“A steep climb through aspens and fir leads to an alpine lake.”
— Nick Wilder
Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers
There are five valley runs on the north side of the Vail valley (Booth Creek
, Pitkin Creek Trail
, Bighorn Creek
, this one, and finally Gore Creek Trail
). Of the three that end at a lake, this is one of the more difficult as it climbs up quite steeply for the first two miles, is quite rocky, and does not spend as much time along the creek. As a result, this one is a little less popular. As the photos show though, there's some spectacular scenery and this is well worth your time.
Given the rocky nature of the trail and steep grade, I was able to only run about 60% of the trail. The upper (flatter) section is quite a joy.
From the parking area, start up a short steep section and then quickly hit a fork in the trail. Right is the Gore Creek Trail
and left is this one. Continuing left, you'll start heading downhill and what feels like far too much to the west. Press on and you the trail will switch back up the drainage and start a relentless climb.
The next mile climbs through aspens (great when changing color in September) before moving to more fir and pine trees at around mile 2.5. You'll cross a few talus slopes and get a few views of the Gore Creek valley.
After 2.5 miles, the very steep climb abates and you actually descend slightly through a series of beautiful meadows filled with streams and wildflowers when blooming in July and August. You might spot wildlife here too.
At 4 miles, you'll meet Deluge Creek at another great meadow. Cross the creek for a short distance (or stay on the left side, which rejoins soon enough). One final climb gets you to Deluge Lake right at treeline. Enjoy the view, cruise around the lake if you want, then head back the way you came.
Flora & Fauna
Aspen, lodgepole pine, fir, marmot, deer, are all common. The wildflowers are quite good in July and August.