Vail’s Booth trail parking to stay closed for now
Town agrees to extend closure into October
The Booth Lake trailhead parking closure seems to have had the desired effect, and will remain in place until October.
The closure, which went into effect June 2, was imposed to ease user pressure on the trail. Closing the surrounding neighborhood to trail parking — with fairly steep fines for violators — was done to help keep hikers out of the surrounding neighborhood.
Town officials for a few years have discussed ways to ease use on the heavily-traveled — and often heavily-trashed — trail. It could take between a few and several years for the U.S. Forest Service to impose a reservation system similar to the one in place at the Hanging Lake trail in Glenwood Canyon. Town officials did what they could — restricting access via parking.
For now, Vail Mountain School at times has parking available, but that availability will be limited once school starts.
Head of School Michael Imperi told council members he’s concerned about potential conflicts between hikers and people at the school. Not all the interactions with hikers are polite, Imperi said. People headed toward the trail often head off across the school’s athletic field, and many wonder where they can find a restroom. Weekend activities at the school can complicate parking, Imperi added.
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Plenty of hikers use the school’s parking. Imperi said a counter at the parking lot recorded 14,000 cars going in and out of the lot in a seven-week period this summer.
Council member Jenn Bruno said she’d like to find money to build a bathroom at the trailhead, along with providing a bus for hikers.
“Just close all of it out there,” Council member Jen Mason said of trailhead parking. “If people want to hike, they can take the bus.”
8,120: Booth Lake trail users in June, 2020
6,020: Users on the same trail in June, 2021.
2,370: Gore Creek trail users, June, 2020.
1,963: Users on that trail in June, 2021.