Moderate Hiking Trails Information | Town of Vail

Upper Piney River Trail

Town of Vail Hiking Information for Upper Piney River Trail

Upper Piney River Trail

Length: 3.0 miles (one way)  Difficulty: Moderate

From the trailhead, it is a gradual climb for about 3 miles to a cascading waterfall which makes a good destination for the average hiker. Views of the Gore Range abound. Where the trail switchbacks, please stay on the trail and do not cut the switchbacks.

To avoid trampling sensitive vegetation and to prevent soil erosion, please stay on the trail at all times. Dogs are permitted, but must be kept on a leash in order to protect wildlife and the hiking experience of other trail users. This trail enters the Eagles Nest Wilderness – regulations are posted at the trailhead.


 Crowds: Very high.


 Access: From I-70, take Exit 176 for Vail. Take the North Frontage Road west to Red Sandstone Road. Turn north here and follow the paved road about 0.7 miles to a fork with a dirt road on the left. There should be a Forest Service sign indicating this is Red Sandstone Road #700 (Reset your odometer here). Continue up this road about 2.7 miles to an intersection with the Lost Lake Road (#786) and continue left. At mile 6.5 you will pass Red and White Mtn Road-FSR 734. At mile 6.7 you will pass the Lost Lake Trail parking lot on the right and then reach an intersection where the Muddy Pass/Moniger Road goes left. Stay right here. (Some maps show the Red Sandstone Road changing number from FSR 700 to FSR 701 at this point, and some don’t, but regardless, you stay right to get to Piney Lake and the Upper Piney River Trail). At mile 9.1, you will cross the Piney River and see a trailhead for Lower Piney River Trail - FDT 1885 on the left. Stay right and reach a Forest Service parking lot on the right at mile 10.65 before the entrance to Piney River Ranch (private property). The trailhead is on the north side (left side of the parking lot as one faces the Piney River Ranch entrance) of the parking lot. If visiting the ranch, you can drive further to their parking lot. Parking is very limited at this trailhead.

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