Panorama from the Gore Lake Trail hike near Vail, Colorado

Gore Lake Trail hike

View Photos
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: 20.4km
Elevation: 823m
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 3.5km to the trailhead, which is located on the left side, just before Gore Creek campground.

I’ve done this 6 people have done this
I want to do this 7 want to do this route


When to do

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

Backcountry Campsites

Yes, in Eagle's Nest Wilderness



Family friendly


Route Signage


Crowd Levels


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. 200m 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 0.8km, 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 2.2km, the trail winds through the valley, periodically coming into contact with the creek while gradually gaining elevation.

3.0km 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 3.1km. Then, the path winds through meadows, aspen groves, and pine stands for the next 3.8km. You’ll get stunning views of the valley and the towering peaks.

After 6.9km 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 1.6km of trail are very demanding.

The next 1.6km 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 4072m – greets you as you hike the final 1.5km 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 6.9km - 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.


Lisa B 1 year ago

Gore lake is a fantastic hike!

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
Tim Charlton 1 year 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. 1 year 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

Similar hikes to the Gore Lake Trail hike

Trail of the Berrypicker Trail hike in Vail, Colorado

Berrypicker Trail


Berrypicker Trail hikes up Vail Mountain to Eagle’s Nest from Lionshead Village. The trail steeply winds through meadows of wildflowers…

Scenery from the Bighorn Creek Trail hike in Vail, Colorado

Bighorn Creek Trail


Bighorn Creek Trail is a diverse hike that takes you through a variety of trees, and meadows of wildflowers. There…

Pitkin Lake Trail hike near Vail, Colorado

Pitkin Lake Trail


Pitkin Lake Trail makes for an adventure-filled day hike. The gorgeous trail starts off steep, but it quickly (after roughly…