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Overnight backpack near Vail/Summit County, Advice needed

Information on peaks other than the CO 14ers and 13ers.
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Overnight backpack near Vail/Summit County, Advice needed

Postby Pali Kona » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:09 am

Hi...I'm taking my friend from Boston on a one nighter somewhere near Summit County or Vail...I have three places in mind...please advise me as to which you feel has the best camping and scenery and if there are other spots, please let me know. Since he's coming from sea level, we'd like to keep the trip in to about 3-4 miles.
My thoughts were:
Willow Lakes near Silverthorne, although I'm worried he might struggle with 4 miles to the upper lakes....
Herman Gulch - camp near treeline, not all the way up...
Missouri Lakes - camp near the lower 2 lakes.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Re: Overnight backpack near Vail/Summit County, Advice needed

Postby traderaaron » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:58 am

Gore Lake should be a consideration I think and would probably be my choice near Vail and Frisco.

Re: Overnight backpack near Vail/Summit County, Advice needed

Postby lordhelmut » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:18 pm

Deluge Lake (East Vail exit, take a left off exit ramp, go under bridge, start heading East up Frontage Rd to Deluge Lake TH, which is right after you go back under I-70 again to the north side). It think its 4-4.4 miles, depending on where you camp. You could hike 3-4 miles, then check out the lake the nexy day. Very scenic region, trail is uphill, kind of brutally in small sections, but worth the effort.

Piney Ranch and surrounding Valley. Park at Piney Ranch, a little north up a graded dirt road from mid-Vail. There is an overnight lot right before you get to the ranch. Hike past lake into obvious valley. You can either hike 2-3 miles in and camp at edge of valley or go a little further and find some nice spots near the stream.

Eccles Pass region. This region is accessed from Frisco exit. When coming from the East, get off exit and instead of taking the roundabout all the way around towards the town of Frisco, pull off that dirt road turnoff (just before getting back on I-70), park at small lot there. Take that trail about 4 moderate miles to the valley below Eccles Pass (between Demiing Pk and Buffalo w/ great views of Red Pk). The valley on the south side of Eccles is pretty insane, awsome wildflowers, views of Tenmile, etc. Nice camping spots in that open meadow as well.

From your 3 recomendations, Herman is crowded and Willow isn't as scenic as Eccles Pass and tougher to get to. Eccles Pass is pretty easy to get to, trail isn't too tough and the views are a decent amount better. Just my opinion though.

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Re: Overnight backpack near Vail/Summit County, Advice needed

Postby Chicago Transplant » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:35 pm

Out of your three choices I would say Missouri Lakes. Herman didn't strike me as much of a backpacking destination when I was there, and its not as scenic as the others. Willow I have never been too but is a longer hike. Missouri Lakes is a more moderate hike for someone coming from sea level. Its a popular area though and campsites are limited, also no campfires allowed due to resource depletion, so it has its cons too.

The Gore Lake idea is a good one, the initial hike is not too steep along the creek and you could camp near the trail split to Gore Lake if the packs and altitude is getting to be too much. Then you could just day hike to the lake from there. The Eccles Pass area is nice too, when you get into the big open meadow there is some good camping and some nice mellow peaks for day hikes.
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Re: Overnight backpack near Vail/Summit County, Advice needed

Postby Pali Kona » Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:35 pm

Thanks for the info/ideas.

Is the fire ban at Mizz lakes new? I was there last summer and had a camp fire...did I do that illegally? whoops!

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Re: Overnight backpack near Vail/Summit County, Advice needed

Postby Chicago Transplant » Mon Aug 09, 2010 5:06 pm

Pali Kona wrote:Thanks for the info/ideas.

Is the fire ban at Mizz lakes new? I was there last summer and had a camp fire...did I do that illegally? whoops!


It was new in summer 2009, so unfortunately yes. :oops:

The ban is because the camping is so close to tree line and there are limited sources for firewood, the FS was starting to see cut branches on live trees and decided to ban fires before that got out of hand.
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Re: Overnight backpack near Vail/Summit County, Advice needed

Postby Pali Kona » Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:54 pm

For Eccles, do you hike up the Ten Mile Creek trail or is there a better way? How far in to the meadows?

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Re: Overnight backpack near Vail/Summit County, Advice needed

Postby Floyd » Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:58 pm

Pali Kona wrote:For Eccles, do you hike up the Ten Mile Creek trail or is there a better way? How far in to the meadows?


Meadow Creek is a good choice... http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=5471&parmuser=Floyd&cpgm=tripmain&ski=Include

Another nice spot is Pitkin Lake. Took my cousin from sea level up there last year: http://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=7165&parmuser=Floyd&cpgm=tripmain&ski=Include
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