Enjoying a Vail-area hike doesn't have to take the whole day. Here are three accessible, half-day options for Vail hiking this summer.
Please note: These trails will likely not be open for the summer season until at least Memorial Day weekend. Springtime hiking can be touch and go depending on elevation and if the snow has sufficiently melted off yet. Check before you go.
Start planning your summertime jaunts with EverythingVailValley.com!
1. Booth Falls Trail
East Vail, Colorado
Booth Falls Trail is an out-and-back trail that's rated moderate to difficult. Steep and rocky areas are prevalent throughout this Vail hike.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, "Beyond the falls the trail winds through conifer forests and meadows filled with wildflowers. Above 10,000 feet the trees thin and the terrain changes offering views of the Gore Range. The last quarter-mile to Booth Lake is steep and rocky."
While I've never hiked to the lake, I hear it's worth the work. I did make it to the waterfall, which is a good hike in itself and lasted a bit more than an hour one way. One commenter on AllTrails.com said it took him 75 minutes to get from the trailhead to the waterfall.
How to get there: Drive east on I-70 to Exit 180, East Vail. Take this exit and head under I-70. Then turn left onto the North Frontage Road. Continue about 1 mile to Booth Falls Road and turn right; continue to the parking area, which offers limited parking. Carpooling is recommended due to small parking-lot size.
Since you're in the area: Head back to Vail for some sustenance and libations after the hike. Vail Ale House in West Vail is a sports bar and restaurant with an expansive Colorado beer list. Grab a brew, watch a game and relax.
2. Meadow Mountain
Meadow Mountain is a nearly 10-mile, out-and-back trail near Minturn. It features rolling hills and, in the summer, long grass and wildflowers. One doesn't need to hike the whole trail length, however; just go as far as you like and turn back when you're ready. The trail is dog-friendly, and I hike it during the winter as well. It's a fun snowshoe and sledding spot.
AllTrails.com rates it as moderate and says it's best between June and October. Overall, it's pretty easy.
How to get there: According to the Holy Cross Ranger District, "Travel west on I-70 to Exit 171 for Minturn, Leadville and Highway 24. Exit here and turn right (south). Just past the interstate, there is a large parking lot on the right. The trail begins from the south end of the parking lot near the white house."
Since you're in the area: Head over to Minturn's Vail Mountain Coffee and Tea for a delicious cup of something caffeinated.
3. EagleVail Trail
EagleVail Trail is located in, you guessed it, EagleVail and is nearby EagleVail Golf Course. This trail is rated easy to moderate by the Hiking Project, and I concur. Point to point, it's about 2.5 miles with quick bursts of uphill. Well-behaved dogs are welcome; just be sure to pick up after them. I've taken my parents and in-laws, who both live at lower elevations, on this hike and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. Folks on mountain bikes are also prevalent.
How to get there: There is a small parking area at the top of Eagle Drive, at the cul-de-sac.
Since you're in the area: Head over to Vail Brewing Company's EagleVail location. It serves locally brewed, seasonal beers, plus the EagleVail location boasts a taco truck!
And with that ...
We'll see you in Vail!
Photo (top) features the Booth Falls Trail, by Caitlin Row