Booth Lake Hiking Trail near Vail, Colorado
Updated: Nov 21, 2021
Booth Lake Hiking Trail is an approximately 9 mile out-and-back trail located on the edge of Vail, Colorado. This trail is rated hard but since we wanted to spend the rest of the day after hiking in Vail, we didn't have alot of options. Vail is located in a valley with steep climbs all around. Almost all serene trails are very vertical, including this one.
Parking was very easy to find and is located within a neighborhood. There are very few spots, so during peak tourism you may have to park in town and take the shuttle bus to the nearest stop, which isn't very far and a great option. However, during our time here in October, there was plenty of parking, with only one other car in the parking lot when we arrived.
The trail immediately begins with steep climbs that zig zag back and forth along with fairly sharp edges on one side. I do not recommend hiking this trail with young children or dogs - although from the tracks we saw, some people do bring their dogs, just make sure you are in control of them.
During the steep climb there are short portions that flatten out to give you a chance to catch your breath - especially since we are not used to the altitude, we took it very slow and rested along the way so that we could alleviate the struggle to breathe.
The views of surrounding areas as you move up the trail are spectacular. The trail starts under tree canopy, then moves to a more open terrain. Some points are rocky, so you need to watch your footing. During this time of year, the further you climb, the colder it gets and the more snow and ice we encountered. The ice made some portions of the trail tricky, as it made it slippery and difficult to get a footing at times.
As you continue on the trail, you pass through forests of evergreen and aspen trees. The surroundings were just breathtaking. And the fresh air smelled so good. We did not see any wildlife - but we did see a few tracks.
Ultimately, we only made it halfway up the trail. We never made it to the final destination lake and waterfall. It becomes too complicated to get up a vertical incline of ice without spikes, plus it was becoming more difficult to breathe the further we went.
So we headed back down the trail and into the town of Vail to spend the rest of our day! And while we didn't do the entire hike, we did hike approximately 1.5-2 hours in total and it felt so good to be surrounded by mountains and nature right away in the morning.