Upper Piney Falls rushes down deep canyon walls 3 miles from Piney Lake on an easy yet rugged trail for anyone looking for a Colorado wilderness experience.

Located at Piney River Ranch, a mountain retreat along the shores of Piney Lake nestled at the foot of the majestic Gore Range. 


Trail Stats and Map Located at the Bottom

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Piney River Ranch was a surprise. Tucked away on 40 private acres, it’s quiet and classic Colorado. Small cabins line the shores of Piney Lake, and canoes and paddleboards are docked, ready for adventure. Not expecting a retreat, this was a charming setting to start our hike to Piney Falls.

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Hiking directly into the Gore Range, the views welcome us to continue with curious anticipation of what lies ahead. 

Six Moon Design Super Light Weight Hiking Umbrella – my favorite addition to my backpack!

Sawyer Insect Repellent Spray – This one works for us!

Roc Inflatable Stand-Up Paddle Boards – This is my favorite after a day of hiking. Easy to inflate.

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Enormous Aspen trees and meadows of late summer wildflowers surround us for several miles, and it’s tranquil and beautiful. 


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Nearing the Gore Range, our trek gets rocky, with several water crossings and pine forests. Then, on a short, steep downhill, we hear the sounds of water — a more adventurous ending and fun. 

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It took us a while to find the best part. The waterfall is hidden in deep canyons with cliff edges to peer down. It is the middle of August and appears calm, but you can imagine it was spectacular earlier in summer, during snowmelt. The setting is stunning!

Three popular brands of day hiking backpacks to consider: > Osprey (my personal favorite), > Deuter, and > Gregory backpacks.

There are many areas where water is flowing downstream to explore before heading back.

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Piney River Ranch is alive with activity upon our return. A magical

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Upper Piney Falls via Piney River Trail

Trail #1885

6 miles out & back

Rated: slightly moderate

Nearest town: Vail, CO

> White River National Forest

Eagles Nest Wilderness

Located at > Piney River Ranch


Can't wait to see you on the trail!

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