Vail Daily letter: Join us on hike to Piney Ridge | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily letter: Join us on hike to Piney Ridge

Collin Stewart
Vail, CO, Colorado

The Hidden Gems wilderness campaign is leading a hike up Piney Ridge on Saturday as a part of a series of free hikes into proposed wilderness areas in Eagle, Summit and Pitkin counties. The hikes are a great way to get out into less explored areas of Eagle County and see many of the areas in the Hidden Gems wilderness proposal. With so much public discussion about the Hidden Gems, this is an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of where the wilderness-proposal areas are and what they look like on the ground.

Piney Ridge is a long arm of the Gore Range running west above the roadless and extensive lower Piney River Valley. The hike approaches the ridge through lush aspen forests and expansive high-altitude parks. The route climbs to the summit of Piney Peak at 11,600 feet, continues along the crest and loops back beside Walter Lake. The route is eight miles and includes 2,400 feet of elevation gain.

Atop Piney Peak, hikers will see Eagle’s Nest and Mount Powell jutting to the west and the peaks of the Holy Cross Wilderness towering to the south just beyond the game-rich Piney Valley.

Other upcoming hikes in the Eagle County and Summit County areas include a trek to the Mohawk Lakes near Breckenridge on July 18, a wildflower hike up Spraddle Creek on July 21, a traverse of three high peaks in the Tenmile Range on July 31 and an ascent of Castle Peak on Aug. 1.

The hikes in this year’s series tend to fall into two categories: challenging hikes designed to take even longtime local hikers to new places and short, accessible hikes allowing hikers of all levels to experience the proposed wilderness areas.

The Hidden Gems wilderness campaign is seeking designation of major new wilderness additions on the White River and Gunnison national forests and nearby Bureau of Land Management lands. The proposal would create several brand-new, stand-alone wilderness areas while significantly enlarging our existing wildernesses.

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Visit http://www.whiteriverwild.org/

p-hikes-74.html.

Collin Stewart