This is by no means and exhaustive list but we will keep adding as we go. Over the years, we’ve done quite a bit of hiking in and around Vail, Colorado. Here is a list of some of our faves. Trail ratings provided by All Trails (with which I agree).
Booth Falls. (Moderate). This is an extremely popular and heavily trafficked trail. From Vail Village you can catch the free shuttle to East Vail and get off at the Booth Falls stop. Parking is limited in the trailhead lot. You can park in the Vail Mountain School parking lot, but not always, so if you can shuttle it, it may be your best bet. The trailhead is up the road behind the school and quickly climbs up to high alpine meadow and alongside Booth Creek. The falls are about 2 miles up and you can keep going another three miles for an even more aggressive climb to Booth Lake.
Gore Creek / Lake Trail. (Hard to the lake, moderate to hard to the graves). At the foot of the bike path heading up to Vail Pass, this trail hugs the Gore Creek up into the Eagle’s Nest wilderness. After the initial ascent it’s relatively flat as you wind parallel to the creek through meadows and forest. About 4 miles up you arrive at a gravesite of Swedish immigrants, pioneers and boom then busted miners, the Recen brothers and from there you can choose to climb (all up) to Gore Lake, continue straight on further or turn around. A great day trip but plan for several hours, particularly if you go to the lake.
Deluge Lake. (Hard). From the same trailhead as the Gore Creek Trail, hang a left where Gore Creek goes straight and climb up this steeper path through aspen groves and forest and across rock falls to reach magnificent high altitude meadows and keep going to reach Deluge Lake in a majestic alpine basin. Long and difficult and high up but if you’re lucky you’ll be joined by mountain goats when you reach your destination. In mid-summer you’ll probably find both wildflowers and relatively deep snow banks at the top with stunning views of the valley beyond.
Grouse Lake Trail. (Hard, but slightly easier than some of the previous hard trails). Just west of Vail proper off of highway 24 just before you reach the cool mountain town of Minturn, you’ll find the trailhead to Grouse Lake. This less traveled trail (at least on a cool early September day after an unusually early snow) climbs alongside and across the Grouse Creek through aspen groves, forest and high alpine meadows many filled with wild raspberries. It’s nine miles round trip and is mostly a gradual climb with some steeper spots and the payoff view of Grouse Mountain behind Grouse Lake makes the climb worthwhile.
Upper Piney Falls. (Moderate). From Red Sandstone Road in West Vail follow the long Piney Lake dirt road to Piney Lake Ranch where there’s ample parking. This trail runs alongside Piney Lake, through meadows and then climbs a ridge up to the falls. The easiest on this list, it’s very popular in the summer months but the dirt road approach makes it a little harder to get to and keeps some visitors away.
Love the prairie dog pic.