Grouse Lake, a beautiful 6.25 mile hike to a beautiful lake known for its fine fishing. This hike is a great one if you are up here in the summer and its too hot to do anything but you are going to anyways because… well its your vacation that’s what you do. The hike follows Grouse Creek through a balmy mossy forest with plenty of chances to cross over the creek and catch some spray. Named for the large gentle bird that is brown in summer and changes to white in the winter they are quite common in the area. A fun fact I just learned, local lore says that if you don’t look a mother grouse in the eye as you approach her, she will not run away. I suggest someone try it out and report back to me because I find that hard to believe. They are also very defensive of their chicks but are not really dangerous even when angry. I’ll see you up there!
~Tyler, your friendly neighborhood night auditor.
Here is a map showing the trail head and its location in relation to Vail and the Antlers.
The Hanging Lake is probably the best bang for your shoe leather hike in Colorado. Its just a two mile hike follow a nice stream up the side of Glenwood Canyon. When you reach the top you will be treated to a breathtaking crystal clear lake being fed by a waterfall which in turn is fed by the spouting rock. They say the average hiker will make it to the top in about an hour. It is a highly trafficked trail and so there is railings built in along dangerous areas, bridges crossing the stream, and a beautiful viewing deck built around the lake. When you arrive, make sure to take the trail to the left right at the entrance to the lake. This will take you to the spouting rock which feeds Hanging Lake Creek. Let it be known there are no dogs allowed on this trail, no fishing or swimming in the lake, and it can be a bit confusing to find the trail head since it can only be accessed by traveling on the eastbound side of the highway.
Still, when I hiked it it was incredibly fun, got some great pictures, and even made it down before the rain set in. I highly recommend this hike to anyone looking to get some easy outdoors experience. Below is a basic map (sorry Google doesn’t have the topographic of that area yet) that shows where the trail begins and the basic pathway to the lake. I hope you enjoy the hike!
Looking for a good short hike without getting too far from civilization? Try heading up to Piney River Ranch and checking out the trails up there. To reach Piney River Ranch from North Frontage Road in Vail, you take Red Sandstone Road to Piney lake road (or county road no.700)travel 11 miles up a gravel road (takes about 40 minutes). The ranch itself is worth a visit as (depending on the season) there are a plethora of activities offered. I highly recommend checking out the ranch’s website to see what activities are being offered before heading up there as they change frequently. On the north side of the lake theres a sign showing the Piney River trail (go right) and the Meadow Creek and Soda Lakes trails (go left!). Both offer very scenic mellow hikes. The falls are very secluded and beautiful and are a very popular photo op location. Below is an interactive google map showing the location of the trail respective to Antlers. The lines are the road up to Piney River Ranch, the Soda Lakes trail, and the Piney River trail.
Deluge Lake, located in off exit 171 in East Vail (only a 10 minute drive or 20 minute bus ride from the Antlers, is a great hike for a amateur hiker. Its fairly steep at first giving you a good warm up, then levels out to a nice long gradual ascent to a lake nestled in a valley between several peaks. The hike is about 7 hours round trip so be sure to bring food and water. Now a minor drawback to this hike is for the first 2 miles or so you are still within sight and sound of route 70. So it takes away from the whole nature experience early on. Still, I was blown away when we got behind the mountain, out of sight of the road, and into the Rockies. Gore Creek valley is an awesome sight to behold with many jagged cliffs overlooking the creek below. Then as we got further up the trail we discovered a valley straight out of the sound of music. Grassy knolls dotted with white rocks, a picture perfect creek running right down the middle. It was really an awesome place to be. Getting over that stream was pretty fun, it is a log hanging over a small waterfall that wasn’t exactly secure. We nearly lost one of our hiking members into that stream but luckily he was able to regain his balance. As you follow Deluge Creek up the valley, you will reach your destination, a secluded lake hidden between some massive, scree covered rocky crags.
This map includes the trailhead location in relation to the Antlers and Vail (just move the map a little west/left), Deluge Lake Hiking trail, and I included Gore Creek trail as well which is a hike I plan to accomplish very soon.
Hello, I am Tyler the new night shift guy at Antlers in Vail. Just last week a friend of mine came out from Massachusetts to camp and hike Mt. of the Holy Cross just around the corner from us in Minturn. We had a great time from start to finish and I recommend the hike to any moderately experienced hiker. Not having a car, we took the bus to the I70 exit 171 and walked to the trailhead on our first day. It was only about 10 miles at 10000 feet so it was a good warmup for my friend who was still adjusting to the lack of oxygen. We camped at the trailhead overnight which was my first time camping in these mountains. Got a pretty heavy thunderstorm that night, had a deer curiously investigate our camp, and managed to forget only one item for our entire trip… eating utensils. So we made due with what we had, some sticks shaped like a Y wrapped in duct tape! Not to confuse anyone, let it be known that this is a one day(8-10 hour) hike, we just decided to make it two since we had no car and wanted to camp anyways.
The next day we woke up early (highly suggested for this hike as the mountain is known to create bad weather) and continued on towards the top. The trail crosses over Notch mountain and down into the valley between the two mountains, then back up along the rocky North Ridge for the final ascent. The last 2 miles or so you are clambering over some pretty large boulders to reach the top so watch your footing, especially if it rained. Once we reached the top we had a great view of the Rockies in all directions, we could see the back bowls of Vail Ski Area and Eagles Nest, and you are standing on top of a massive rock face descending to the valley below and the Bowl of Tears, a lake in the valley. Well worth the trip, we signed the register and decided to head back down since it looked like bad weather was approaching. The only drawback to this whole hike is when you are leaving, you must climb again over Notch mountain to get home. Not fun when you just hiked 6 miles there and your legs are sore. Still, overall the hike was an awesome experience, especially for me since I worked as a lifty at Vail Ski Resorts last year and nearly everyday I saw that peak to the southwest and yearned to climb it. Now I have, and I recommend you try it too.
This is a basic map depicting how to get to the trailhead, and then the North Ridge trail to the summit. Zoom out to see other points such as Antlers in Vail and the road leading to the trailhead.
Booth Falls is one of the most popular vail hiking trails in the Vail area. The Falls are the huge attraction as it is one of the few waterfalls in the Vail valley. The trail is about 6 miles one way with 3,080 vertical feet of climibing to get to the lake. Keep in mind that the Falls is only 1/2 the distance (about 3 miles one way). So if you want an easy 3 hour round trip hike, do just the falls. The trail head is only about 3 miles from the Antlers at Vail condominiums , just down the Frontage road about 1/2 a mile past the Vail golf course. Right after you go underneath the interstate, take the 2nd left onto Booth Falls Road. Drive up about 1 block and you’ll find parking for the trail. Pack a lunch and bring your camera.
Pitkin lake trail in East Vail, Colorado is similiar to the popular Booth lake trail in that the final destination is a scenic mountain lake. It is about 5 miles one way and can take anywhere from 5-8 hours round trip with most people taking around 6 hours. The highest point along the pitkin trail is 11,400, which is higher than the top of Vail mountain. Total elevation gain is 3,000 vertical feet (thank you very much). It is quite steep at the beginning, so be ready. In addition, it can be deceiving for your arrival to the lake. Everytime you think you are there, you have more trail to hike and another hill to climb. The trailhead for the pitkin hiking trail is off of interstate 70, exit 180. Once you get off at exit 180 go north and take a right on the small road that heads east towards some townhomes. Trail head parking is along the street and the trailhead is on the north by the creek. It is a simple 10 minute drive from the Antlers at Vail hotel.
Bighorn Trail is one of the shorter hikes in the East Vail, Colorado area. At the end is an old miner’s cabin (now a hunting cabin) which you can explore or camp out in. People call this the “Bighorn Hilton”. To get to this Vail hike drive East from the Antlers at Vail Hotel about 4 miles on Interstate 70 to exit 180. Get on Bighorn road and drive East until you get to Columbine Drive. Take a left and go up the hill and underneath the freeway where you’ll soon find the trailhead. The trail is very steep at the beginning but mellows out in the middle, then hits a couple of boulder fields before you top out through meadows before getting to the cabin. It is approximately 3.6 miles one way. 2200 vertical feet of gain. It tops out at 10,800 feet.