VAIL BACKCOUNTRY

LOCATION: Central Colorado
HIKE STARTS: Lionshead Gondola
HIKE ENDS: Lionshead Gondola
TOTAL DISTANCE: ~6 Miles
HIKE TYPE: One Way, Shuttle Hike
HIKE DIFFICULTY: Moderate
TRAILS USED: Ridge Route, Ptarmigan Loop, Cougar Ridge
TRAIL TRAFFIC: Light to Moderate
TRIP TYPE: Day or Overnight Hike

MORE INFORMATION:
White River National Forest
900 Grand Ave.
P.O. Box 948
Glenwood Springs CO 81602
970-945-2521

HIGHLIGHTS: The two and one-quarter million acre White River National Forest is located in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, approximately two to four hours west of Denver on Interstate 70. It consistently ranks as one of the top five forests nationwide for total recreation use, and it provides an excellent variety of recreation opportunities in all seasons. White River National Forest has eleven ski areas, eight designated wildernesses, several National Trails, and approximately 70 Forest Service administered sites. Popular recreation activities in the forest include downhill and cross-country skiing, camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, boating (including sailing and whitewater rafting), snowmobiling, bicycling, horseback riding and backpacking.

We decided to do an overnight backpacking trip near the Vail ski resort to explore the White River National Forest in Summit County. Vail has a a gondola that is open in the summer months and it’s much easier to access the higher elevations by catching a ride. We rode the gondola, then hiked a few miles into the Vail backcountry to set-up camp at 10,700 feet. The views from a large meadow near an exposed ridge were outstanding, especially at sunset.

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