“This heart-pumping extravaganza of wildflowers & views is popular workout for hikers & runners”
— Megan W
Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This is the go-to trail for reaching the top of the Vail ski area under your own power during the non-snowy months. Berry Picker is more enjoyable than just plodding up or down the access roads, but much steeper.
Pick up this trail from the base of the Lionshead gondola after crossing the huge skier bridge over Gore Creek. The trail starts as an eroded doubletrack slog straight up the east side of the Bwana ski run (under the Born Free lift) before turning into the woods and taking a slightly less steep approach. Don't be discouraged by this initial tough and unaesthetic start!
The first third of this trail is rooty and rocky, but the stream crossings and abundant early season wildflowers make up for the challenging trail surface. The trail switchbacks steeply over numerous ski runs and through mature aspen forest. Beware at trail junctions with service roads and downhill bike runs- other users can be descending quickly.
The middle forested section of Berry Picker feels denuded by recent tree thinning operations but its sparseness is quickly forgotten as the views of the Gore Range improve with the climb. The upper portion of this trail becomes more sunny and exposed, utilizing service roads to gain the Eagles Nest Ridge and gondola-top area. Recent construction has caused rerouting of the last bit of Berry Picker so that during some seasons it overlaps the end of the Fireweed Trails.
Enjoy the incredible views at the top, and either take the same trail back down, or ride the gondola if it's running (it's free to ride down!).
Flora & Fauna
Keep an eye out for marmots on the rocks and stumps of the Bwana ski run. Using this trail spring, summer and fall will show you all the species of wildflower that Vail has to offer.