New Vail Hiking Center guides guests on trails
Vail Mountain trails
Trails start from the base areas, as well as from the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola. See the short descriptions below, and for more information, download the summer trail map at http://www.vail.com/summer/activities/hiking-and-backpacking, or pick one up at the hiking enter.
Eagle’s Loop: Short ridgetop loop with views of Mount of the Holy Cross. 1 mile (1.6 km), 15 to 20 minutes.
Fireweed: Wooded trail between Adventure Ridge and Mid-Vail. 1 mile (1.6 km), 30 to 40 minutes.
Berrypicker: Starting at Lower Fireweed, this intermediate trail winds down from Mid-Vail or Adventure Ridge to Vail Village or Lionshead. 3.2 miles (5.1 km), 2 to 3 hours one way.
Grand Escape: This trail offers an alternative hiking experience with views and makes a loop with Ridge Route. 1.5 miles (2.4 km), 1.5 to 2 hours one way.
Ptarmigan Loop: Scenic trail through shaded woods connecting with Ridge Route at Wildwood to Ptarmigan Point and back. 1.2 miles (1.9 km), 30 to 40 minutes. Loop with Ridge Route: 4 miles (4.2 km), 2.5 to 3 hours.
Ridge Route: Intermediate ridge climb from Adventure Ridge to Wildwood and back with spectacular views. 1.4 miles (2.3 km), 1.5 to 2 hours one way.
VAIL — The hills surrounding the Vail Valley really come alive in the summer months, when aspen leaves quiver in the wind and blankets of wildflowers spread across miles of meadows.
Hit the trails with some help from the new Vail Hiking Center in Lionshead, located near the Eagle Bahn gondola at the base of the mountain.
“The Vail Hiking Center is our new one-stop-shop for hiking information at Vail,” said Jonno Goldstein, hiking center and guided activities supervisor at Vail. “Whether you are looking to get yourself outfitted for your first hike, looking for the trailhead for your next outing, have a questions about a particular flower you saw on the trail or are looking for a guide to facilitate your Vail hiking adventure, we have the answers to get you stepping in the right direction.”
Sara Lococo, communications specialist for Vail Mountain, said discussions of creating the hiking home base started last fall. The center can facilitate a completely customized hiking program for all kids and families with their guided hiking tours. The programs are helpful for those who are looking for a quick introduction to the area, as well as for those who want to take longer adventures on the upper parts of Vail Mountain.
The tours cater to hikers’ motivations and goals; if they’re looking for a quick ascent on the Berrypicker trail or want to tread as many miles as they can fit in, guides can help lead the way. Guided group bike clinics are also available to reserve through the hiking center.
Information on trails off of Vail Mountain can be accessed at the resource center as well. Locals and guests can stop by to pick up a guide book or map of the area.
“Our team is always ready to direct hikers to their favorite trails in the area, whether or not those hikes are on Vail Mountain,” Goldstein said.
If individuals or groups are seeking to explore the high alpine areas found above and around the valley, he said the Vail Hiking Center works with the Beaver Creek Hiking Center to get visitors on mountains that are 12-, 13- and 14-thousand feet in elevation.
Equipment rentals are not currently available at the hiking center, but Goldstein said it may be a consideration in the future. Hiking gear is available to purchase there, including trekking poles, boots and weather protection.
Prices for adult guided group hikes start at $40 per person, and children 12 and younger start at $20 per person. Guided group bike clinics starts at $45 per person. Private options are available, and there are also a variety of lift and lunch packages for guided hikes and bikes.