Panorama from the Gore Lake Trail hike near Vail, Colorado
Panorama from the Gore Lake Trail hike near Vail, Colorado

Gore Lake Trail hike

Vail
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Views of the Gore Lake Trail Hike near Vail, ColoradoTrail before entering the pine coverage on the Gore Lake Trail Hike near Vail, ColoradoGore Lake Trail Hike in Vail is surrounded by beautiful panoramasNext to the creek on the Gore Lake Trail Hike near Vail, ColoradoLooking northeast on the Gore Lake Trail Hike near Vail, ColoradoCreek before the steep section on the Gore Lake Trail Hike near Vail, ColoradoMountain goats on the Gore Lake Trail Hike near Vail, ColoradoView of the valley on the Gore Lake Trail Hike near Vail, ColoradoTrail on the Gore Lake Hike near Vail, ColoradoPeaks from the Gore Lake Trail Hike near Vail, Colorado

Gore Lake Trail hike

Distance: 12.7mi
Elevation: 2,700ft
Time: 6-8h

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
9.8 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
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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 16 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

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

marysmith 2 years ago

Challenging hike with lots of beautiful scenery!

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
7h 15m Time Taken
London AP 2 years ago

Overall, this hike was really nice! A pretty challenging hike, but nothing so technical.

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BoulderBound 2 years ago

Gore lake was absolutely stunning and the entire trail up to the lake was spectacular.

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Lawrence Rossiter 3 years ago

Steep, long trail but very easy to follow the whole way. It's scenic enough to distract you from the huffing and puffing! You could do it as a backpack if the whole deal is too much.

lelandi 3 years ago

Fantastic hike that starts with a steep climb. Amazing views in the valley.

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Xyla O. 3 years ago

This hike is a lot more challenging than most of the hikes I've done so far. Forests and mountains surround you on the way up. The peaks surrounding the lake is the best alpine lake view I've ever seen.

10.0 Overall Rating
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Physical Difficulty
Brexit Smith 3 years ago

The hike is pretty moderate. The views along the path were diverse. Once you hit the turn marker it gets really steep.

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Maggie Q. 3 years ago

Great workout to the summit. Rewarding views with leg burning effects.

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Jeff Axe 3 years ago

Lol the mountain goats looks adorable. I was never fond of animals before but when I saw them climbing and jumping cliffs I was really amazed.

10.0 Overall Rating
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Sofia L. 3 years ago

A beautiful but challenging hike. Wonderful trip packed with amazing views of the lake. Highly recommended for experienced hikers.

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13 Comments Show all

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