An epic dayhike or a relaxing overnight, this 12.4-mile out-and-back starts just east of Vail and ends at a spectacular alpine lake below the jagged peaks of the Gore Range. Start at the Gore Creek Trail trailhead and follow the creek east. Elevation increases quickly as the trail switchbacks up rocky steps and winds through open forests, occasionally skirting the edge of the creek and landing at an overlook above it just past mile 1.
At mile 4.3, turn left at a 3-way junction for a 1.8-mile climb. Lined at first by dense stands of fir and pine, the trail opens into alpine meadows as it flattens near an altitude of 10,700 feet. Look east and south during meadow stretches for cross-canyon views of Chief and Buffalo mountains before the trail turns west for the final approach to the lake. After a quick 0.5-mile loop around the water, turn back toward the trailhead, or opt to set up camp in one of the established sites below the lake’s east side.
-Mapped by Kristy Holland and MacKenzie Ryan
>> Download a map of the route at the White River National Forest website.
>> Order the USGS topo quads listed above at store.usgs.gov.
>> Order a custom map of this route by selecting the “Print MyTopo” option in the left-hand menu bar.
CONDITIONS: Check weather at Vail, CO (81657) Weather
INFO: For more information on the Gore Creek Trail, go to White River National Forest website.
Acorn Food Store/ConocoPhillips
171 Blue River Dr.
701 East Anemone Trail
2131 North Frontage Road West
Vendetta’s Italian Restaurant
291 Bridge St.
Vail, CO 81658
352 East Meadow Dr.
Vail, CO 81657