Shrine Ridge Trail

Vail
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Shrine Ridge Trail

Distance: 5.5km
Elevation: 206m
Time: 1.5-2h

Difficulty Rating:

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Shrine Ridge Trail gradually hikes through lush pine meadows, passing two small ponds, to Shrine Ridge. The Shrine Ridge leads to the top of Shrine Mountain (elevation 3580m). You’ll get incredible views, considering it’s such a short hike.

Getting there

From Vail Village, take the I-70 E to Exit 190. Turn right and follow the signs directly ahead for Shrine Pass Road (Forest Service Road 709). Follow for 3.6km to a parking lot on the left. The trailhead is left of the metal fence at the end of the gravel driveway.

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About

When to do

Summer/Fall

Backcountry Campsites

Yes, on Shrine Pass Rd going to trailhead

Toilets

Yes, at the trailhead

Family friendly

Yes

Route Signage

None

Crowd Levels

High

Route Type

Out and back


Elevation


Detailed Description

Follow the gravel driveway leading towards Shrine Mountain Inn and the pine forest surrounding it. The trail begins to the left—before you get deep into the woods. Immediately, sweeping views of the meadows/valley below spill out before you.

Follow the trail slightly downhill for 0.7km until you reach the two ponds. From here, the trail slowly heads up to the right, towards the ridge, gaining elevation.

The trail winds through tranquil pine meadows and past small creeks. You’ll get incredible views of the surrounding backcountry. During wildflower season, the meadows along Shrine Ridge are a delightful sea of colors.

2.1km in, the trail turns into an open field with the ridge standing tall on your left. Continue along the trail as you walk parallel to the ridge. Eventually, you’ll start along a gentle path that climbs to the top of Shrine Ridge.

Shrine Mountain is the peak directly to your right (if facing south/the Sawatch Range). The trail traverses the ridge offering beautiful views of the surrounding ranges/peaks.

Once you’re done exploring the ridge, follow the trail back through the pine meadows you walked up through to finish your hike!

Insider Hints

  • Shrine Mountain was named for its stunning view of the Mt. of the Holy Cross.

  • Originally, the pass was used by Ute Indians, but later became a popular route for silver miners.

  • A highly recommended campsite is roughly 1.0km from the trailhead on the right-hand side of the road. Go to sleep and wake up with stunning views of the Gore Range.

Comments

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ddiana2 weeks ago

we had a great family walk there on our getaway from the city

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