Gore Lake Trail hike

Vail
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Gore Lake Trail hike

Distance: 12.4mi
Elevation: 2,700ft
Time: 6-8h

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
9.7 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty

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.

Gore Lake Trail hike Map

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 2.2mi to the trailhead, which is located on the left side, just before Gore Creek campground.

I’ve done this 6 people have done this
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About

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


Gore Lake Trail
Elevation Graph


Route Description for Gore Lake Trail hike

Gore Lake Trail starts to the right of the trail information board. 656ft 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 0.5mi, 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 1.4mi, the trail winds through the valley, periodically coming into contact with the creek while gradually gaining elevation.

1.9mi 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 1.9mi. Then, the path winds through meadows, aspen groves, and pine stands for the next 2.4mi. You’ll get stunning views of the valley and the towering peaks.

After 4.3mi 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 1.0mi of trail are very demanding.

The next 1.0mi 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 13360ft – greets you as you hike the final 0.9mi 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 4.3mi - 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.

Comments

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Lisa B 2 months ago

Gore lake is a fantastic hike!

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Tim Charlton 2 months ago

Good strenuous hike. Gore Lake makes you work for the views but it's a good deal. You get to see some spectacular sightings along the way.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
8h 15m Time Taken
Ramiro G. 2 months ago

We've decided to take this hike only because the trailhead was next to our campsite and other hikers kept on bragging doing this hike so we've decided to give it a shot. And boy it was amazing. Our teenage kids were complaining almost all the time about how tired they were but my wife and I were fine so we've finished the hike. Some parts were steep and it was a really hard hike but it ended up being the highlight of our trip to Vail. Kids are still salty though

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
8h 00m Time Taken
3 Comments

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