Hike of the Week: Play outdoor recreation bingo by checking these Eagle County adventures off your list | VailDaily.com

Hike of the Week: Play outdoor recreation bingo by checking these Eagle County adventures off your list

By Nathan Boyer-Rechlin
Special to the Daily

As more and more trails open every day, snow slowly begins to melt from the mountains, and with the days feeling more like summer than winter, it’s a great time to start planning local adventures.

Eagle County has almost endless resources for summer outdoor recreation. While some of our trails and recreation opportunities, such as the Booth Falls trail & Adventure Ridge on Vail, are so popular that they’re on postcards and are easily discovered with a quick Google search, my personal favorite experiences lie a little further off the beaten track.

While guide-books and internet research can be a great way to start looking for your next hiking destination, my personal favorite method for discovering new adventures is simple: take out your map.

Aspen meadows, like this one along the trail to Booth Creek Falls, are fairly pervasive throughout the montane zone, and help to provide resources for numerous species throughout the seasons.
Rick Spitzer photo | Special to the Daily

For me, nothing beats pouring over a tactile paper map, however, there are great free mapping resources online as well, with a favorite being CalTopo. Many of my favorite places in our county I’ve found simply by spending time looking at maps, following forest service roads into the void, and looking for less traveled trails or high mountain lakes a quick bushwack off the beaten path. 

With the intense summer crowding that has been stressing many of our more popular trails such as Booth Creek and the other East Vail Trails, exploring a little further can help you get to know our area a little better as well as spread out the use. With hundreds of miles of trail in our county, it’s not hard to find a little solitude and discover your own five-star destinations.

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For this week’s trail challenge, take out your map (or buy one) and see if you can discover a few new hikes for your bucket list. To help you with your summer planning, head over to Walking Mountains’ Instagram or Facebook Page and see how well you do on our Eagle County Backcountry Bingo to test your ‘local’ credentials and get some new ideas for the summer.

Here’s the bingo sheet. Share your filled out sheet with the hashtag #wmsctrailschallenge.

Been to Camp Hale (home of the 10th Mountain Division) Photographed Colorado’s state flower (The Colorado Columbine) Swam in an alpine lake Camped in the Eagle’s Nest or Holy Cross Wilderness Volunteered on a Vail Valley Mountain Trails Association Trail Day
Hiked Bald Mountain (near Vail) Visited the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens Hiked Mount Thomas (near Eagle/Sylvan Lake) Biked (or hiked) the Two Elk Trail Cut your own Christmas tree (with a Forest Service permit)
Photographed a marmot Mountain biked on Eagle County trails Free space Identified coyote tracks Glissaded down (slid down) a summer snowfield
Seen a sunrise or sunset from a mountain peakTaken a photo from an Eagle County summitSeen a mountain goatBeen on a hike or nature walk w/ Walking Mountains Science Center Gravel biked on a Forest Service or BLM road
Participated in a citizen science project (such as the Pika Project, Colorado Corridors Project or E-Bird) Snowshoed or backcountry skied in the Eagle’s Nest or Holy Cross Wilderness Fished a backcountry lake Hiked Uneva Peak (near Vail Pass) Viewed the  aspens in peak fall color

Nathan Boyer-Rechlin is the community outreach coordinator for Walking Mountains Science Center. For more information on this hike and others with Walking Mountains, email nathanbr@walkingmountains.org.

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