Vail, Colorado is known for some of the best hiking in the country. Colorado–based journalist and avid hiker Kim Fuller (kimfullerink.com) reveals the most popular hikes to enjoy during your summer vacation in Vail, and her detailed checklist for don’t-leave-home-without items. “The area is known for hikes that highlight all the abundant wildflowers in the summer, as well as views that extend for miles,” says Fuller. “I love hiking under the bright and blue Colorado sky in the morning, and then heading back inside to enjoy the afternoon thunderstorms.”
Fuller’s Top Trails:
This quaint little trail is hidden near the Manor Vail Lodge. It heads east from Golden Peak, and all the way over to the golf course in East Vail. It meanders through beautiful trees, and is nice for a short trail walk in either direction.
This three-mile hike along Vail Mountain is rigorous on the way up, but then you can take the gondola all the way back down. Although the trail gains a lot of elevation, the switchback reprieves cross little creeks and are dotted with wildflowers.
This 3.8-mile hike (one way) gains over 3,000 feet of elevation, so it’s quite the climb. It’s a journey that’s worth the work, especially once you reach the stunning high alpine lake.
1. Water. Colorado is dry, and the elevation will really get you if you don’t stay hydrated.
2. Rain jacket. Summer afternoons in the mountains often mean rain, so be prepared with a fully waterproof jacket, and even pants for longer adventures.
4. Sunscreen. Wear it all over, and apply often.High-altitude sunburns can really sneak up on you (because nice breezes keep you feeling cool while your skin is cooking.)
5. Map and compass. Don’t rely on your cell phone, because you might lose battery or service on your hike. Orient yourself with the map before your hike, and tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.