Guided hikes across Vail Valley available with Walking Mountains Science Center
Walking Mountains Science Center, now in its sixth year on the trails, has announced its summer and fall guided hiking programs. These hikes are meant to awaken a sense of wonder while exploring the valley’s thousands of acres of wilderness and national forest.
Walking Mountains has programs for hikers heading into the backcountry for the first time, those looking to bag their first 14er and for hikers curious about the flowers along the trails and more.
Join the Club
A local’s favorite, a season membership pays for itself after just seven full-day hikes. A season membership offers opportunities to meet new friends, hike with naturalists and other avid hikes on the trails every week through the end of October. Cost is $500 and includes free registration for all backcountry hikes, 10 preseason registrations, access to exclusive club hikes, two friends and family passes as well as other discounts.
Pick an experience
Each week this summer, the full-day hikes schedule showcases three unique backcountry experiences.
On Mondays, Walking Mountains guides hikes to a different alpine lake nestled in the Gore and Sawatch mountains. Alpine lakes are among the most popular hiking destinations and these hikes feature moderate trails and intimate views of some of Colorado’s most impressive summits. If you’ve already visited the valley’s popular high-altitude lakes, then venture off the beaten path on some more remote trips to Seven Sister’s Lakes and New York Lake. Cost is $80 per person.
If hiking for you is less about the destination and all about the journey, then sign up for a Tuesday Guide’s Choice hike. Enjoy a relaxed pace on moderate trails and experience the quiet beauty of local mountain ecosystems and wildlife. New this summer is the Featured Hikes series, taking place the fourth Tuesday of each month on trails that highlight unique features of Colorado’s cultural and natural history. For flora enthusiasts, don’t miss Stagg Gulch on June 25 for Walking Mountains’ first featured hike of the season. Cost is $80 per person.
Summits & passes
Thursdays are for those looking to hike high into the alpine with the Summits & Passes Hikes. This summer Walking Mountains certified interpretive guides will lead you to summit three of Colorado’s 14ers: Mount of the Holy Cross, Mount Elbert and Mount Huron, alongside many of other prominent peaks. Among the more adventurous offerings are New York Mountain, Bald Mountain and Whitney Peak, but all Thursday hikes will offer a great introduction to relatively easy (class 2) off-trail hiking and alpine scrambling. Cost is $80 per person.
Half Day & Family Programs
In addition to the full-day hiking experiences, Walking Mountains will offer half-day programs for families and those who prefer a more leisurely experience. New this year is the launch of Piney Family Adventure Hikes every Wednesday in July and August. Transportation is provided to Piney River Ranch, one of the Vail Valley’s most popular destinations. On Sundays, half-day hikes to various Vail trails depart from the Walking Mountains’ booth at the Vail Farmer’s Market, June 16 through August. Half-day hikes start at $30.
Pick your challenge
Each week this summer features an easy, moderate and difficult trip so that whatever your ability, and whenever your vacation lands, Walking Mountains has something to offer on the trail this summer.
For the schedule and to register, visit http://www.walkingmountains.org/hike.