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Vail, CO: Red Buffalo Pass

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Distance: 12.4 miles


Explore Colorado's Gore Range on this 12.4-mile shuttle hike that begins in Vail, crosses Red Buffalo Pass, and drops into Silverthorne.
  • View of the Gore Range
  • Gore Creek Trailhead
  • Eastern Views on Gore Creek Trail
  • Views East on Gore Creek Trail
  • Log Bridge
  • Gore Range
  • Gore Creek Trail
  • Views West on Gore Creek Trail
  • Quiet Forest
  • The Recen Graves
  • The Recen Graves
  • Meadow
  • Rocky Outcrop
  • Trail Junction
  • Meadows
  • Campsite
  • Campsite
  • Meadow below Red Buffalo Pass
  • Gore Creek
  • View from Rock Outcrop
  • Gore Range
  • Views near Red Buffalo Pass
  • Climb to Red Buffalo Pass
  • Views near Red Buffalo Pass
  • Red Peak
  • South Willow Creek Drainage
  • Descent into South Willow Creek Drainage
  • Gore Range Trail
  • Gore Range Trail
  • Creek Crossing
  • Buffalo Mountain
  • Buffalo Mountain
  • Trail Junction
  • Giant Boulder
  • Trail Junction
  • Ditch

Day 1: Drop a car off at the Buffalo Cabin Trailhead in Silverthorne, then drive to the Gore Creek Trailhead in east Vail. From the trailhead, hike east on a narrow dirt path that parallels Gore Creek. The route climbs steadily as it travels through small meadows and fragrant forest. Less than 2 miles in, cross Deluge Creek on a narrow log footbridge and continue east. After 4.2 miles, hike past the graves of Andrew and Daniel Recen, who died in 1912 and 1917, and turn right. Cross Gore Creek on a log jam and continue another 0.7 mile to an expansive meadow rimmed by rugged peaks. Spend the night here.

Day 2: Climb 2.3 miles to the top of Red Buffalo Pass, a broad and grassy saddle with striking views of Buffalo Mountain and Red Peak. From here, descend grass-covered slopes into the South Willow Creek drainage. The trail skirts the northern slopes of Buffalo Mountain before leaving the South Willow Creek drainage at mile 10.6. The final 1.7 miles of the trip travel southeast; you'll cross a handful of creeks and encounter one last climb that ascends through open forest. The route ends at the Buffalo Cabin Trailhead; pick up your shuttle car and return to the Gore Creek Trailhead.

-Mapped by Kim Phillips

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