Top 5 Vail Hikes to see Beautiful Fall Colors

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Written by Lydia Betts

Fall in Colorado is truly a sight needed to be personally witnessed in order to understand it’s true beauty. There are several incredible places in Colorado people can travel to in hopes to soak in these views and one place that has plenty to offer in the fall, is Vail.

Easy Difficulty 

Gore Valley

Photo Courtesy of Jesse Varner.

This trail is 3.8 miles that goes out and back. It is a moderately trafficked trail that goes along a lower section of the gore creek closer to the town of Vail. You will also pass under vibrant red sandstone cliff faces. As one of the most well maintained trails in Vail, this a great trail if you are not yet acclimated to the elevation. Wonderful beginner trail for folks just arriving in high altitude, stroller friendly, and even accessible for wheel chairs since it is paved. You’ll pass the beautiful 11 acre Vail Memorial Park on the left side of the river over the bridge. This is also right next to Betty Ford Alpine Gardens the world’s highest botanical garden. 

Spraddle Creek

Spraddle Creek

Spraddle Creek Trail is 4.4 miles with about medium traffic. Experience a gradual incline a long a small stream with plenty of small waterfalls along the way. Rose quartz stones can be found in the creek. Hike through thick aspen groves overlooking Vail. At the top of the trail you will be rewarded by views of the entire valley, beaver creek, and holy cross wilderness in the distance. 

Moderate Difficulty  

Gore Creek Campground Loop

This trail is a 2.3 mile loop that is lightly trafficked. Hike along Gore Creek and encounter aspen groves, surprise open fields, and little water crossings. The northern part of the trail is well maintained, and the river crossing to do the full loop is only possible in low water. In highwater you can turn around at the bridge to do an out and back trail instead. 

Upper Piney River Falls

This trail is a 5.6 mile out and back trail moderately trafficked. When you first arrive, you’ll enjoy views of the jagged Mount. Powell over Piney Lake. Through the first few miles of the trail experience little elevation gain with wildlife sightings of marmots at almost turn. Shortly after the trail starts to climb through a long stretch of aspens. You will cross over many creeks on your way before making your way down to Piney Falls. This trail is accessible by dirt roads subject to close due to permitting weather conditions. On a sunny day the drive in itself is its own adventure. 

Hard Difficulty  

Booth Falls

This trail is a 3.9 mile trail that has features such as a 60 foot waterfall, fields of thimbleberry, river crossings, lots of chances to see wildlife, aspen groves, and bouldering. This moderately trafficked out and back trail will elevate 1,450 feet. Hike another 3.5 miles to Booth Lake. After the waterfall the trail gets steeper, rockier, and generally not as maintained or well-marked. The long trek and hard work are worth it for avid hikers. The gorgeous and picturesque lake sits at 11,500 tree line with beautiful views of the Gore Range. Traveling to the top of this hike all the way to the lake makes you feel on top of the world and makes for a fantastic hike you’ll always remember.