Walking Mountains, Vail Rec District announce summer hiking schedule | VailDaily.com

Walking Mountains, Vail Rec District announce summer hiking schedule

Weekly staff report

Hiking season is nearing full swing, and Walking Mountains Science Center along with the Vail Recreation District have a summer hiking schedule with more trails and more peaks added to the list.

There's something for everyone, including the popular family hikes every Thursday and Saturday through the fall and treks up 14ers such as Mt. Elbert and Mt. of the Holy Cross.

In honor of Colorado Public Lands Day on Saturday, May 19, register for any guided hike using the code "yayfortrails" between now and the 19th and get 25 percent off your hiking excursion.

The hikes are guided by certified interpretive guides, wilderness first responders and outdoor enthusiasts that have been experiencing the valley underfoot for years. For more information, visit http://www.walking mountains.org.

Pick a Hike, Any Hike

The Backcountry Hiking program, centered out of the Vail Nature Center, runs from the beginning of June through the end of October, catching the summer wildflower blooms as well as peak fall color season. Full-day hikes (six or more hours, 7-15-plus miles) take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays and cost $80 or $75 for VRD homeowners.

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Back again this summer is the popular family hikes every Thursday and Saturday through the fall. These hikes are for individuals or families with children ages 8 and older who will join a naturalist on shorter, yet equally beautiful and impressive treks on local trails. Family hikes cost $30 or $25 for VRD homeowners, per person, and return to the Vail area by early afternoon.

Walking Mountains' guides are headed back up Mt. Elbert and Mt. of the Holy Cross this season, but don't worry if 14ers aren't your thing. Back on the San Isabel National Forest out of Leadville, hikers will be led along sections of the 500-plus-mile-long Colorado Trail.

Hikers will also be taken to some of the local hotspots in the Eagle Valley on the White River National Forest including the Missouri Lakes and Fancy Pass Loop and Mystic Island Lake. New trails for new vantage points and views this season include the short and steep Nolan Lake Trail or the Ironedge Trail, providing a different view of the local favorite Lake Charles.

Another option is joining the Backcountry Hiking Club. Hiking Club members receive unlimited access to all hikes, all summer long, and extra benefits such as Colorado Search and Rescue membership cards and discounted access to other Walking Mountains' programs. More information on club membership is available online. There are only a few spots remaining for this unlimited hiking opportunity.