Hike of the Week: 4 great fall foliage hikes in the Vail Valley | VailDaily.com

Hike of the Week: 4 great fall foliage hikes in the Vail Valley

By Bridget Whyte
Special to the Daily

It’s no secret that Vail is best known for its winter season, but autumn in the Eagle Valley may be its competitive runner up. As busy streets become empty, we’re given just a few short months to appreciate a quieter shoulder season as we gear up for future powder days.

Whether you’re an incoming visitor or a long-term resident, the transition to fall is a sight to be seen. If you’re interested in brisk mornings and golden foliage, we’ve got the hikes for you. Here are four great hikes for fall foliage in the Vail Valley.

East Lake Creek Trail – Forest Service Trail #1880

The East Lake Creek Trail offers an accessible trailhead outside Edwards.
Casey Russell | crussell@vaildaily.com

This trail is a favorite fall hike for many. A steady climb through lush aspen forests and lodgepole pine stands, this hike is one where you’ll want your camera. Just over 2 miles in, you’ll come to a creek crossing offering a great rest spot or turnaround point.

The North Trail – Forest Service Trail #1896

This multidisciplinary trail offers users a variety of recreational options and stunning views. On a hike through here, expect to pass by bikers, trail runners, and dog walkers enjoying the trail and stopping every now and then to admire the scenery. As you weave through shimmering aspens, don’t forget to look out towards Vail — the pop of yellow against the green ski runs makes for a beautiful contrast.

Beaver Lake Trail – Forest Service Trail #2109

This well-maintained trail follows alongside Beaver Creek with many opportunities to enjoy the aspens at their peak fall colors. Continue further up to travel through lush coniferous forests towards the Holy Cross Wilderness boundary and finally, Beaver Lake itself.

Upper Piney Trail – Forest Service Trail #1885

This trail begins at Piney Lake and continues on to climb through open meadows before entering the forest. With great spots for rest, lunch breaks and viewpoints, this trail is perfect for those looking for a gentle fall excursion. Several aspen groves line the trails and reveal bright pops of yellow as you travel on towards the lake.

Hike with Walking Mountains

Walking Mountains Summer & Fall hiking season is quickly coming to a close, but we still have a number of fun hiking programs left to get you out on the trail. Our Tuesday and Thursday full day hikes continue through Oct. 9, and our final Backyard Backcountry hike on Fall Colors is next Monday Oct. 5 at East Lake Creek.

Additionally, we have a special program this Saturday, Oct. 3. Our Hiking Through History series is returning, and we will be joining the Eagle County Historical Society for a moderate Half Day Hike at Yeoman Park where we will learn about Ranger Brown, and the early forest service presence here in our valley.

Here’s next week’s guided hike schedule.

Thursday, Oct. 1: Squaw Creek Full Day Hike, $80

Saturday, Oct. 3: Hiking Through History: Ranger Brown Trail, free ($10 for transportation)

Monday, Oct. 5: Fall Colors Half-Day Hike East Lake Creek, free ($10 for transportation)

Tuesday, Oct. 4: Martin Creek Fully Day Hike, $80

Bridget Whyte was a summer naturalist and hiking guide for Walking Mountains Science Center. For information about hiking, contact hike@walkingmountains.org.

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