Hikers in the Vail area are advised to take a bus to the trails
New parking restrictions to address overcrowding and safety concerns will come into effect on June 2 at the trailheads of popular East Vail trails. With these restrictions in place, the Town of Vail and the White River National Forest encourage hikers to “take the bus to hike.”
The parking lot at the Booth Lake trailhead in Vail will be closed for the summer season. Parking at the Pitkin and Bighorn trailheads will be limited to three hours without overnight parking. Visitors to the Gore / Deluge Trail will see designated parking spots and no-parking zones to resolve conflicts between vehicles and cyclists on Vail Pass.
The bus is free
“We have an extensive free bus network in Vail, and hikers will be able to access all of these starting points by parking in one of our parking lots and catching a bus with a convenient service to East Vail every 30 minutes.” Vail City Manager Scott Robson said.
Information on parking lots and bus routes is available at http://www.HikeVail.net.
Use on previously traveled trails leading to Eagles Nest Wilderness has skyrocketed in 2020. Trailhead changes are part of a pilot program between the Town of Vail and White River National Forest to address issues of safety and the negative impacts of overcrowding at the trailhead in the surrounding area. area and the Eagles Nest Wilderness.
“These trailhead parking changes will help us tackle illegal or improper parking, difficult access for emergency vehicles in the area, as well as speeding and heavy congestion along Booth Creek Road and from those other starting points, ”said Vail Police Chief Dwight Henninger. Traffic and parking violations will be strictly enforced, Henninger added. Increased penalties have been authorized for illegal parking in the residential area surrounding the Booth Lake trailhead. Regulatory signs have been installed in the neighborhood to identify additional areas where parking is prohibited.
“We are seeing significant overcrowding issues on these trails in the Eagle Nest Wilderness area, resulting in trail erosion and a buildup of litter, dog litter and human litter,” the district ranger said. of Eagle-Holy Cross, Leanne Veldhuis. “Use of the Booth Lake trail alone has increased from 30,637 users in 2019 to 50,560 users in 2020.”
Trail crews will be working throughout the summer to restore braided trails and improve drainage on all trails in East Vail.
Other trails available
There are many other beautiful hikes in the Vail area which are detailed at HikeVail.net. Vail Visitor Center and Alliance Eagle Summit Wilderness Trail Volunteers will be on the trails during busy days to answer questions, help with no-trace education, and remind trail users of the importance of keep dogs on a leash.
The Town of Vail, Eagle County and other towns are providing additional funding this summer to expand the Front Country Ranger Program, which provides essential patrols and education to people using the East Vail trails.
“Hikers in the wilderness of Eagles Nest – and any trail for that matter – can really help us by staying on the trail, without shortening switchbacks or walking through mud and drainage structures, this which causes braiding and erosion, ”said Veldhuis. “And, of course, by wrapping up the garbage and waste.”
Hikers with dogs are encouraged to find a trail where nearby parking is accessible, as only assistance dogs are allowed on city buses. Backpackers will be directed to free overnight parking at the Red Sandstone Garage where vehicles are permitted for up to 72 hours. Paid overnight parking is available at Vail Village and Lionshead garages. For details, visit or call Vail Visitor Centers, 970-477-3522.