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Old 07-08-2012, 10:40 PM
320 posts, read 847,119 times
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My parents are coming out in a couple of weeks to help me move and for a visit. I currently live in the Vail Valley area and we'll be here for about two days before going down to Denver. I was planning on taking them on the Hanging Lake hike, but my dad has recently had back problems and doesn't think he could do anything that strenuous. I know that's kind of funny because that is considered an "easy" hike, but trust me, for people living at sea level who are not used to walking up mountains, it isn't! Is there anything within an hour or so of the valley area that would be easier but have some okay views? They're not used to mountains at all obviously so they'd probably be impressed with anything view-wise, but I'm having trouble finding something that's not as steep. Does such a hike exist in this area?

I'm not big on hiking myself, so that's why I don't know even though I live here, haha. I only know of hanging lake because some friends took me when I first moved here.
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Old 07-09-2012, 02:55 PM
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Rather than traveling to a destination hike area which may be too physically demanding on your dad ... placing your expectations on a "mountain hike" in the Rocks which are strenuous for those not acclimated to the altitude ....

how about just enjoying the local attractions of Vail itself?

head over to the Betty Ford Gardens and you can enjoy the alpine garden efforts, with lots of little spots to settle in and take in the views ...

or, start in town and walk along the path to West Vail or East Vail. There's lots of secluded little areas where one can enjoy the creek and still take in views of the hills and peaks surrounding the area.

Alternatively, how about heading to the top of Vail pass and taking a modest hike from the lot there?
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:32 AM
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Head out to Piney Lake north of Vail.

Home - Piney River Ranch

When you see pictures of the lake, the trail runs along the left side and is reasonably flat. You can make out the trail faintly in the photos on their website.

The Upper Piney trail begins at Piney Lake at the end of Red Sandstone Road #700 outside of the Piney River Ranch entrance and ends at Upper Piney Lake. Begin your journey outside of the ranch (where public parking is available), pass picturesque Piney Lake and gently climb through open meadow before entering forest and reaching a cascading waterfall about three miles in. The average hiker will have no problem reaching the waterfall destination in about 45 minutes; however, the trail becomes less distinct and more difficult after the falls, becoming steeper as it approaches Upper Piney Lake.

I used to walk it while waiting for wedding parties and it's about as easy as it comes and picturesque as well. If you don't make the whole 3 miles you can just turn around when tired and you'll still get plenty of scenery.
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