EMBARK ON A TREK OUT THE BACK DOOR OF Gravity Haus Vail
The snow is melting and the trails and wildflowers are emerging, transitioning us from ski-in ski-out season into hike-out-the-back-door season. Gravity Haus Vail is prime for summer adventures, with a sweet address in the heart of the village. Enjoy these Vail Mountain hikes and slip out the door and onto the trail with brilliant ease.
Distance: 2.1 miles (round trip)
Parents with little ones will appreciate this super scenic mellow hike. Fireweed is situated between Gondola One and the Eagle Bahn Gondola, flowing gradually into shaded tree stands and opening up to expansive views of the ski resort and the valley below. Begin from the top of the Eagle Bahn and head east for a slightly easier downhill route. Cruise through the woods and dip into meadows on the low-intensity stroll — Upper Fireweed (1 mile) and Lower Fireweed (1.1 miles) combine to create the laid-back loop. Kids love the interpretive signs explaining flora and fauna along the way. Grown-ups love the postcard-perfect photo opps.
Distance: 2.6 miles (round trip)
A little higher on the front side of Vail Mountain, you’ll find lollipop-shaped Meadows Loop. Access it from Gondola One, traveling from Vail Village to Mid-Vail. The trail starts right next to the gondola station and climbs uphill to the west. Your sweaty switchbacked elevation gain is rewarded with spectacular meadows drenched in wildflowers and breathtaking Gore Range vistas. Duck in and out of shady forested sections, following the path along the hillside and pausing to take in all the summer beauty and the occasional marmot poking its head out to say hello.
Distance: 3.2 miles (one way)
Hop on popular Berrypicker from the Lionshead base area next to the Eagle Bahn Gondola. Look to the right of the gondola for a bridge and head uphill. The 2,200 feet of serious elevation gain is worth every heart-thumping step, delivering stunning views of the village and distant peaks. Nod to passing hikers and mountain bikers and relish in the chilled out section of trail ascending into a shady aspen glen. Berrypicker opens back up into meadows that sing with a rainbow of thriving flowers, hitting every color in the crayon box. When you reach the top, ride the Eagle Bahn Gondola down or descend by foot for a nearly seven-mile bragging rights journey.
Distance: 2.8 miles (one way)
At the top of Vail Mountain, high-flying aptly named Ridge Route connects Eagle’s Nest to Wildwood. Find it at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola and start heading uphill. The trail is literally breathtaking, beginning at 10,350 feet and meandering across the top of the resort eventually connecting with Ptarmigan Loop. Stop to take in the majestic Mount of the Holy Cross in the distance and head into open meadows and thick pine stands before heading back down and riding the gondola to Lionshead base area for a well-earned patio drink.
Distance: 4.2 miles (round trip)
This one is a little farther from your village home base and will require driving (or busing) to a trailhead. But it’s a Vail classic and a summer must. Booth Falls has a little bit of everything — aspen stands, a moderate climb, views of the valley and Gore Range and a cascading waterfall at the end. Take the time to soak in the scenery as you gain more than 1,300 feet in elevation and go deeper into the wilderness. Local tip: Take the East Vail shuttle from the Vail Transportation Center to the Booth Falls stop, which will place you at about a quarter mile from the trailhead.
Don’t forget to purchase your gondola ticket before riding the Eagle Bahn or Gondola One. For trailhead details, consult this Vail Mountain summer trails map.