Vail Colorado National Forest road trip: Summer – Fall hiking trails wildflowers

By Lindsay Godfree,

One of the rewards of road trip travel is the ability to stop, explore, see the sights, and discover new places. A stop along Interstate Highway 70 between Frisco and Vail Colorado unveils the Gore Range and Wheeler trailheads leading into the White River National Forest. A quick walk reveals hidden beauty of scenic views, colorful wildflowers and blue mountain lake reflections.

Wheeler Trail goes to the top of the pass and is part of both the Wheeler National Recreational Trail and the Colorado Trail. It climbs steadily through spruce-fir and lodge-pole pine forest for spectacular views of the Gore Range, Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, French Gulch, and the Front Range.

The Gore Range Trail is an easy, but long, 16 mile trail that runs the north-south length of the Dillon Ranger District portion of the Eagles Nest Wilderness and finishes in the Spring Creek area north of Green Mountain Reservoir. Hikers appreciate the mountain lakes and scenic vistas found on this trek.

According to the Forest Service, White River National Forest is the most visited recreation forest in the country.  This forest is a world-renowned recreation destination with more than 10 million visitors per year.

With National Forest that spans 2.3 million acres, and includes 8 Wilderness areas, 12 ski resorts, 4 major reservoirs, 10 peaks higher than 14,000 feet in elevation and 2,500 miles of trails. It is easy to see why it is so popular.