Vail Traverse

Location: Western Colorado
Trip Starts: Lionshead Gondola
Trip Ends: Mid-Vail Gondola
Total Distance: 5.1 miles
Hike Type: One-Way, Shuttle Hike
Hike Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Trails Used: Ridge Route, Sunlight, Northeast Rim Trail
Trail Traffic: Light to Moderate
Trip Type: Day Hike
More Information:

White River National Forest
900 Grand Ave.
P.O. Box 948
Glenwood Springs CO 81602


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.

This hike in the White River National Forest is within the boundaries of the Vail Ski Resort and leverages Gondola One and Eagle Bahn to do a traverse of the ridgeline between the top of the two gondolas. We started our hike climbing nearly 700 feet to the Wildwood area at 10,981 feet. Then we hiked along the ridge line using the Sunlight Trail which has outstanding views of Vail’s legendary back bowls.

After a lunch break at the top of the #4 chair we eventually found the Northeast Rim Trail and dropped 1000 feet down to Mid-Vail and to the top of Gondola One where we had lunch and enjoyed watching the all the summer activity. Mid-Vail is typically open in the summer months and offers food and drinks with access to picnic tables and restrooms. It is a great place to relax after the mountain traverse. If you prefer hiking more downhill than uphill, it is recommended that you start with the Eagle Bahn gondola which starts the hike higher on the mountain for the Vail Traverse.

GPS Coordinates:

Speak Your Mind