Hiking in Vail
Bighorn Creek Trail
Length: 3.6 Miles One Way
Difficulty: Moderately Difficult
Location: Take I-70 East from Vail and exit at 180 East Vail. Take an immediate right. Proceed south to the frontage road for 1 mile until you reach Columbine Drive. Take a left and continue to the end. The road goes under the interstate. There is a small parking lot at the end.
Description: The Bighorn Creek trail is less steep than the other East Vail trails. It is generally a fairly easy walk. The Bighorn Creek Trail in Vail is less steep than other nearby trails. This is considered an easy jaunt. This trail passes through beaver ponds and remnants of old mining camps. Take in views of Bighorn Falls.The trail passes beaver ponds and remains of old mining camps as well as’ Bighorn Falls. The trail ends at an old homestead cabin located on private property. Just before mile 2 and past a large fern grove, there is a side trail to an overlook down the steep drop to Bighorn Creek. This point makes a good destination for short hikes.
Cross Creek Trail
Length: 15.5 Miles One Way
Difficulty: Easy to Difficult
Directions: From Vail, take I-70 West and go to Exit 171 which is the Minturn Exit. Highway 24 leads you to Minturn. Drive 4 miles until Tigiwon Road. Turn right at Tigiwon and drive to the trailhead which is roughly 2 miles.
Description: Begin this trail by hiking the ridge above Cross Creek. The trail goes down and follows the Cross Creek drainage. This valley goes up 15.5 miles to Fancy Pass. There are several hidden lakes on this route that offer superb fishing for cutthroat trout, rainbows and some browns. Bring your fly rod. From this trail you can see the backside of Holy Cross. At mile 6, Cross Creek trail intersects Grouse Mountain trail. Reed’s Meadow is about 2-miles further and is a long open meadow in a glaciated valley.
Fall Creek Trail
Length: North Trailhead: 9 Miles One Way
Directions: Travel west on I-70 to Exit 171 for Minturn and Hwy 24. Exit here and turn right onto Hwy 24. For the North Trailhead you need to proceed 4 miles to Tigiwon Road. Turn Right onto Tigiwon Road and go 8 miles of dirt road. For the South trailhead, proceed 12 miles on Hwy 24 to Homestake Road # 703. Turn right and travel 8 miles on Homestake Road to the Holy Cross City jeep road # 759. Park here and walk about 2 miles up the road to the trailhead. NOTE: this jeep road is very rough and should not be attempted unless you have a 4 wheel drive with a winch.
Description: North Trailhead to Fall Creek Trail: Hike from the trailhead to Lake Constantine. This is a beautiful lake with nearby forests and rock outcroppings. Great fishing is had at Lake Constantine. Cross Fall Creek and climb to the Fall Creek Pass. Some hikers opt to camp in the area. You can continue over the pass to Seven Sisters Lakes and Hunky Dory Lake. Proceed another 2 miles on the Holy Cross City Jeep Road back to the trailhead. This is a spectacular area for multi-night adventures.
Gore Creek Trail
Length: 6.4 Miles
Directions: Take 1-70 East and exit 180 to East Vail. Take a right at the bottom of the off ramp and continue on this road. Stop at the trailhead which is at the of the road.
Description: Enjoy the first 5 miles of the Gore Creek Trail as it parallels the creek. You will encounter some short grunty sections. The Gore Creek trail winds through beautiful meadows and stands of aspen trees. At around the 5th mile the trail forks. The right trail goes to Gore Lake while the left goes to Red Buffalo Pass.
Half Moon Pass Trail
Length: 3.75 miles one way
Directions: Take I-70 west from Vail and exit 171 to Minturn and Leadville. You will now be on highway 24. Drive 5 miles and pass through Minturn. Turn right on Tigiwon Road. Continue 8 miles to the end. Park in the parking area at the end of the road.
Description: Climb from the trailhead up a moderately steep trail to Half Moon Pass. You will pass through spruce trees and eventually get to Timberline to the pass. On the west side of this trail the pass descends down to the Cross Creek valley floor. You can meet this trail up for a epic 2-3 day backpacking trip. From the top of Half Moon Pass, views to the west are of the Sawatch Range and the Mt. of the Holy Cross ridge.