Berry Picker Trail — Vail, Colorado

This post is sponsored by RockResorts. All opinions are my own.

I’ll own it: I spend far less time in Vail than most people in Colorado. It’s not too far from the city– two hours– but for some reason, I never end up in that neck of the woods.¬†Fortunately, Will’s company sponsors a ridiculously awesome retreat every summer, choosing a different mountain town as its site. This year, they chose nearby Beaver Creek, so Will and I headed to the hills to party!

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We drove up late Friday night and purposely avoided all of the planned activities on Saturday. Instead, we slept in for the first time in months, enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, and hit the dirt for a fun-and-mellow day of trails.

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The Berry Picker trail isn’t extreme; you’re not going to find absurdly steep climbs or death-defying scrambles. Rather, the charm of Berry Picker is its accessibility. On this particular weekend, we didn’t want a long drive or a late-night return. We wanted to get outside, catch some sun on our face, and stretch our legs. Berry Picker was perfect!

The pedestrian-only trail begins at the Eagle Bahn Gondola at the base of Lionshead. Look to the right of the gondola; you’ll see a bridge. Cross the bridge and head uphill; the signs are easy to spot!

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The initial climb is the toughest of the day and your heart rate will get pumpin’ almost immediately. I had originally planned to do the entire thing as a trail run, but this first hill made me think otherwise. Instead, we went for a run-hike combo! Be on the lookout during this initial climb as the hikers-only trail will cross paths with the downhill mountain biking trails. It’s easy to avoid a collision if you’re cautious, but woe be the hiker who steps in front of an out-of-control biker!

After the initial ascent, the trail mellows out and enters a shady Aspen glen. The trees were a welcome break as they provided ample sun coverage and gave us time to catch our breath. These intermittent glens continued throughout the hike and they were welcome every.single.time!

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The trail gradually climbs, hopping out of the Aspen and into wide, open meadows. At one point, you enter an extra large meadow that clearly is a base area during ski season. For some reason, I was fascinated with this part of the trail! I kept staring at the grass, wondering what that exact spot looks like in the winter, covered in snow. Then, I started wondering how long it would take to mow with a push mower. These thoughts continued until Will turned around and realized I was a quarter mile behind him….oops!

Should you choose to take the trail to the very top, you can find Eagle’s Nest, a restaurant/lodge atop the mountain. It has a great deck for scenic views, proving that the sweat equity in the hike was totally worth it. Of course, you could pay to ride the gondola to the top, but what fun is that?!

{Besides, it’s free to ride the gondola downhill….!}

Trail Beta: 

Parking: Park at the Lionshead parking structure at the base of the mountain; it’s free in the summer. From there, walk through the shops to the Eagle Bahn Gondola.

Elevation Gain: ~2,200 feet

Mileage: 6.4 round trip; 3.2 miles uphill if you choose to take the Gondola down

Rating: Moderate

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4 Comments

  • Reply Krysten at

    Looks so magical!! I love birch trees! I am not sure why exactly, there is just something about them!

  • Reply Logan at

    So pretty!! I don’t make it out to Vail often either and I’m not sure why. So many places around CO left to explore. Also a free ride downhill? That’s pretty sweet!

  • Reply Bonnie at

    Gorgeous! Great shots! And how fun for you guys to spend the time together and to just be outside – sometimes it’s about that simplicity and the life-giving element of being outdoors without the logistics of a big trip. Glad you enjoyed!

  • Reply The Padre at

    Big Hugs & Dig The Photos!!

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