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Easy, scenic Gore hikes?

Information on peaks other than the CO 14ers and 13ers.
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Easy, scenic Gore hikes?

Postby Eph 2 5 » Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:03 am

I'm looking for a hike in the Gores that would provide nice views, but we're going to have a young child with us and probably can't hike more than 3 or 4 miles. Any suggestions? I was thinking of hiking near Piney Lake , starting towards Mt. Powell, but I'm not sure if you get good views right away. The only hike I've ever done in the Gores is Uneva Peak from Vail Pass. Thanks for your help.

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Re: Easy, scenic Gore hikes?

Postby tmathews » Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:09 am

The trail going to Upper Cataract Lake is a nice hike. You pass Surprise and Cat lakes along the way as well.

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Re: Easy, scenic Gore hikes?

Postby zrsimpson » Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:18 am

The Cataract Lake trail is really nice. Wheeler Lakes from the Copper Mountain exit is also a good and easy hike with nice views of the southern Gores. Or, if you're not completely goal oriented, then just hiking along the Pitkin Lake trail is quite nice. The wildflowers were really wonderful there a few days ago. The first half mile is rough, but after that it levels out nicely.

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Re: Easy, scenic Gore hikes?

Postby MtHurd » Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:42 am

The views are very nice from the very start at Piney Lake. Peak C looms above the lake and the trail is very easy and quite nice. About a mile or a little further up the trail goes into the forest and climbs a bit to a nice waterfall right by the trail. I would recommend the trail. It will be crowded but I think you will enjoy the trail. The dirt road from Vail seems a bit long and near the trailhead can be rough in places. You can get good views of Ripsaw Ridge from the road if you are paying attention.

Here is what Peak C looks like from Piney Lake.

Image

Re: Easy, scenic Gore hikes?

Postby lordhelmut » Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:43 am

Can't speak for Cataract, but Eccles Pass is an 8 mile roundtrip hike. Solid views of Red Massif from pass, easy trail, great views of Tenmile. Begin at Meadow Creek at the roundabout Frisco exit off 70.

Buffalo Mtn is 4.4 miles roundtrip via its East slopes, another thought.

Any of the Vail access points would be solid as well.

Pitkin Lake
Booth Lake
Deluge Lake

All 3 are equally as aesthetic.

With all that being said, no view rivals the one you have of Peak C as you hike in to the Piney Lake regions.

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Re: Easy, scenic Gore hikes?

Postby Eph 2 5 » Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:19 am

Thanks a lot for the suggestions. Do you get nice views of the Gores from the top of Buffalo Mountain? Is the Buffalo Mtn. trailhead in the Eagles Nest area? Also, if we did Eccles Pass from the Meadow Creek trailhead, how quickly would we get nice views? With a little kid I'm not sure how far we're going to get. Is the Meadow Creek trailhead right at the roundabout or do you need to take a road from the roundabout (and if so, is it a non-4WD road)? Mt. Powell is #1 on my list for the Gores, so I think I'll wait for Piney Lake until I do Powell. I'm leaning toward Buffalo Mtn or Eccles Pass. Thanks.

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Re: Easy, scenic Gore hikes?

Postby planet54 » Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:47 am

My favorite easy hike in the Gore Range is the Elliott Ridge trail . It takes a bit of driving to get there, high clearance but not 4WD. The trail starts just below treeline and after about a mile you can see Long's Peak to the east and as far as Mt Sopris to the west with the Gores and Holy Cross in between. Easy walking for kids, just watch the weather. Have a good hike!
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Re: Easy, scenic Gore hikes?

Postby tdogge » Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:52 am

I don't know how old your kid is, but Buffalo is a steep hike...lot of elevation gain packed into two miles. Another relatively easy option is the bighorn cabin trail out of east vail, which has good views of the grand traverse.

Re: Easy, scenic Gore hikes?

Postby traderaaron » Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:59 am

Can Shrine Ridge off Vail Pass count as Gore range, you can see the Gore range nicely from the top. Great family hike.

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Re: Easy, scenic Gore hikes?

Postby Eph 2 5 » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:45 pm

Where do you pick up the Elliot Ridge and Bighorn Cabin trails?

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Re: Easy, scenic Gore hikes?

Postby planet54 » Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:11 pm

The Bighorn Trail is near Vail. Take exit 180 from I-70 and go east on the frontage road to Columbine Road through the underpass to the end of the road.
The Elliott Ridge trail is from Highway 9 north of Silverthorne . 1 mile north of the Summit,Grand county line is Springcreek Road go west .From there it is 7 miles to the forest service boundary. follow the signs toward Mahan Lake. When you get near the top the road splits for Mahan and Elliott Ridge And you are there. Obviously a map would help. The road is not bad , small cars ,vans ok driven with care.Roads 1832 to 1833 to 1834 about 7 miles
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Re: Easy, scenic Gore hikes?

Postby Chicago Transplant » Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:55 pm

The East Vail trails can start out steep, but get some good views and have some nice waterfalls. Be sure to "turn around" and look behind you for good views towards Holy Cross. Most of the trails are 5 miles to the lakes at the end and gain close to 3k, so they are almost like hiking an easy 14er. If you don't mind seeing a lot of people on the trail, you can't go wrong with Booth Creek, its only 2 miles and 1400' vertical to the falls, and you can keep going after that towards the lake if the youngster is up for it. Booth Lake itself is really cool with a small island in it. Well worth it, and most people only go to the falls so you will lose the crowds. Start early, 8 or 9 am, and you can be ahead of them.

Piney is a great hike and fairly flat in the valley at the beginning. The early views are best, as you get deeper into the trail and forest you don't see as much, but you can go as far you as want. Its 3 miles to a creek crossing and the Kneeknocker Pass turnoff, that would make a good short hike with good views.

If you want a good view OF the Gore, you can't beat Ute Pass to the north of Silverthorne. There is a trail that goes in both directions from the pass, I haven't hiked the one to the south but it goes to a 12er, Ute Peak. The north trail I took to a 10er Prairie Mtn. The trail passes below its summit, you have to "bushwhack" up a meadow, so its not really bushwhacking per se, but there is no trail for that part.
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