Join a trained Certified Interpretive Guide and Wilderness First Responder to discover some of the most beautiful hiking destinations in the Vail area that are only accessible via your two feet! Walking Mountains Science Center and the Vail Recreation District operate under special permits from the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management that allow us to experience and learn from public lands like few other Vail hiking guide services can offer! Transportation is provided from various locations from Vail to Edwards.

We also offer Hiking Club Memberships!

Full Day Summer Hiking Experiences

Mondays, Tuesdays & Thursdays | June-August

Each week we offer three distinct hiking experiences as well as easy, intermediate, and difficult hikes for every ability level! Click here to view a pdf of the 2019 summer hiking schedule and corresponding difficulty levels!

Select a date below to register. Pre-registration is required.

Mondays | Mountain Lake Hikes

$80 per person, ages 14+

As the glaciers that molded our mountains retreated, many left mementos of their presence in the hundreds of alpine lakes scattered throughout Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Lush sub-alpine forests & wetlands, fields of wildflowers, tumbling cascades, and of course—lunch on the shores of Vail’s serene mountain lakes make this hiking experience one not to miss!

Monday, June 3rd | Lost Lake

Join us for our season kickoff hike to Lost Lake. Located in the Piney area near Vail, Lost Lake is a relatively flat and moderate hike along a ridge to a beautiful montane lake. One of our easier mountain lake hikes, expect to enjoy green early season montane forests and open meadows, with potential for early season wildflowers and beautiful views of the Gore Mountain Range.Click here to register.

Difficulty: Green

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 6.5 mi / 1,085 ft / 10,253 ft

Highlights: Lakes / Mountain Views

Monday, June 10th | Grouse Lake

The Grouse Lake trail leaves from the historic town of Minturn, a quick 10 minute drive from Avon or Vail. This trail is known for common Moose & other wildlife sightings, and travels through mixed conifer forests and meadows to a beautiful lake at the base of Grouse Peak. Being another early season hike, there is a chance for snow on this hike. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Black

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 9 / 2,861 / 10,696

Highlights: Mountain Lakes / Mountain Views

Monday, June 17th | Whitney Lake

Whitney Lake is a short and sweet hike to a beautiful sub-alpine lake in the Holy Cross Wilderness. Although the hike to the lake is only 2.4 miles, you gain almost 2,000 feet meaning that every inch is uphill! We will take our time on the ascent and have plenty of time to enjoy the views of Whitney Peak. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Blue

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 4.8 / 1,963 / 10,958 (Caltopo)

Highlights: Lake / Mountain Views

Monday, June 24th | Lost Lake

A hidden gem of Eagle Valley, this easy trail is an excellent day adventure for all. Hike through aspen stands and enjoy picturesque views until you arrive at the crystal clear waters of Lost Lake. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Green

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 7 miles / 1,462 ft / 10,256 ft

Highlights: Lake / Mountain Views

Monday, July 1st | Pitkin Lake

The neighbor of the ever popular Booth Creek trail, a hike to Pitkin Lake avoids the crowds without sacrificing any of the reward. This hike follows a tumbling stream, past multiple cascades and waterfalls, into a striking glacial valley. The peaks of the Gore Range are some of the most rugged in Colorado, and if you’re up for the 3,000 feet of elevation—Pitkin Lake is one of the best Alpine Lake hikes on our calendar. Click here to register.

 Difficulty: Black

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 10 / 3,000 / 11,365

Highlights: Lake / Mountain Views / Alpine / Waterfall / Streams & Creeks

Monday, July 8th | Missouri Lakes

Missouri lakes is probably the most popular alpine lakes hike in the Vail Valley, and for good reason. This moderate hike climbs gently through beautiful sub-alpine forests and wetlands to a series of seven lakes. One of our easier mountain lakes hikes, this trip is accessible to most hikers and features iconic Colorado alpine landscapes. Click here to register.

 Difficulty: Green

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 7.7 / 1,630 / 11,523 (GPS)

Highlights: Lakes / Mountain Views / Alpine / Streams & Creeks / Waterfall

Monday, July 15th | Seven Sisters Lakes

A hike to the Seven Sisters Lakes provides all of the majesty of Missouri & Fancy Lakes without the crowds. This hike begins with 2 miles along a jeep trail—however after entering the Holy Cross Wilderness the jeeps & people disappear. We hike past Hunky Dory Lake, a beautiful forested lake at the base of a striking cliff, and into the Seven Sisters Lakes basin where seven beautiful alpine lakes and striking views of Holy Cross ridge are your reward! Click here to register.

 Difficulty: Blue

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 8.75 / 2,000 / 12,315

Highlights: Lakes / Alpine / Mountain Views / High Altitude / Streams & Creeks

Monday, July 22nd | Lonesome Lake

Lonesome Lake is a long, but moderate hike to a beautiful alpine lake, perched in a glacial cirque. This hike starts from near the end of the Homes take Road, and provides a true wilderness experience. Evidence of past glaciation is evident along the trail, as we hike along an old glacial moraine and through a classic U-shaped valley. Click here to register.

 Difficulty: Blue

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 11 /1,600/ 11,591

Highlights: Lakes / Mountain Views / Alpine / Streams & Creeks

Monday, July 29th | Missouri Lakes Loop

Join us for the ultra-classic Missouri Lakes Loop, and link 3 picturesque alpine lake basins—the Missouri lakes, fancy lake, and treasure vault lake. Not for the faint of heart, this hike features two steep climbs up and over high alpine passes, but makes each lake that much more rewarding. Click here to register.

 Difficulty: Green

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 9 / 2,785 / 12,388

Highlights: Alpine / Panorama Views / Mountain Views / Lakes / Streams & Creeks / High Altitude

Monday, August 5th | Lake Constantine

Lake Constantine departs from the same trailhead as Mt. of the Holy Cross and Notch Mountain, and contours above Fall Creek to a large Alpine Lake at the base of Fall Creek Pass. This hike is a moderate option for accessing a wilderness lake. There are a few rocky sections along the trail to navigate. Mountain goats & porcupine have been spotted on this trail in the past. Click here to register.

 Difficulty: Blue

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 8 / 2,054 / 11,437

Highlights: Lakes / Mountain Views

Monday, August 12th | Nolan Lake

Nolan Lake is one of our favorite down valley hikes, and located near Eagle Colorado. A moderate hike past mining ruins and along a tumbling mountain stream takes you a quiet and picturesque lake surrounded by craggy 12,000 foot peaks. Click here to register.

 Difficulty: Blue

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 6.5 / 1,900 / 11,417

Highlights: Lake / Mountain Views / Streams & Creeks / Wildflowers

Monday, August 19th | New York Lake

New to our 2019 hiking schedule, New York Lake is a beautiful hike beneath the profile of New York Mountain. We will start near the site of the Polar Starr Mine, and hike mostly above and near tree line to New York Lake in a picturesque alpine cirque. Click here to register.

 Difficulty: Blue

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 5.6 / 2,467 / 11,772

Highlights: Lakes / Mountain Views / Alpine

Monday, August 26th | Mystic Island Lake

Another down valley favorite, this hike begins in Sylvan Lake State Park near the famous Fulford Cave. The trail follows East Brush Creek into the Holy Cross Wilderness, and past Lake Charles to the beautiful Mystic Island Lake. A relatively moderate trail, be prepared for views of Sylvan Lake State Park, numerous granite outcrops, and craggy 12 and 13 thousand foot peaks. Click here to register.

 Difficulty: Blue

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 9.3 / 2,090 / 11,309

Highlights: Lakes / Streams & Creeks / Mountain Views

Tuesdays | Guide’s Choice Hikes

$80 per person, ages 14+

Leave the crowds behind and discover Vail’s “local’s favorite” trails! These Wednesday hikes offer a more relaxed & educational experience, perfect for those new to hiking in Colorado.

Tuesday, June 4th | East Lake Creek

East Lake Creek is a locals favorite, and located just outside of Edwards. This hike will take you past large aspen groves and along a tumbling mountain streams into a beautiful glacial valley in the Holy Cross Wilderness. We will hike 3 miles along this 12 mile trail, and then retrace our steps back to the trailhead for a 6 mile day. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Blue

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation:  6 / 2,300 / 8,806

Highlights: Aspens / Mountain Streams / Wildflowers / Mining History

Tuesday, June 11th | McKenzie Gulch

Our first down valley hike of the season, McKenzie is a short and sweet hike with a high bang for your buck. The trail climbs quickly through aspen & spruce/fir forests before breaking out into a grazing pasture meadow. A quick off trail hike through a flat meadow rewards us with beautiful views of Sylvan Lake. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Blue

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 6.2 / 1,700 / 9695

Highlights: Panorama Views / Mountain Views / Aspens

Tuesday, June 18th | Tennessee Pass

Tennessee Pass is a fantastic hike for those wanting to experience Colorado hiking without the challenging climbs characteristic of most Eagle County hikes. On this hike we will hike along old railroad grades, and through picturesque forests and wetlands to Tennessee Pass, perched on the continental divide! This hike also takes you through terrain used by the 10th Mountain Division when training for World War II. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Green

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 7 /641 / 10,443

Highlights: Mountain Views / Streams & Creeks

Tuesday, June 25th | Stagg Gulch - FEATURED: Wildflowers

Join us for our first featured hike of the season! Learn to identify your favorite wildflowers, discover the complex relationships between these beautiful flowers & Colorado’s wildlife—as well as other secrets that these fields of flowers hold. Another local’s favorite, Stagg Gulch is perhaps the best Wildflower hike in the vail valley, and this time of year is home to multiple fields of mulesear, our native sunflower. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Green

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 7 / 1,452 / 9,633

Highlights: Wildflowers / Mountain Views / Aspens

Tuesday, July 2nd | Wilder Gulch

For those looking for an easier hike in the Vail area, Wilder Gulch is one of the best. This hike gains less than 1,000 feet in 3 miles—but features constant views, wildflowers, and the beautiful landscape of a subalpine wetland. We will start at the top of Vail Pass and hike along a creek with multiple beaver dams to the end of the trail where it intersects a Forest Service Road. If the group is feeling like a longer day, we have the option of continuing on a more challenging section to Ptarmigan Pass. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Green

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 6 / 963 / 11,093

Highlights: Wildflowers / Streams & Creeks / Mountain Views

Tuesday, July 9th | Bighorn Creek

Bighorn creek is one of the easier East Vail hikes, and the only one that doesn’t end at an alpine lake. However that doesn’t make this trek any less spectacular! We will hike through fields of wildflowers, avalanche slide paths, and toward the head of a beautiful glacial valley. An historic mining cabin marks the turnaround during this full-day hike and hikers are rewarded with views of the Grand Traverse in the Gore Range, and Vail Mountain. We time this hike to coincide with the bloom of glacier lilies, one of the sweetest tasting flowers you will ever try! Click here to register.

Difficulty: Blue

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 7 / 2,100 / 10,789

Highlights: Streams & Creeks / Mountain Views / Wildflowers

Tuesday, July 16th | Cross Creek

Bighorn creek is one of the easier East Vail hikes, and the only one that doesn’t end at an alpine lake. However that doesn’t make this trek any less spectacular! We will hike through fields of wildflowers, avalanche slide paths, and toward the head of a beautiful glacial valley. An historic mining cabin marks the turnaround during this full-day hike and hikers are rewarded with views of the Grand Traverse in the Gore Range, and Vail Mountain. We time this hike to coincide with the bloom of glacier lilies, one of the sweetest tasting flowers you will ever try! Click here to register.

Difficulty: Green

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 8 / 1,727 / 9,686

Highlights: Aspen / Streams & Creeks / Mountain Views

Tuesday, July 23rd | Squaw Creek - FEATURED: Water

Our second featured hike of the season will explore the life blood of Colorado—water! Streams provide a sanctuary for Colorado’s most iconic wildlife during the hot summer months, are home to an invisible vibrant ecosystem bursting with life among the pebbles and rocks, and are home to our iconic cutthroat trout. Join us for a hike along beautiful Squaw Creek in Edwards to explore the secrets of this ecosystem, learn how scientists use the life found in streams to monitor the quality of our watersheds, and hear stories of how water has shaped life in the West. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Green

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: <8 / <1,500 / 9,616

Highlights: Wildflowers / Streams & Creeks

Tuesday, July 30th | Bowman's Shortcut

Bowman’s shortcut is a beautiful hike near the summit of Vail Pass that provides panoramic views without the relentless climbs of many Vail area hikes. We will climb 1,000 feet on switchbacks through pine forests to an alpine ridge with views of Vail’s back bowls and the rugged Gore Range. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Green

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 5.2 / 1,000 / 11,696

Highlights: Alpine / Panorama Views / Mountain Views

Tuesday, August 6th | Gore Creek

The Gore Creek trail follows the largest valley in the East Vail area of the Gore Range, and is also the most moderate of all the East Vail trails. We will hike about 4 miles up the creek to an old grave site & meadow along the creek. This hike features aspen forests, lush riparian habitats, cascades, and many views of the Vail Valley and Gore Range peaks. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Green

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 8 / 1,800 / 10,201

Highlights: Streams & Creeks / Aspens / Mountain Views

Tuesday, August 13th | Missouri Lakes

Missouri lakes is probably the most popular alpine lakes hike in the Vail Valley, and for good reason. This moderate hike climbs gently through beautiful sub-alpine forests and wetlands to a series of seven lakes. One of our easier mountain lakes hikes, this trip is accessible to most hikers and features iconic Colorado alpine landscapes. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Green

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 7.7 / 1,630 / 11,523

Highlights: Lakes / Mountain Views / Alpine / Streams & Creeks / Cascades

Tuesday, August 20th | Big Park

Big Park is an excellent hike for first time hikers, or those wishing to skip the lung busting climbs of many Colorado hikes. This hike takes you through grazed meadows at the top of a high foothill, and features meadows of wildflowers & views of the Eagle County’s surrounding peaks. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Green

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 7 / 680 / 9,633

Highlights: Wildflowers / Mountain Views / Panorama Views

Tuesday, August 27th | Midline Loop - FEATURED: Railroad History

Our third featured hike of the season takes us into the past, at the height of Western expansion and Colorado’s railroad industry. The midland loop is a beautiful hike high above Leadville Colorado that follows Colorado’s first narrow gauge railroad—the midland railroad, up to the Hagerman tunnel, which at the time was the highest tunnel in the country. With a backdrop of high peaks and alpine lakes, we will learn about how railroads shaped Colorado’s history, the hardy Coloradans who built them. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Green

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 5.5 / 1,000 / 11,696

Highlights: Mountain Views / Colorado History / Alpine Lakes / Wildflowers

Thursdays | Alpine Summits & Passes Hikes

$80 per person, ages 14+

The quintessential Colorado hiking experience—climb above tree line and experience the summits & panoramic views of some of North America’s highest peaks! Colorado’s alpine tundra is home to some of the hardiest species on the planet, and sightings of marmots, pikas, and even mountain goats, are not uncommon!

Thursday, June 6th | Red & White Mountain

Red and White Mountain is one of the best early season summits in Eagle County, and a fitting kick off to our Summits & Passes hikes this summer. We will climb steadily through lodgepole pine forests on 4×4 roads before breaking into a sub-alpine meadow and completing a final steep off trail climb to the summit. The south-facing nature of this hike make it the best bet for (mostly) avoiding snow and still getting high early in the summer. The summit features panoramic views of Beaver Creek, Vail, and the Gore Range! After soaking in the views, we will continue a loop that will take us down the Buck Creek Trail finishing in our backyard at Walking Mountains Science Center! Click here to register.

Difficulty: Blue

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 9 / 2,500, 11,175

Highlights: Panorama Views / Summit / Off-Trail

Thursday, June 13th | Sugarloaf Peak

Sugarloaf Peak is of the best “bang for your buck” hikes on our calendar! This hike starts above treeline at 11,500 feet and continues off trail, following Machinegun Ridge. This area was used heavily in training the 10th Mountain Division in World War 2, and finding shells is not uncommon. This hike travels off trail along easy terrain, with minor climbs and descents, before arriving at the base of Sugarloaf Peak’s summit. From here you have an optional class 2 (boulder hopping) scramble to the summit where there are stone shelters used by the 10th mountain division. If you opt to skip the summit—this is a relatively flat and easy hike, and the best option for experiencing Colorado’s Alpine zone without the major climbs of most summits! Click here to register.

Difficulty: Green+

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 5.5 / 1,500 / 12,530

Highlights: Alpine / Panorama Views / Mountain Views / Off Trail / Summit / Wildflowers / High Altitude

Thursday, June 20th | Antones Lake

About 1 hour from Walking Mountains near the town of Eagle, Mount Thomas is one of our guides’ favorite hikes. After climbing moderately through spruce/fir forests and multiple wildflower meadows, we spend the last 2 miles hiking along a beautiful alpine ridge before topping out at 11,977 ft at the summit of Mount Thomas! Views of the Sawatch Range, and “Red Table Mountain” which features Colorado’s iconic iron-heavy red rock make the climb worth it! Click here to register.

Difficulty: Black

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 10.5 / 2,800 / 11,977 (GPS)

Highlights: Mountain Views / Panorama Views / Alpine / Wildflowers

Thursday, June 27th | Shrine Mtn.

Named “ Shrine” for its excellent view of the Mount of the Holy Cross, the pass was originally a Ute Indian trail and later used by silver miners and settlers. Views from Shrine Mountain include the Gore Range, Uneva Peak, Copper Mtn ski area,  Ptarmigan Hill and Ptarmigan Pass, Sawatch Range and Mount of the Holy Cross and The Flat Top Mountains! Being at a high elevation after a high snowpack year this hike will be a snowshoe adventure! Please bring a pair of snowshoes. If you do not own snowshoes please contact us prior to the hike and they will be provided free of charge! . Click here to register.

Difficulty: Blue

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 9 / 1,400 / 11,747

Highlights: Panorama Views / Summit / Alpine / High Alpine

Thursday, July 4th | Uneva Peak

Uneva Peak is a quick 35 minute drive from Walking Mountains, and is one of the more moderate and accessible high alpine summits on our schedule! Beginning at Vail Pass, the trail travels through gentle terrain into the Eagles Nest Wilderness. At tree line we leave the trail and climb steeply through grassy alpine terrain to the west ridge of Uneva Peak. The last half mile along the ridge to the summit at 12,500 feet features beautiful views of the Gore Range! Click here to register.

 Difficulty: Blue

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 6.5 / 1,991 / 12,523 (GPS)

Highlights: Summit / Mountain Views / Panorama Views / Off Trail / Alpine / High Altitude

Thursday, July 11th | Mt. Elbert

Join us for our first 14er climb of the season! We will be joined by a peak steward from Colorado 14ers initiative on this hike—and learn the secrets of life above 14,000 feet, as well as how to best be stewards for this unique environment. The highlight, however, is the highest summit in Colorado—where everything you see is lower than you are! This is a long and challenging day, and be prepared for an alpine start (before 6 am). Click here to register.

 Difficulty: Black-14er

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 10.5 / 4,137 / 14,439

Highlights: 14er / Summit / Mountain Views / Panorama Views / Alpine / High Altitude

Thursday, July 18th | New York Mountain via Nolan Lake Trail

Join us for a beautiful hike up New York Mountain. We will hike the Nolan Lake trail up a beautiful valley, before merging on the New York Mountain trail—a less traveled wilderness trail where we are unlikely to encounter other hikers. The last stretch of this hike takes us off trail across rocky alpine landscapes to the summit of New York Mountain. If we have time on the descent, a side trip to Nolan Lake provides another beautiful perspective on the peaks of the northern Sawatch Mountains. Click here to register.

 Difficulty: Black

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 7 / 3,309 / 12,545

Highlights: Summits / Mountain Views / Panorama Views / Alpine / High Altitude / Off Trail / Streams & Creeks

Thursday, July 25th | Iron Edge Loop

The Iron Edge Loop is one of the most spectacular hikes we guide—and if you have one day to experience the Colorado Backcountry, there is no better route. This hike takes you through dry pine forests, lush subalpine wetlands, rocky alpine ridges, and along the shores of beautiful Lake Charles. A hike that truly has it all—the Iron Edge loop is an Eagle County gem. Click here to register.

 Difficulty: Black

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 9.5 / 2,945 / 11,888

Highlights: Alpine / Panorama Views / Mountain Views / Lakes / Streams & Creeks / Off-Trail

Thursday, August 8th | Mt. Huron

Our second 14er of the season, Mt. Huron, is a new addition to our lineup. This climb is one of the shorter 14er climbs in central Colorado, and the easiest of the three that we guide. Located near Buena Vista Colorado in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness—we travel about 2 hours to the trailhead from Avon. However once on the trail, you are deep in the Wilderness and surrounded by 14ers. This a beautiful and accessible 14er climb that is not to be missed! Click here to register.

 Difficulty: Black-14er

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 7.5 / 3,500 / 14,003

Highlights: 14er / Summit / Mountain Views / Panorama Views / Alpine / High Altitude

Thursday, August 15th | Mt. of the Holy Cross

Mt of the Holy Cross is the only 14er in Eagle County, and one of the most challenging non-technical 14ers in Colorado. However, if you want a true mountain experience with a wilderness feel and impressive summit—summiting Mt. of the Holy Cross is a bucket-list experience. This difficult trek will begin before sunrise and hikers will face challenges clambering over scree fields and over a mountain pass as we spend a full day checking Mount of the Holy Cross off the 14er checklist. As this is an advanced hike, prior hiking experience is desired, as is being acclimated to our thin mountain air. Click here to register.

 Difficulty: Black-14er

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 11 / 5,500 / 14,009

Highlights: 14er / Summit / Mountain Views / Panorama Views / Alpine / High Altitude

Thursday, August 22nd | Whitney Peak

Another new addition to our 2019 line-up, a climb up Whitney Peak is a spectacular hike featuring alpine lakes, Fall Creek Pass, and the summit of a Colorado 13er. This hike follows the route of our Seven Sisters Lakes hike, and continues to the summit of Fall Creek Pass where we will verge off trail and follow the shoulder of Whitney Peak to its summit over 13,000 feet. Click here to register.

 Difficulty: Black

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 9 /3,068 / 13,258

Highlights: Panorama Views / Alpine Lakes / Stream & Creeks / Alpine / High Altitude

Thursday, August 29th | Bald Mountain

Bald Mountain looms over vail, and is one of the most accessible peaks in the rugged Gore Range. This hike leaves directly from Vail and climbs up a spectacular summit overlooking the valley. A mix of trail and off trail hiking makes this one of the most adventurous hikes on our schedule. Click here to register.

 Difficulty: Black

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 10 / 3,566 / 12,133

Highlights: Summit / Mountain Views / Panorama Views / Alpine / High Altitude / Off Trail

Half Day Backcountry Hikes

Sundays & Wednesdays
Sundays | Half Day Hikes at the Vail Farmer’s Market

$30 per person, ages 12+

Stop by the Vail Farmers’ Market & join an interpretive guide for an afternoon exploring Vail’s backcountry. Walking Mountains provides transportation to and from the trailhead, and experienced guides excited to share the cultural and natural history of the Vail Valley. Hikes meet at 12:15 outside Walking Mountains’ booth at the Vail farmer’s market, where we will load a van and drive to one of our favorite local trails. Expect to spend about roughly 3 hours on the trail, and return to Vail by 4:30 – 5:00. Your guide can drop you off at the Vail Transportation Center & Lionshead Parking Structure in Vail, or at the Avon Transportation Center.

These hikes will take place on a Vail trail according to your guide’s judgement of conditions and time of year. To view descriptions of all the trails in rotation, click here.

June Half Day Farmer's Market Hikes

July Half Day Farmer's Market Hikes

August Half Day Farmer's Market Hikes

Wednesdays | Piney River Ranch Family Adventures

$40 for adults (17+) & $25 for children (8-16)

Join a Walking Mountains Backcountry guide for a fun and educational 2 hour hike along the Piney River, followed by time to enjoy the historic Piney River Ranch. Opportunities at Piney include horseback riding, canoeing & lunch at Piney Lodge & Restaurant (added cost applies). Transportation to and from Piney from Vail & Avon is provided.

July Piney Ranch Hikes

August Piney Ranch Hikes

More information about your Piney Ranch Adventure!

What to Expect:

Your day starts at 8:30 by meeting your guide at Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon, or one of four convenient pickup locations between Avon & Vail. We will load a Walking Mountains van and drive the scenic hour along Red Sandstone Road to Piney River Ranch. After a brief orientation to the Ranch, we will take a leisurely, educational hike along the Upper Piney River. You will experience the beauty of the Colorado Rockies, learn about what critters live in our streams & forests, and your guide may even bring some surprises to share along the way! Moose and other wildlife are commonly seen at the far end of the lake, and this is a beautiful place to learn about Colorado’s wildlife & wilderness areas! After the hike, you will have about 1 ½ hours to enjoy all that Piney River Ranch has to offer. We will load the vans at 1:15 and return to Vail & Avon by 2:30.

 

Additional activities available at Piney River Ranch include:

  • Dining at the Piney Lodge Restaurant, which features signature barbecue dishes. Click here to see the menu.
  • Enjoying your own picnic lunch on the hills overlooking Piney Lake.
  • Canoeing & Standup Paddleboarding on Piney Lake.
  • Seeing the ranch on a 1 hour guided horseback ride, pending availability.

Canoeing & Stand-Up paddle boarding are $30 an hour. Horseback riding is $90 per hour and reservations are required. For more information on actives at Piney River Ranch, and to book canoeing or horseback rides please contact Monique Busold at monique@pineyriverranch.com

Fall Color Backcountry Hikes

Mondays, Tuesdays & Thursdays | September-October
Full Day Hikes | Mondays & Thursdays

$80 per person, ages 14+

Our fall colors full day backcountry hikes highlight the beautiful fall foliage of the Colorado Rockies! Our early September hikes take you into the alpine zone to witness the rusty hues of autumn above tree line. During peak fall foliage (mid-September – mid October) we highlight trails that showcase Colorado’s iconic Aspen forest

Thursday, September 5th | Kokomo Pass

Departing from historic Camp Hale, training grounds for the renowned 10th Mountain Division, this hike follows the Colorado & Continental Divide Trails to a high alpine pass. We will head north and be graced with views of Copper Mountain, Frisco, and Breckenridge. This is one of the premier fall color hikes in the area. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Black

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 10 / 2,600 / 12,260

Highlights: Alpine / Mountain Views / Panorama Views / Alpine / High Altitude

Monday, September 9th | Mt. Thomas

About 1 hour from Walking Mountains near the town of Eagle, Mount Thomas is one of our guides’ favorite hikes. After climbing moderately through spruce/fir forests and multiple wildflower meadows, we spend the last 2 miles hiking along a beautiful alpine ridge before topping out at 11,977 ft at the summit of Mount Thomas! Views of the Sawatch Range, and “Red Table Mountain” which features Colorado’s iconic iron-heavy red rock make the climb worth it! Click here to register.

Difficulty: Black

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 10.5 / 2,800 / 11,977

Highlights: Mountain Views / Panorama Views / Alpine / Wildflowers

Thursday, September 12th | Half Moon Pass

Half Moon Pass is a beautiful alpine pass along the trail to Mount of the Holy Cross. This hike climbs on the Holy Cross trail for 1.5 miles to tree line at the summit of Half Moon Pass, on the shoulder of Notch Mountain. We then descend 1,000 feet into West Cross Creek where we will enjoy lunch before climbing back up the pass. The descent into W. Cross Creek has some of the most spectacular views of the Holy Cross Basin & Mount of the Holy Cross, making this hike one not to miss, and a great experience for those not up for a full peak climb of Holy Cross. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Blue

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 6 / 2,343 / 11,660

Highlights: Mountain Views / Alpine / Panorama Views

Monday, September 16th | Iron Edge

We’re returning in September to the Iron Edge Trail–this time hiking out and back to a beautiful alpine view point above Lake Charles. The Iron Edge Trail starts near the Fulford Caves, and climbs steadily through spruce & fir forest to the Peter Estin Hut. From the hut, the trail continues to a beautiful alpine ridge line where we will enjoy lunch among the boulders, and soak in the views of the rugged northern Sawatch Mountains. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Black

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation:  8 / 3,000 / 10,713

Highlights: Alpine / Mountain Views / Alpine Views

Thursday, September 19th | Gore Lake

Gore Lake is a long & challenging day that rewards hikers with one of the most remote & spectacular alpine lakes in the East Vail region of the Gore Range. This hike travels through montane aspen forests to just below tree line. In mid-September we are likely to see some of the first fall colors of the season on this hike! Click here to register.

Difficulty: Black

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 12 / 3,047 /11,405

Highlights: Lakes / Mountain Views / Streams & Creeks / Fall Colors

Monday, September 23rd | Martin Creek

One of our favorite fall hikes–Martin Creek is the place to be when the aspens are changing color! This hike travels for miles through continuous aspen forest. In the upper reaches of the trail we enter a forest in the process of transitioning from an aspen grove to a mature fir forest—showcasing the ever changing nature of our mountain landscape. This hike climbs steadily, and occasional viewpoints offer vistas of the Cross Creek Valley. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Blue

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 6 / 2,400 / 10,302

Highlights: Aspens / Fall Colors

Thursday, September 26th | East Lake Creek

On our fall trip to East Lake Creek we will hike further up the valley into the heart of the Holy Cross Wilderness. A 6-7 mile (one way) hikes takes us to a small lake and historic mining ruins in the beautiful glacial valley of East Lake Creek. Another one of our favorite fall colors hikes, the East Lake Creek trail travels past some of the largest aspens in the Vail area! Click here to register.

Difficulty: Black

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 13 / 3,000 / 9,275

Highlights: Aspens / Mountain Streams / Wildflowers / Mining History

Monday, September 30th | Martin Creek/Cross Creek Loop

Join us for the most spectacular fall colors hike on our schedule. This loop combines two beautiful fall hikes, Martin Creek & Cross Creek, in a point to point loop hike. Highlights along the trail include the beautiful cascades of Cross Creek, views of Mt. of the Holy Cross, montane beaver lakes, and stunning aspen groves. For those up for a longer day–this is a must hike fall trip! Click here to register.

Difficulty: Black

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 12 / 3,000 / 10,713

Highlights: Mountain Views / Streams & Creeks / Aspens / Fall Colors

Thursday, October 3rd | Whiskey Creek Loop

The Whiskey Creek Loop combines the beautiful, forested Whiskey Creek trail with a descent through the open meadows of Meadow Mountain. We will start on the newly completed Evercrisp trail, and join up with the Whiskey Creek trail which climbs through Aspen forests to the Line Shack, a small hut at the top of Meadow Mountain. The descent down Meadow Mountain features beautiful views of Vail’s Back Bowls, the Gore Range, and the Eagle River Valley. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Blue

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 10 / 2,332 / 9,751

Highlights: Aspens / Fall Colors / Mountain Views / Panorama Views

Monday, October 7th | Cross Creek

The popular Cross Creek trail is one of the most beautiful valley hikes on our schedule. This hike features unique granite geology and dozens of rocky outcrops where views of the valley and its namesake—mount of the Holy Cross make for numerous photo ops. We will hike 3-4 miles along this trail that continues into the heart of the Holy Cross Wilderness before turning back and retracing our steps to the trailhead. Tumbling cascades, lush riparian forests, small mountain lakes, and vibrant fall colors are highlights of this beautiful fall hike. Click here to register.

Difficulty:Green

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: <8 / <1,700 / 9,868

Highlights: Streams & Creeks / Fall Colors / Mountain Views

Thursday, October 10th | Lake Charles

The trail to Lake Charles begins in Sylvan Lake State Park near the famous Fulford Cave. The trail follows East Brush Creek through the Holy Cross Wilderness area. A relatively moderate trail, this hike features views of Sylvan Lake State Park, numerous granite outcrops, and mountain views across a remote alpine lake. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Blue

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 8 /1,800 / 11,083

Highlights: Lakes / Mountain Views / Streams & Creeks

Monday, October 14th | Squaw Creek Loop

The Squaw Creek Loop is a beautiful loop hike near Edwards that features a mix of aspen, pine, and spruce/fir forests as well as the panoramic views of Big Park. The hike begins by following Squaw Creek, before joining jeep trails and connecting to the Stagg Gulch Trail at Big Park, a wide open hill top meadow with beautiful views of the mountains surrounding the Vail valley. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Blue

Length 10.1 miles / Climbing 2,223 ft / Peak Elevation: 9,727

Highlights: Fall Colors / Panorama Views / Mountain Views / Streams & Creeks

Thursday, October 17th | New York Mountain

The standard route up New York Mountain offers a shorter approach to this beautiful peak in the northern Sawatch Mountains. This hike is our shortest peak ascent, however it still packs a punch with 1,500 feet of climbing in 2 miles to reach the summit. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Blue

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 4 / 1,458 / 12,545

Highlights: Summits / Mountain Views / Panorama Views / Alpine / High Altitude / Off Trail

Monday, October 21st | Sneve Gulch

The Sneve Gulch trail begins in aspen and climbs up steeply to an overlook of Sylvan Lake. This well-marked, maintained trail has steep grades while passing through open meadows, aspen, spruce, fir and lodgepole pine forest. Parts of the trail have views of Red Table Mountain to the southwest and the high, red sandstone cliffs of Mount Eve to the north. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Blue

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 5 / 1,735 / 10,257

Highlights: Mountain Views

Thursday, October 24th | McKenzie Gulch

McKenzie Gulch is a short and sweet hike with a high bang for your buck. The trail climbs quickly through aspen & spruce/fir forests before breaking out into a grazed meadow. A quick off trail hike through the flat meadow rewards us with beautiful views of Sylvan Lake.

This hike features vistas of the Brush creek valley which is home to extensive aspen forests. Being at a lower elevation, McKenzie gulch is more likely to hang onto its fall foliage later in the season, compared to many of our up valley hikes. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Blue

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 6.2 / 1,700 / 9,695

Highlights: Mountain Views / Panorama Views / Aspens

Monday, October 28th | Tennessee Pass

Tennessee Pass is a fantastic hike for those wanting to experience Colorado hiking without the challenging climbs characteristic of most Eagle County hikes. On this hike we will hike along old railroad grades, and through picturesque forests and wetlands to Tennessee Pass, on the continental divide! This hike also takes you through terrain used by the 10th Mountain Division when training for World War II.

On our fall trip to Tennessee Pass we will start at Camp Hale, making this is a longer hike than our summer trip to Tennessee Pass. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Blue+

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 13 / 641 / 1,534

Highlights: Mountain Views / Streams & Creeks

Thursday, October 31st | Buck Creek

Join us in our own backyard for a trip into the hills overlooking Avon, and Walking Mountains Science Center’s campus. Departing from Buck Creek Road, just above Walking Mountains’ campus, this trail crosses Buck Creek a few times as it winds up to a junction with Red and White Road. We will stop for lunch overlooking the town of Avon and Beaver Creek and be rewarded with a whole new vantage point of where many of us call home. Click here to register.

Difficulty: Black

Length / Climbing / Peak Elevation: 7.3 / 2,700 / 10,157

Highlights: Aspens / Streams & Creeks / Mountain Views

Half Day Hikes | Tuesdays

$30 per person, ages 12+

Our half day fall colors hikes are perfect for families and hikers looking to enjoy Colorado’s fall foliage at a more relaxed pace. These hikes take you along beautiful creek valleys through some of the most impressive aspen groves in the Vail area.

Tuesday, September 3rd | Cross Creek

The popular Cross Creek trail is one of the most beautiful fall hikes in the Vail Valley. This hike features unique granite geology and rocky outcrops with views of the valley and its namesake—Mount of the Holy Cross. Tumbling cascades, lush riparian forests, and vibrant fall colors are highlights of this beautiful fall hike. Click here to register.

Tuesday, September 10th | Martin Creek

Martin Creek is the place to be when the aspens are changing color! This hike travels for miles through continuous aspen forest. In the upper reaches of the trail we enter a forest in the process of transitioning from an aspen grove to a mature fir forest—showcasing the ever changing nature of our mountain landscape. This hike climbs steadily, and occasional viewpoints offer vistas of the Cross Creek Valley. Click here to register.

Tuesday, September 17th | East Lake Creek

Another one of our favorite fall colors hikes, the East Lake Creek trail travels past some of the largest aspens in the Vail area and into the East Lake Creek valley. This rolling trail offers beautiful fall colors & views into the Holy Cross Wilderness. Click here to register.

Tuesday, October 1st | Martin Creek

Martin Creek is the place to be when the aspens are changing color! This hike travels for miles through continuous aspen forest. In the upper reaches of the trail we enter a forest in the process of transitioning from an aspen grove to a mature fir forest—showcasing the ever changing nature of our mountain landscape. This hike climbs steadily, and occasional viewpoints offer vistas of the Cross Creek Valley. Click here to register.

Tuesday, October 8th | East Lake Creek

Another one of our favorite fall colors hikes, the East Lake Creek trail travels past some of the largest aspens in the Vail area and into the East Lake Creek valley. This rolling trail offers beautiful fall colors & views into the Holy Cross Wilderness. Click here to register.

Tuesday, October 15th | Cross Creek

The popular Cross Creek trail is one of the most beautiful fall hikes in the Vail Valley. This hike features unique granite geology and rocky outcrops with views of the valley and its namesake—Mount of the Holy Cross. Tumbling cascades, lush riparian forests, and vibrant fall colors are highlights of this beautiful fall hike. Click here to register.

Tuesday, October 22nd | Martin Creek

Martin Creek is the place to be when the aspens are changing color! This hike travels for miles through continuous aspen forest. In the upper reaches of the trail we enter a forest in the process of transitioning from an aspen grove to a mature fir forest—showcasing the ever changing nature of our mountain landscape. This hike climbs steadily, and occasional viewpoints offer vistas of the Cross Creek Valley. Click here to register.

Tuesday, October 29th | East Lake Creek

Another one of our favorite fall colors hikes, the East Lake Creek trail travels past some of the largest aspens in the Vail area and into the East Lake Creek valley. This rolling trail offers beautiful fall colors & views into the Holy Cross Wilderness. Click here to register.

Click here to learn about our free daily nature walks.

Questions:  Nathan Boyer-Rechlin | nathanbr@walkingmountains.org | 970.827.9725×144

Hikers should come prepared to spend the day on the trail, including bringing lunch, rain gear, and plenty of water.  The Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District has put together a helpful sheet on how to prevent risk and injury while enjoying Colorado’s National Forests. Click here to view their safety tips and learn more about some popular local trails.

This program is generously supported by:

Four Points
  • The September 21st hike was fabulous with your two knowledgeable guides!  I was amazed how much McCale knew about nature and animals!   She sparked with excitement to share with us.  She is an asset to your organization and the geology lessons were fascinating by your volunteer, John.  I will definitely recommend your walks to friends!  I shall return for one of your nature walks next summer when I return from Sedona.

    Leigh R.
  • This was our third week-long trip to the Vail Valley. Each time we have done a hike with Walking Mountains. Peter is amazing and yesterday’s excursion to Booth Falls with McCale Carter was up to par: excellent explanations of the flora and fauna and details of what to expect. While we could have been the grandparents of the young girls (this was billed as a family half-day outing), she made it work for all of us. Go Walking Mountains!

    Hiking Participant
  • I am still beaming after summiting my first 14er with Walking Mountains, Peter, and his fellow guides. Joined them on other hikes and will in the future. This welcoming group includes seasonal locals, vacationers and folks of all ages, whoever is available and interested on the allotted day. As I’m the big hiker in my family, this removes my concern about hiking alone and gives me access to gorgeous places. Well worth the time and your effort, wherever they take you around the Vail Valley environments.

    Annie
  • I have enjoyed a good handful of Colorado day hikes organized by Walking Mountains Science Center. Our able guide, Peter, is consistently cheerful, organized, prepared, knowledgeable and on top of details that I don’t want to concern myself with…weather, trail directions, etc. If you love being in Colorado’s mountains just enjoying great views, wildflowers, and a good workout, this is a great way to spend the day.

    Hiking Participant
  • We were so happy with our experience hiking with Walking Mountains!  Our guide McCale was fantastic!!  She was so wonderful with the girls!!  We loved every moment!  So glad we called and did this. What a jewel McCale is!!!  I can’t say enough good things about her!  We can’t wait to do this again! 

    Diane B.
  • Thank you so much for arranging our guided hike today. As always, we had a fantastic time, and the staff did an amazing job!! Word has spread about this event, and it is one of our most popular survivorship outings each year! We are looking forward to our next event with you.

    Spirit of Survival Group
  • Your dedication to hospitality and true passion is so admirable and today was no exception. As you clearly understand the gift in creating the memory and accomplishing goals is priceless…thank you!

    Dee Dee K.
  • Thank you so much! We unanimously agreed today was our favorite activity of our trip. You’ll definitely hear from us again and we’ll be sure to recommend to friends!

    Lauren H.

Cancellation Policy:

Hikes will go out in almost any weather. Walking Mountains Science Center reserves the right to cancel a hike due to unsafe conditions. If Walking Mountains cancels a hike, full refunds will be issued. If a hiker chooses to cancel prior to a week before a scheduled hike, 50% of the purchase price will be refunded. All cancellations made within a week of a scheduled hike surrender the full cost. Please contact Nathan Boyer-Rechlin at nathanbr@walkingmountains.org, 970-827-9725 ex 144 to discuss cancelling your hike.

Walking Mountains Science Center and the Vail Recreation District operate under a special use permit from the White River National Forest and the San Isabel National Forest and is an equal opportunity service provider. All or part of this operation is conducted on Public Lands under special permit from the U.S. Forest Service.

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