Vail Valley Hikes & Bikes
Mother Nature is very, very good to the Vail Valley. Not only is it surrounded by the jagged and beautiful Rockies, there are a host of trails snaking through the peaks and valleys of those very mountains. From Eagle to East Vail, there are many options for those wanting to cruise through the hills on foot or on two wheels. Here’s our well-researched top 5.
Vail Valley Hikes
For more information on local hikes or for directions to the trailhead, call the U.S. Forest Service at 970.827.5715.
Gore Creek Trail
In the summer, the Gore Creek Trail is a great intermediate trail. Like any trail in East Vail, it begins on a straight-up cliff-like pitch. Eventually it levels off, following the creek, which is beset by beautiful scenery. If you are ambitious, you can hike all the way to Frisco. In the winter, it is great for a 45-minute loop across the creek — or longer if you want to pass the turnoff and circle back. You have to go under the highway to get to the trail, but once you start up the trail you can’t hear the highway noise.
Cougar Ridge to Lionshead Rock
Rife with berry bushes that bloom exclamatorily, this classic hike offers great views of Minturn from the top of Lionshead Rock. It’s good for out-of-town guests, as there’s a moderate climb with many stopping points along the way both to rest and enjoy the views. The trail is wide and well-maintained.
Meadow Mountain offers a lot of trails in the summer and winter. In the summer you can stay on the wide Meadow Mountain Trail, or you can head into Grouse Lake or West Grouse Lake Trails. You’ll find great alpine floral meadows as well as some easy river crossings. Wear sunscreen.
This hike is great for the solo hiker, families and avid hikers. A little more than 3 miles long, the trail runs from the top to the bottom of Vail Mountain. A lot of switchbacks lead you in and out of the trees and across a few creeks. The best part is that you can do a round-trip hike, or you can go one way and catch a ride up or down courtesy of the Eagle Bahn gondola. (It runs during both the summer and winter seasons.)
A good moderate hike, Booth Falls is also a great option for out-of-town guests — though they might consider it epic, depending on how acclimated they are. The beautiful scenery doesn’t quit on the entire 2+ miles until you get to the falls. You can either keep hiking from that point, or the falls make a nice turnaround point when you are looking for a shorter hike.
Vail Valley Bikes
For trailhead locations and turn-by-turn directions, visit www.vailvelo.com.
The North Trail
Singletrack heaven with great views of Vail Mountain, Gore Range and Vail proper. There’s a mix of gradual climbs and steep descents. It can be used as an out-and-back ride or a long loop for advanced riders.
Vail Mountain to Minturn
This is a thrilling full-day ride that should only be attempted by experienced riders. It offers views of Mount Holy Cross and Mount Jackson at the peak of the climb. After a strenuous climb up Mill Creek Road past the base of chair 10, you’ll bear left and leave the ski area. (This is where the ride gets really cool.) From there follow flowing singletrack across Vail’s Back Bowls, followed by a technical rocky descent into Minturn. Either ride the roads back to Vail, or call a friend for a ride.
A great early season ride, Boneyard “dries off” from the winter pretty fast. A fairly sustained and yet manageable incline with expansive vistas and juniper forests, there are great views of Red Canyon. Follow the singletrack up and back, or opt to do your return via the dirt road that parallels the trail or Redneck Ridge.
Allie’s Way/Village to Village/Arrowhead Mountain Trail
Beaver Creek Mountain
Go up the mountain on the main access road, and hop on Allie’s Way not too far past the horse stables.
This cruisy trail traverses Beaver Creek Mountain east to west, crossing ski runs and passing ski lifts overhead. The forgiving singletrack is good even for beginners. The seldom-used Arrowhead Mountain trail is a roaring, switchback descent into Arrowhead Village.
A 60-minute climb is all that separates the bustle of the valley floor and the middle of nowhere. A-10 Loop offers great views of the New York range. Start at the Riverwalk and head east on Highway 6 to Arrowhead Drive through the ski area, using doubletrack, singletrack and service roads. The beautiful views just don’t stop. A quick descent brings you back to Edwards via rock gardens, pine forest and aspen groves. Be kind to your hands — fingers get the brunt of the abuse on this descent.
Racers At The Ready
There are several race series in the Vail Valley. The most extensive event, The Westin Athletic Club Mountain Bike Series presented by the Vail Valley Medical Center and East West Resorts, features seven mountain bike races varying in length from three to 18 miles for all categories of riders. From kids and never-evers to experts and pros — everyone is welcome to participate. For more information on the races visit www.vailrec.com.
Mark Your Calendars
MOUNTAIN BIKE SPRING SHORT TRACK
April 25, Eagle Fairgrounds, Eagle
May 2, 4 Eagle Ranch, Wolcott
May 9, Maloit Park, Minturn
May 15, Beaver Creek base area
ATHLETIC CLUB AT THE WESTIN MOUNTAIN BIKE SERIES presented by Vail Valley Medical Center and East West Resorts. Check the Vail Recreation District’s website for more info.
May 23, Eagle Ranch Classic, Eagle
The Eagle Ranch Classic will take racers ages 8 and older through the Jeep roads and singletrack surrounding the 4 of July trailhead in Eagle Ranch with distances ranging from 3.5 miles for youth racers to 12 miles for the pro and expert racers.
June 6, Hammer in the Hay, Wolcott
The Hammer in the Hay will take racers ages 8 and older through the fields surrounding the working ranch with distances ranging from 4 miles for youth racers to 16 miles for the pro and expert racers.
June 20, Davos Dash, Vail
Davos Dash, a nail-biter, is the longest-running mountain bike race in the area. Held on Davos Road for bicyclists 8 years and older. It is a 3.5-mile grind that’s virtually straight uphill.
July 11, Vail Grind, Vail
The Vail Grind will have participants ages 8 and older race on 1.5 to 16 miles of singletrack trails on Vail Mountain.
July 25, TBD
August 1, Boneyard Brawl, Eagle
The Boneyard Brawl will have participants ages 8 and older racing 2.6 to 16.5 miles of Bureau of Land Management roads and singletrack trails in Eagle. Adult racers will ride up Bellyache Road and then down East Eagle Trail, while the youth racers will head up Bellyache Road and traverse down the lower portion of the Boneyard Trail.
August 15, Beaver Creek Blast, Beaver Creek
The Beaver Creek Blast is traditionally the last race of the Mountain Bike Series, and takes place at the base of Beaver Creek Mountain. Series winners will be announced at the after-party.
VRD CYCLOCROSS RACE
September 12, Maloit Park, Minturn
TRAIL RUNNING SERIES
May 19, Boneyard Boogie, Eagle
June 16, Summer Solstice Trail Run, Beaver Creek
July 7, Vail Hill Climb, Vail Village
July 22, Vail Half Marathon, Vail Village
August 5, Berry Picker Trail Run, Lionshead
August 26, 10K @ 10,000 Feet and 5K, Lionshead
September 16, EverGold Trail 10K and 5K, Vail Golf Club