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Upper Piney River Trail

 4.3 (11)

Length


6.1 Miles 9.8 Kilometers


845' 258 m

Ascent

-846' -258 m

Descent

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

46%

Max Grade (25°)

9,906' 3,019 m

High

9,362' 2,853 m

Low

Shared By Megan W

Conditions


All Clear 51 days ago
Dry History

Getting forecast...

A superbly scenic and relatively easy alpine hike near a lake and river.

Megan W

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers

Overview

This remote spot requires a long drive on a bumpy road, but the views are well worth the effort. Lots of other people think so too- be prepared to share this alpine paradise with others especially on high season weekends.

Need to Know

Be sure to park in the public lot just before the Piney Lake Ranch. The first lot you reach is open to the public, but leave the private parking lot for paying customers. You are welcome to have lunch, drink, or an ice cream at their cafe! You can even rent a canoe if so inclined...

Description

Starting across the road (to the north) from the public parking area near Piney Lake Lodge, hike eastwards towards Piney Lake. Take in the massive Gore mountain range spread out before you. The trail passes through grassy meadows on the north side of the lake and follows along the broad river valley. Piney River cuts a sinuous path through shrubs and turf that turn brilliant colors in the fall. The path is smooth and ascends gently at first.

After entering the first of the small aspen groves, the incline steepens as the trail begins to climb the base of the hillside. Negotiate a few switchbacks and use log planks to cross burbling streams. Enjoy good views across the valley at the craggy rock faces. Enter a few stretches of deep shady evergreen forest and then pop out for good views of the rugged Gore Range.

Eventually, you'll reach the cataracts, or cascades that rush between a narrow rock chasm. The sunny smooth rocks near here make a great picnic spot. Most people make this their turn-around point, but you can keep hiking along Piney River to Upper Piney Lake, or over West Booth Pass and connect with the Booth Creek Trail. The trail gets much rougher and more difficult beyond the cascade.

Flora & Fauna

Aspens, wildflowers

Contacts

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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Sep 24, 2018
Nick Wilder
Sep 17, 2018
Jordan Hergert
Aug 4, 2018
Markus T
6.1mi
Aug 1, 2018
Frank Trotter
Jul 26, 2018
John Saldaña
Jul 21, 2018
Mike J
The smoke from the Lake Christine Fire is off the charts. If you’re planning to do this one this season. I would recommend rethinking this one.
Jun 28, 2018
Paul English
Great conditions and not busy. Beautiful week day hike. 7.9mi
Jun 25, 2018
Wyatt DeLong
6.1mi

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 11 votes

#4

in Vail

#1031

Overall
  4.3 from 11 votes
5 Star
55%
4 Star
27%
3 Star
9%
2 Star
9%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#4

in Vail

#192

in Colorado

#1,031

Overall
277 Views Last Month
10,026 Since Sep 20, 2015
Intermediate Intermediate

0%
36%
45%
18%
0%
0%

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