Gore Lake Trail

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Very Hard
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
6-8h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
20.4 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
823 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
9.9
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Advanced (Diamond)
Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Panorama from the Gore Lake Trail hike near Vail, Colorado

Gore Lake Trail is a full-day hike to the beautiful, alpine lake. The trail winds through aspen groves, meadows, and pine stands in the beautiful Gore Creek drainage. There are some steep sections, but it’s all worth it. Things level out when you get to the lake where you may be greeted by mountain goats.

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Route Description

Gore Lake Trail starts to the right of the trail information board. 200 m into the trail you will encounter the trail’s first fork. Follow the signs right for Gore Lake/Creek Trail.

The trail steeply climbs for 0.8 km, passing a sign welcoming you to Eagle’s Nest Wilderness Area. Continue on the trail. You’ll gradually venture deeper into the valley. As you get into the valley you’ll pass aspen groves and encounter the creek for the first time.

For the next 2.2 km, the trail winds through the valley, periodically coming into contact with the creek while gradually gaining elevation.

3.0 km in, a fallen tree blocks the well-established trail. A small detour has been established that takes the trail up, left, and through a small talus field before re-connecting with the original trail.

The trail passes over the creek, on a log bridge, at 3.1 km. Then, the path winds through meadows, aspen groves, and pine stands for the next 3.8 km. You’ll get stunning views of the valley and the towering peaks.

After 6.9 km of hiking, you will encounter the second fork on the trail. The trail to Gore Lake passes the gravesite before steeply ascending the mountain on the left. This is a great opportunity for a snack/water break as the next 1.6 km of trail are very demanding.

The next 1.6 km of trail steeply ascends the valley side through spruce and fir forest. As the trail flattens, the alpine Gore Range will be visible and Willow Peak - at 4,072 m - greets you as you hike the final 1.5 km to the lake.

Enjoy the gorgeous Gore Lake, and maybe even the company of a family of mountain goats, before following same trail back through Gore Creek Drainage to reach the parking lot.

Insider Hints

  • Though the trail to the lake is very challenging, the trail for the first 6.9 km - as it follows Gore Creek - is family friendly and offers multiple opportunities for fishing and picnicking.
  • A family of mountain goats are known to inhabit the alpine tundra surrounding Gore Lake. Be mindful of the beautiful animals and keep a safe distance. Look into mountain goat etiquette for more information.
  • The gravesite is the resting place of Andrew and Dan Recen. The Swedish immigrants moved to Vail during the Colorado silver boom in 1876. They lived luxuriously until the 1893 silver crash. After the crash, the two settled in a cabin near the gravesite hunting and trapping to survive.
  • This trail is a wonderful overnight if looking to backpack.
  • Gore Creek Campground is located across the creek from the trailhead.

Getting There

From Vail, Take the I-70 E to exit 180 for East Vail. Take Bighorn Road east (right off the ramp) just over 3.5 km to the trailhead, which is located on the left side, just before Gore Creek campground.

Route Details

  • When to do

    Spring (if only hiking the valley)/Summer/Fall

  • Backcountry Campsites

    Yes, in Eagle's Nest Wilderness

  • Toilets

    No

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Elevation Graph

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