The story behind the Recen brothers gravesite on Gore Creek Trail to Gore Lake |

The story behind the Recen brothers gravesite on Gore Creek Trail to Gore Lake

Peter Suneson
Walking Mountains Hike of the Week
The hike to Gore Lake via Gore Creek Trail starts in East Vail and heads parallel to Gore Creek, instead of straight up like many other hikes in the area. The gravesite of the Recen brothers, Swedish mining immigrants, is located adjacent to the trail at the 4 mile mark before climbing to the lake.
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Hike with Walking Mountains

Walking Mountains Science Center leads guided hikes year round for people of all ages and abilities. To see a schedule, visit or stop by one of their Eagle County locations:

In Avon at the Buck Creek Campus behind the hospital

On Vail Mountain at the Nature Discovery Center

At the Vail Nature Center near the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

In Vail Village at the Vail Nature Concierge

Editor’s note: Peter Suneson manages the backcountry hiking and snowshoeing programs at Walking Mountains Science Center. A native of Oklahoma, he enjoys exploring local trails and will write a weekly column during the summer. For more information, visit

Trail name: Gore Creek Trail to Gore Lake

Mileage: Roughly 6 miles to the lake, or 4.5 miles to the gravesites.

Subjective rating: Moderate to the graves with a difficult 1.5 mile climb to the lake.

What to Expect

The Gore Creek Trail shares a trailhead with Deluge Lake and begins adjacent to the Gore Creek Campground in East Vail. The trail begins as the exception to the “East Vail Rule” that states all trails must go straight up.

The trail parallels Gore Creek and provides excellent opportunities to dip your feet in the cold runoff. The gravesite of the Recen brothers is located adjacent to the trail at the 4 mile mark. From here, you can either continue straight over Red Buffalo Pass into Summit County or make a right hand turn and prepare to climb as you ascend up to the lake. Gore Lake is nestled up against the peaks and is one of the more impressive lakes high atop East Vail. Bring binoculars so you can scan the ridgeline above you for mountain goats.

The Recen brothers were Swedish immigrants who made the long journey to Colorado’s high country in search of precious metals. They named their mine “The Queen of the West” and the Recens even had a small mining camp named after them. (Recen and Kokomo were mining camps near Freemont Pass that are now buried under tailings piles and waste rock. Look for the Masonic Lodge highway marker just south of Freemont Pass on Highway 91).

Stewardship Message

Gore Creek Trail is one of the more popular trails in the area and is also located in the Eagles Nest Wilderness area so dogs must be kept on a leash and other wilderness protections should be followed. This trail, like Bighorn Creek Trail, passes by historic reminders of a time past. Please view these artifacts with care and treat them with the same sense of stewardship as hikers provide our National Forests and public lands.

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