Vail is one of my favorite Colorado mountain towns. Although it’s been a few years, we come here often. Usually for spring break. The last time we visited on our wedding anniversary (August 1st) was in 2007 for our twentieth. We typically stay here at the Vail Cascade in West Vail. Summer traffic was heavy and the drive up took nearly twice as long as normal. Since we arrived late, we dined in the hotel restaurant – Atwater. Super nice eatery though. I had one of the best steak dinners ever for a restaurant. I’m fairly critical on sirloin because usually I cook a better steak at home. Not this time. We sleep with the balcony door open to hear the rushing creek.
We start Saturday morning off with an aggressive 6.6 mile hike to Lost Lake. I know about this trail from the Concierge who not only has trail maps, she has hiked the trails. We access the trailhead off the North Frontage Road at Red Sandstone Road #700. This road begins paved through a neighborhood of switchbacks for 1.7 miles. It then turns to dirt but is easy to navigate with a low-profile, two-wheel drive car. We follow the dirt road for 2.7 miles to a Y intersection and steer left, following the #700 sign. The trailhead is another 3.9 miles up this road. Very well marked and easy to find.
The mountain meadow flowers are in full bloom. We see Mountain Harebell, Aspen Daisy, and a yellow flower that I’m uncertain about. I think it’s Lambs Tongue Groundsel. This trail is rated one of the easiest to navigate as the elevation gain is minimal – just a little over 900 feet. I expect to see more hikers but we don’t encounter any until we reach the lake. There was only one other car at the trailhead so this makes sense. There is a second trailhead though a half mile beyond the lake. It requires 4WD, plus it would make for too short of a hike. At least for us.
The lake is stunning. Perfectly blue. Ellie fearlessly bushwhacks around the shore to take pictures of some Lilly Pads. We rest a bit finding this spot so serene. A fisherman casts his fly and tells us this lake normally has some good cutthroat trout. They aren’t biting today though, he says because the dragonflies are hatching.
Our return to the trailhead runs us into scores of late day hikers. Families headed out after lunch. There are now nine cars parked at the trailhead. Many more pass us as we head back down to Vail. Gorgeous first day hike. Looking forward to Sunday.