Vail polishes up its trailheads |

Vail polishes up its trailheads

Edward Stoner

NWS Trailhead Signs1 SM 5-25

VAIL – Vail has collaborated with local artisans to spruce up the welcome mats for the town’s trails.New signs will be at trailheads in East Vail at Booth Falls, Pitkin Creek, Bighorn Creek and Gore Creek/Deluge Lake.”They’re unique and they really spell Vail all over them with the quality of them,” said Gregg Barrie, who spearheaded the project for the town of Vail.The town paid for the signs from its annual budget for trailhead improvements. The Forest Service cooperated with the effort.”We wanted to improve the town’s trailheads, which are a big tourist draw in the summertime,” Barrie said.

Vail artist Charmayne Bernhardt painted the signs with local flora and fauna that hikers can expect to see on the trails. “When someone comes up to the sign, instead of seeing just a topo map, they can see camprobbers and hummingbirds,” Bernhardt said.One sign has mammals, including elk, deer, porcupine, coyotes, raccoons and ermine. Another sign has wildflowers, another has birds and one focuses on wetlands.”(Hikers) might not know what they’re going to be looking at,” Bernhardt said. “They might think, this is what to look for along the way.”

The town is thinking about turning the paintings into posters to be sold, the same way the town sells souvenir manhole covers. Bernhardt has painted other signs for the Forest Service on Vail and Beaver Creek mountains.Local woodworker Wolfgang Opel crafted the signs and carved the names of the trails.The signs also have Forest Service rules and regulations as well as topographical maps and trail etiquette. The maps were donated by National Geographic Trails Illustrated.Opel planned to install the signs on Sunday.The five popular trails head toward the Gore Range from East Vail. Booth Creek Trail is well-known for the large waterfall beside the trail.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or

Vail, Colorado