Hike of the Week: Join Walking Mountains for an outdoor, hands-on version of the popular Science Behind series

By Nathan Boyer-Rechlin
Special to the Daily
Gore Creek Trail is another popular hike in the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area. The hike spans about 13 miles, out and back.
Tom Cohen | Special to the Daily

The trails that surround our communities here in the Eagle Valley take on unique significance for each of us. For some of us, the trails connect us to our hobbies — be that fishing in an alpine lake, photography or pushing our physical limits on a mountain bike. For others, these trails offer a way to connect with our surroundings and escape the fast pace of life. Additionally, our trails connect us to the communities of plants and wildlife that decorate postcards and draw us to the mountains.

In a new series of free community hikes, Walking Mountains hopes to explore a little behind the science of what makes our trails so special, and learn more about our valley. The new “Science Behind on the Trail” series takes the concept of our popular seminar-based “Science Behind Series” and takes it out on the trail.

From wildlife photography and fly fishing to how climate change impacts our lives here in the mountains, these educational hikes merge a fun, social hiking experience with a hands-on exploration into topics relevant to the Eagle Valley. Each month features a different hike led by a guest presenter.

These hikes occur monthly July through September, and are free to attend. Transportation to and from the trailhead from Vail, Avon and Edwards is available for $10.

Kicking off the series Sunday, July 19, is The Science Behind Wildlife Corridors and Vail Pass. In collaboration with the Colorado Corridors Project, Rocky Mountain Wild, and the Denver Zoo, guests will hike the Wilder Gulch Trail at Vail Pass and learn about the citizen science efforts to study wildlife in this important wildlife corridor, and the potential for wildlife overpasses between Copper Mountain and Vail Pass.

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The Wilder Gulch hike to Ptarmigan Pass is a beautiful, scenic hike, and will cover about 7 miles and 1,300 feet of elevation gain, topping out above tree-line. For more information on this program and to register, visit

Following up this program, our August hike is The Science Behind Your Watershed and River Restoration with the Eagle River Watershed Council, and will be led on the Gore Creek Trail in East Vail.

Upcoming hikes

In addition to this series, Walking Mountains leads a number of weekly hiking excursions. Here is where we’re headed this weekend.

Sunday July 19: The Science Behind Wildlife Corridors and Vail Pass, hike at Wilder Gulch

Monday July 20: What’s Bloomin’ in the Backyard wildflower hike at Grouse Creek Trail

Nathan Boyer-Rechlin is the community outreach coordinator, hiking guide, and trails guru at Walking Mountains Science Center. You can reach him at 970-827-9725 ext. 144, or

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