Booth Lake Trail was strenuous, exhilarating, and left us speechless when reaching tree line. Beautiful from beginning to end with the added bonus of popular 60′ Booth Falls!

 

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FIRST LETS TALK ABOUT PARKING

Booth Lake Trail parking is combined with Booth Falls Trail which is one of Vail, CO’s most popular hikes. One side of the parking lot says a minimum of 3 hours and the other side is all-day parking. Very few spaces, to begin with, make it a challenge to get a spot. Come early! We arrived at 7:30 am on a Wed and found it not crowded yet.

 

 

THE BEGINNING OF BOOTH LAKE TRAIL

Starting off in a lush, green forest captured my heart as we hiked up a steady climb into more foliage, wildflowers and aspen groves.

 

 

 

Very fairy tale like, with unusual rock formations along the trail, hiking into open meadows then into dark forests was captivating.

 

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ARRIVE AT 60′ BOOTH FALLS

After about 2 miles we came upon 60′ Booth Falls. One word, WOW. I can see why this is one of Colorado’s most popular destinations. We took a moment to dwell and gasp at the enormous beauty surrounding us. Most hikers stop here and head back down.

 

 

ON OUR WAY TO BOOTH LAKE

We continued on to Booth Lake, finding ourselves mostly alone and the trail getting significantly steeper. I’ve now added my bear bell to my pack just in case, even though we didn’t encounter any threatening wildlife.

 

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Looking ahead at the peaks of the Gore Mountain Range kept us motivated! Somewhere up there at the base of the Peaks lies Booth Lake.

 

 

 

 

Occasionally crossing a gentle meadow only to be hiking uphill once again. I’m starting to hear marmots letting other marmots know we are here but haven’t caught sight of one yet.

 

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Snow is starting to appear and mini waterfalls are cascading down the mountainside and in and out of rocks. The surrounding terrain and views are breathtaking.

Stopping for a snack and to catch our breath, we enjoyed watching marmots scamper about everywhere. That was a treat.

 

 

 

 

Snow is now starting to cover parts of the trail, but are manageable without extra gear. The temptation to see the lake is so strong now, thinking we are getting close, but each ridge top leads to another ridge top and another ridge top as we hike on…

 


 

If your hands get cold easy like mine do even in summer! Try these hand warmers. I use them all the time especially when starting a hike early in the morning when it’s the coldest. Great for winter hikes too.

 

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Until finally, we are hiking the last stretch!  Making our way up a steep climb that twisted and turned through the rocks still covered with snow and after all that … we are here, at treeline, 11,434′. It’s chilly, the wind is suddenly blustery and cold.

A trail to be prepared for with all the recommended hiking essentials

 

 

ARRIVE FROZEN BOOTH LAKE

My legs are burning, my heart is pumping until I look over the rocks and see Booth Lake. Frozen, yet glorious in its beauty and solitude. No one about except marmots and us.

Spent a lot of time here taking it all in after 3.2 miles from Booth Falls of kick-butt hiking. The rewards were worth every step. Tucked away in some of Colorado’s less tamed, rugged wilderness lies another wonder.

 


 

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HEADING DOWN

Honestly, the hike down was just as amazing if not better than hiking up.

MORE TRAILS YOU MIGHT ENJOY

Ptarmigan Lake Trail, Pristine! – Cottonwood Pass

Blue Lakes Trail, Beyond Expectations! – San Juan Mountains

Beautiful Kroenke Lake Trail – Collegiate Peak Wilderness

 

 

We are looking so far down the valley and above Vail Resort to the Peaks of the Holy Cross Range, it’s spellbinding.

 

BOOTH LAKE TRAIL IS ONE FOR THE BUCKET LIST

I highly recommend this hike if you are ready for a more challenging trail and are acclimated to the altitude. If you feel altitude symptoms please stop and hike back down. It’s a 3,051′ elevation gain from the trailhead to the Lake.

We found the trail well maintained and easy to follow with no scrambling just up and up and up. A moderate hiker CAN do this trail.

LOCATED: East Vail, CO – Traveling West: Exit 180 off of I-70. Follow the frontage road and turn right at Booth Falls Road which takes you to the trailhead. Traveling east: from Vail on I-70, Exit 180 for East Vail. Turn left, pass under the interstate and turn left onto the frontage road. Turn right at Booth Falls Road, continue up this road to the parking area at the end of the road.

TIDBITS

10 mile out and back

Rated: difficult

Trail # 2011

Elevation gain: 3,053 feet

Open to hiking, horseback, dogs on leash

Not open to mountain bikes

Popular for trout fishing in late summer – Colorado Fishing License

Parking: limited – another option: East Vail Free Shuttle

White River National Forest

Eagle – Holy Cross Ranger District – Camping Information 

Eagles Nest Wilderness

 


Note: Many of the links are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission (at no added cost to you).