My wife’s brother and his girlfriend, joined us for an eventful weekend in Vail, Colorado during late July of 2021. We began our car ride from Denver, stopping for lunch at Pug Ryan’s Tiki Bar on Dillon Reservoir in Silverthorne. We then made our way to Lily Pad Lake Trailhead for an easy two mile out and back hike. Parking at the trailhead was crowded and we patiently waited 10 minutes for a parking space to open. There weren’t any bathrooms available on this trail. As soon as you begin your hike from the parking lot, you walk a steep, 50 yard paved incline to your first reward. A beautiful view of Dillon Reservoir and the town of Frisco.
After that, it’s a meandering, wooded trail to the Lily Pad lakes. This is a family and dog friendly trail. While we basked in the warm sun along the rim of the lake, golden retrievers swam in the comfortable water and ducks scooted around the shallows, weaving in and out of the lily pads.
Hopping back in the car, we continued our journey to Vail. After checking in at the Airbnb, we caught the free bus shuttle to dinner. To check bus schedules, go to vailgov.com. (Side note, we really recommend taking the bus because the parking garage in Vail costs $60 for a three hour stay. You can try a ride share app but there weren’t many available.) We had a euphoria palate experience at Alpenrose. This authentic German-Austrian restaurant rests close to the adorable village center of Vail. The hearty fare is exactly what one craves after a day of adventure in this upscale alpine town.
The next morning, leaving Sim’s Market, we hiked the scenic windy flat Gore Valley Trail to Booth Falls Trailhead. Parking isn’t allowed at Booth Falls trailhead, however there is a bus stop near Vail Mountain School that will drop you off less than a quarter mile from the trailhead.
Hiking to Booth Falls is a moderate 2.1 mile hike one way. We recommend bringing at least 32 ounces of water per person per hour of any hike. This rule of thumb will keep you hydrated and safe during your hikes. Amazon has several affordable options (Affiliate Link) This is a backpack that holds water accessible from a tube you can drink without having to stop to unpack a water bottle. This also frees your hands to catch yourself if you begin to fall or use walking sticks to navigate difficult terrain. We use Cascade Mountain Tech Trekking Poles. (Affiliate Link) The lightweight aluminum poles collapse down for easy storage and come with interchangeable feet depending on the terrain you’re hiking.
At the end of the trail, you’ll arrive at the waterfalls. This is a great opportunity to break for lunch or a snack and take in the beautiful valley trail you just conquered. Along the route you’ll walk in and out of stands of young trees and through meadows filled with blooming wildflowers. This is one of Vail’s most popular trails and is dog friendly.
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