Holy Cross – 1 mile (1.6 km), 15-20 minutes
Lower Fireweed Green: Beautiful wooded trail between Eagle’s Nest and Mid-Vail – 1 mile (1.6 km), 30-40 minutes, loop with Upper Fireweed – 2.2 miles (3.5 km), 1 – 1.5 hours
Berrypicker Blue: Starting at Lower Fireweed, this intermediate trail winds down from Mid-Vail or Eagle’s Nest to Vail Village or Lionshead, picnic at Minnie’s Deck along the way – 4.6 miles (7.4 km), 2-3 hours.
Ridge Route Blue: Intermediate ridge climb from Eagle’s Nest to Wildwood and back with spectacular views – 2.8 miles (4.5km), 1.5-2 hours
Bad Simba Black: Steep side trail formerly part of Lionshead Loop – .75 miles (1.2 km)

Other Area Hiking Trails

North Trail (Beginner)
This version of the North Trail begins at the Red Sandstone trailhead on Red Sandstone Rd. From the trailhead, ride west above Vail up countless switchbacks. After 2.0 miles riders will come to an intersection with Buffehr Creek trail. Stay left and continue down a loose and rocky descent. Reaching the bottom, riders will cross Buffehr Creek and traverse around some beaver ponds to an intersection. Follow the signs to continue on the North Trail. The trail begins to climb again with more switchbacks and great views of the Gore and Sawatch Ranges. Eventually, the trail will start to contour and the ride becomes quite enjoyable as it passes through lush aspen groves. In the height of summer, the wildflowers through this section are very impressive. The trail will start to descend towards the Davos trailhead. Stay on the main trail and ride to an intersection with the Davos Hill Climb. Turn right and ride the dirt road (FS 781) 0.42 miles to a gate. Go through the gate to access the last singletrack section of the ride. Descend through the trees to the Trappers Run trailhead. From here, ride the North Frontage Road all the way back to Red Sandstone Rd and the start of the ride.
DIRECTIONS: Drive west on Interstate 70 to Exit 173 West Vail. Take the roundabout east past Safeway and City Market to Red Sandstone Rd. Turn left and drive 0.35 miles to the Red Sandstone trailhead.

Booth Creek Falls (intermediate)
Booth Falls trail climbs north through at a steep start and levels off through clover-scented woodlands. The trail emerges into a meadow full of wildflowers. The trek to the falls is steep but quick, sloping along a creek. The falls is a refreshing stop before heading toward the lake. Hikers will climb northeast into a deep forest where the creek reappears along the trail. As hikers move further into a meadow, look for the trail fork, just above 10,200 feet, where a path to the left takes hikers into the Piney Lakes region through the Piney Creek Trail. The trees will begin to thin and the terrain continually changes. The final climb to the lake is ruthless and difficult because of a rocky, washed-out path. But when hikers finally arrive at the lake, the views are heaven on earth.
DIRECTIONS: Drive about 0.9 miles west from Interstate 70 East Vail Exit 180 to the Booth Falls Road. Turn right and proceed to the end of the road to park near the fence.

Yoga at Altitude

What a beautiful setting and backdrop.

I peaked out the window the other morning and saw the 9:30 class on the pool deck.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Antlers offers complimentary yoga every Tuesday and Thursday mornings instructed by Tracy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

What a great way to start the day in Vail.  Come join us, won’t you?

Greg

Vail Fourth of July Festivities Expanded

Antlers' owners and guests enjoy the Fourth of July parade in Vail.

Antlers’ owners and guests enjoy the Fourth of July parade in Vail.

There is never a void of things to do in Vail for the Fourth of July, and this year is no exception. Vail America Days returns to Vail Village and continues throughout the Fourth of July weekend, July 4 – July 7. The celebration  has been expanded to a four-day festival featuring spectacular fireworks, a classic town parade  through the heart of Vail Village, live music, children’s entertainment and an open-air street  festival atmosphere.

Entertainment will include Vail’s celebrated 4th of July parade this year with a nostalgic theme, fireworks by the world-famous Zambelli Fireworks (conditions permitting), live musical  entertainment throughout the weekend featuring family music, Jazz, and our annual Patriotic Music from Bravo! Vail featuring the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. For the family, there will be an array of children’s activities, and multi-day festival style attractions with Americana style food and drink  – as always complimented by all that Vail summer has to offer on and off the mountain.

The Vail 50th themed parade will begin at Golden Peak at 10 a.m. on Thursday July 4 and will wind its way through the villages, ending in Lionshead. Vail’s parade is one of the most popular events during the Independence Day holiday, attracting thousands of spectators. This year’s theme is “Vail’s 50th Anniversary Celebration” and will set the tone for the rest of the day’s celebrations featuring musical entertainment, a patriotic concert and a fireworks display at dusk.

Fourth of July celebrations continue at noon and throughout the remainder of the day with free entertainment in Vail Village at the main Vail America Days Stage at Solaris Plaza. The live music and beer garden will be open to the public through 10 p.m. on and stay open from noon – 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 5 and Sunday, July 6 to keep the celebration going. Another new addition to Vail America Days, is the Stars and Stripes zones, which offer an array of games and activities for the whole family to enjoy, The Stars and Stripes zones are complimentary and will be located in Lionshead and Gore Creek Promenade on Thursday, July 4 – Saturday July 6 from 12 – 4 p.m. each day.

For a complete schedule visit VailAmericaDays.com.

Pets and Musical Children Make the Antlers at Vail Home

Dock Dogs competition at the 2013 GoPro Mountain Games.

Dock Dogs competition at the 2013 GoPro Mountain Games.

We love the variety of friends who make the Antlers their home while here in Vail. As the official pet-friendly hotel of the Go Pro Mountain Games, we enjoyed many furry friends visiting over the weekend. Those furry friends included a skateboarding bulldog and competitors in the 2013 Dock Dogs competition at the GoPro Mountain Games. Most of those friends have checked out now, and our friends at the Colorado Children’s Chorale have checked in. Our condo arrangements (from studios to four-bedroom condos, all with full kitchens) make us an ideal home for families, or anyone coming for an extended stay.

 

The Colorado Children's Chorale during their annual visit at the Antlers at Vail.

The Colorado Children’s Chorale during their annual visit at the Antlers at Vail.

The Colorado Children’s Chorale is at the Antlers for their annual visit.  They are in town for a workshop designed to develop performance skills such as singing, dancing, acting and stage movement. Professional conductors and Chorale members work with attendees to share music and theater skills plus elements of teamwork and self confidence. The workshop concludes with a performance, Voices in the Valley, featuring workshop participants on stage with the Colorado Children’s Chorale at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater on Friday, June 14 at 7:00 p.m.

Here’s a taste of all the fun we’re looking forward to at the Antlers at Vail Condominiums and Conference Center this week in a video of the Colorado Children’s Chorale Rehearsing in the Antlers at Vail Courtyard in 2010.

Summer Family Fun in Vail

 

There is much to enjoy in Vail during the summer for locals and visitors alike

There is much to enjoy in Vail during the summer for locals and visitors alike

 

This beautiful sunny Colorado weather we enjoyed earlier this week has me itching for summer and all of the fun family activities that summer brings. We live in such a great place to raise family (or enjoy an extended family vacation), particularly in the summer when you can get out and enjoy fresh mountain air, sun and a multitude of activities.

Here are a few of the activities I am looking forward to enjoying very soon:

 

  • Taking the kids into town to ride the free Town of Vail bus, playing at the pirate ship park, cooling off in the children’s fountain and then enjoying a treat. Warning to parents: A candy store conveniently located itself right next to the fountain, so be prepared to take your kids in for a treat.
  • Taking a picnic and riding the gondola up to the top of Vail Mountain to enjoy some leisurely hiking and spectacular views.
  • Coming into Vail to meander through the Vail Farmers’ Market, enjoy some free jazz, getting some balloons for the kiddos and then enjoying lunch on a patio.
  • The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens hosts a butterfly release on May 24 at 11 am. Local school classes release the beautiful butterflies. It is a great opportunity to check out the gardens and play at the park adjacent to the gardens.
  • There are a multitude of great hikes in the area. I’m looking forward to taking the kiddos up on some of the easier trails for some exercise and to enjoy nature and take in the views.
  • Speaking of nature, Walking Mountains Science Center has all kinds of great family activities. I’m looking forward to checking out their Earth Keepers Preschool program and a nature walk.
  • I have also put the Bravo! Vail family concert featuring the National Repertory Orchestra on my calendar. It starts at 10am on July 14 with an instrument petting zoo—lots of fun for the kiddos as they get to try their hand at a variety of instruments. Then the concert starts at 11am.
  • Beaver Creek has some great activities too. We will make it over a couple of Fridays for their Fridays at the Park with free gondola rides, pony rides with Beaver Creek Stables, snow cones, roasting s’mores and more! The Beaver Creek rodeo  on Thursday evenings is fun too. They have a mutton-busting event that is pretty humorous.
  • But, the thing I am most looking forward to this summer is hanging in my own ‘hood. I live in EagleVail and it is in my opinion the best Vail area location in the summer! We have a plot in our community garden just across the street. I am looking forward to taking the kids over to plant seeds and look after the garden, and enjoy grilling out with friends in the garden. Also, EagleVail has a new salt-water pool that is just 100 yards from our back door. I’m looking forward to relaxing at the pool with the kiddos.
The Vail area boasts a multitude of spectacular hiking trails for all abilities. Photo courtesy of Jack Affleck and VLMD.

The Vail area boasts a multitude of spectacular hiking trails for all abilities. Photo courtesy of Jack Affleck and VLMD.

What are some of your favorite Vail area family activities and events? Share them with us in the comments section below!

One of the reasons that I am so glad to be a part of the Antlers family is our involvement in the community. As I was writing this post, it dawned on me how many of these events we have a connection to. The Antlers is the official condominium hotel of the Bravo! Vail orchestras. We host Serac Outside Adventure Film School, which is also a very cool thing going on during the GoPro Mountain Games. We are a pet-friendly hotel so home to some of the Dock Dog competitors who come to town for the Mountain Games. We also host some of the Vail Jazz Foundation’s musicians. So, not only can I look forward to partaking in these activities but also in getting to meet some of the people involved!

Posted by: Liana, the Antlers’ marketing gal

Access to the Best of Vail

After a visit from the Easter Bunny, kids enjoy a hunt for eggs in Lionshead.

After a visit from the Easter Bunny, kids enjoy a hunt for eggs in Lionshead.

 

Today I am marking my two and a half week anniversary here at the Antlers at Vail with my second blog post. This is my first experience working in the lodging industry and while I have had the fortune to work with the Antlers as the official condo hotel of both the Bravo! Vail music festival and Vail Symposium, there has still been a lot for me to take in.

I feel very fortunate to be working here as a part of the Antlers family, and to get to experience to some extent what our owners and guests get to experience. My first week here our Grand Poobah (aka Rob) shared an informal SWOT analysis with me. The top item on the strengths list was “location”. But I don’t think that does it justice. It is really more like the very best access to all that Vail has to offer, and that is a lot.

The antlers-bedecked cruiser bikes are free for guests. A fun way to tour the village!

The antlers-bedecked cruiser bikes are free for guests. A fun way to tour the village!

 

Two weekends ago my family came into town for the Vail Rec District’s Easter egg hunt. We parked here at the Antlers, enjoyed the Easter activities and then stopped back in at the lobby to enjoy some conversation, coffee and hot chocolate for our daughter before heading home. Last weekend we took our daughter up skiing. Of course, everyone knows the convenient proximity of the Antlers to the gondola. Earlier this week I needed to run to the bank. Instead of getting in the car and driving, I grabbed one of the free antlers-bedecked cruiser bikes and enjoyed a refreshing ride through town. As a long-time Vail local, working here reminds me of all the reasons that I live here. I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to bringing my hiking boots in and enjoying some impromptu Vail hikes this summer!

Posted by: Liana, the new marketing gal

10 Reasons Why It’s Great to Host Your Family Reunion at the Antlers

Family Reunion at the Antlers at Vail Hotel

As a PR associate who often writes about the Antlers at Vail’s family-friendly amenities, it was a special pleasure to enjoy four days at the Antlers with my extended family for a mini-reunion last week. More than anything, we really enjoyed having a spacious condominium where we could be together comfortably and spend some quality time together. Our visit inspired me to compile our family’s Top Ten list of all the things that were great about being here:

1. Plenty of room for everyone, and a great value

2. Cooling off in the beautiful swimming pool

3. The Antlers friendly staff, who made us feel so welcome

4. A free jazz concert Thursday night, just across the street

5. Close proximity to the free Vail shuttle, which made it so easy to people of all ages to get around

6. A full kitchen and large dining table, which allowed us to cook and enjoy some memorable family meals together

7. Cool, creamy gelato from nearby Rimini

8. The nice, shady walking and biking path along Gore Creek

9. Being able to bring along our dog, Maddie, who considers herself part of the family

10. Red foam antlers for all!

If you want to plan an unforgettable family reunion in beautiful Vail, keep the Antlers in mind. Our family is already talking about a return trip.

~ Eliza