Coming to Vail this week, advice needed

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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Coming to Vail this week, advice needed

Postby cjaskiewicz » Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:21 am

Hey Everyone.

I'm headed out to the vail/denver area for a week. Looking to get in some camping/hiking. I've read up on some of the peaks and it seems as if you guys are getting into some more questionable/unpredictable weather. Any recommendations for specific hikes or campgrounds? I've got 4 days to explore.


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Re: Coming to Vail this week, advice needed

Postby MtHurd » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:05 am

Well if you are in Vail, check out the Deluge Lake or the Gore Lake trails. Both start at the same trailhead on the east end of Vail. You can also drive up to the Piney Lake trailhead and hike 5 or 6 miles up that trail for some good scenery. Road starts in Vail and isn't too far to the trailhead.

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Re: Coming to Vail this week, advice needed

Postby peter303 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:05 am

Vail is not all that far from Leadville where year encounter the norther Sawatches like Elbert.

This week is peak autumn tree color in that area. You might want to drive along Twin Lakes to Independence Pass to see great trees.

I think it is supposed to snow on and off above treeline the next 72 hours. That may make Vail Pass "exciting" to drive and temporarily closes some high passes like Independence Pass and Trail Ridge.

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Re: Coming to Vail this week, advice needed

Postby cjaskiewicz » Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:01 pm

Thanks for the suggestions so far. might be bringing fishing equipment so the lakes around vail seem like something to look into.

Any longer hikes? there's two of us and were both fit, is there a 2 day trip that is awesome? we have all the equipment for everything but actual climbing.

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Re: Coming to Vail this week, advice needed

Postby Chicago Transplant » Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:44 pm

If you're looking for fall color and a lake to fish in, try the Pitkin trail in East Vail. I have often seen fish in that lake or the stream right at the outlet and they have been close to the surface. I don't fish, but it seems like it could be a good lake for fishing? The hike in is not trivial, its almost as much work as a 14er. 5 miles each way and close to 3000' of elevation gain. The trail goes up in several steep benches with flatter sections in between. The fall color in Vail was really good this past weekend, and should hold for another week before too many leaves start falling off.

Leadville is a close drive via US 24 from Minturn, if you wanted to climb a 14er the West Slopes from the Iowa Gulch side of Sherman is really easy, only about 2100' of elevation gain assuming there is not much snow and you can drive to the parking area (about 12k). Its probably the easiest 14er route close to Vail. There is a route description on this site's online guidebook for this route.

There is a nice loop hike south of town, Missouri Lakes to Fancy Pass. The two trails share a trailhead, its only a 10 mile loop and is pretty easily done in a day, but the lakes are nice and you could make a longer 2-day out of it with some fishing in the lakes. Here is a link for information on that trail:
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Re: Coming to Vail this week, advice needed

Postby Char7311 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:32 pm

I'd also recommend Deluge Lake or Gore Lake. I was supposed to backpack up to Gore Lake last summer but somehow we took the wrong trail and ended up at Deluge Lake. We also got off trail for a lot of it (but followed the creek) so it wasn't such an easy hike. Gore is lower elevation so it's probably prettier with more vegetation. The trailheads are the same as said previously, paved road in East Vail to get to it.

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Re: Coming to Vail this week, advice needed

Postby BKullman » Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:47 pm

I second pretty much everything Chicago Transplant said. I plan on heading up to either Pitkin Lake or Missouri Lakes tomorrow then head up whatever I don't hike tomorrow on Wednesday. Missouri Lakes would definitely be a great overnighter. Gore Lake and Deluge Lakes are both great hikes as well. Hiking up to Deluge Lake to me is harder than several 14ers that I have hiked. Leaves are looking great on most hikes around Vail right now. If you need a cheap place to stay in Vail, shoot me a pm. I work for a couple hotels in town and it is finally starting to calm down in town so I could get you in on the cheap.


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