On the Trail: Piney Valley Ranch | VailDaily.com

On the Trail: Piney Valley Ranch

On the Trail, brought to you by The Steadman Clinic and the Steadman Philippon Research Institute, features a different Vail Valley trail twice per week.


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Distance: Approximately 75 miles of private trails.

Trailhead (location): Travel three miles north on Highway 131 from the Wolcott I-70 interchange. Turn left onto Horse Mountain Road. Stay left at fork onto Milk Creek Road. Stay left at next fork. Road ends at base facility.

For more information: Contact Sage Outdoor Adventures at 970-926-1505 or http://sageoutdooradventures.com

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Piney Valley Ranch contains 75 miles of trails in Wolcott and is managed by Sage Outdoor Adventures and owner Darryl Bangert.

The trails are located on private land, and the owner has indicated they intend to keep the land restricted to recreational use like what Bangert does at Sage.

Off-road vehicles are one of the best ways to access the trails at Piney River Ranch, and Bangert owns a fleet of 2- and 4-seater CAN AM Maverick side by side all terrain vehicles which guests to Piney Valley Ranch can use to explore the more than 6,000 acres available there.

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Abutting Piney Valley Ranch is Bureau of Land Management land which contains another 70 miles of trails; Bangert has a special use permit which allows Sage Outdoor Adventures to explore the trails on that land with their guests, as well.

The trails start at 8,100 feet and reach a height of 10,000 feet. Nearly the entire Vail Valley is visible from certain points on the property, from Vail Mountain to Gypsum and everywhere in between.

A variety of wildlife including bears, mountain lions, elk, deer, hawks and eagles inhabit the ranch. Sagebrush, pinyon, juniper and aspen trees are common on the property, and guides at Sage will identify every flower that’s blooming on the property for guests during the geology talks they’ll give while hosting an ATV tour.

There are six major spring-fed lakes on the property, and Muddy Creek runs through Piney River Ranch before dumping its silty water into the Colorado River.

In addition to ATV tours, Sage also lets guests explore the trails on their property via horseback tours, ran by local horse person Leslie Miller. Miller says she enjoys exploring the Piney River Ranch property because the fact that it’s on private land gives her more options.

“Because it’s not forest land or BLM land, we have the freedom to go wherever we want,” she said. “Every trip is a new adventure, no two of the horseback tours we give are the same.”

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