Hike to Booth Falls and Booth Lake, CO

Booth Falls Trailhead

Booth Falls and Lake make for a great hike in the Vail area. You'll get to ejoy plenty of great views, wildlife sightings, and rock climbing opportunities in the creek.

This day hike begins as a steady climb through aspen trees for the first mile. The trail then flattens out a bit, and you reach Booth Falls at mile two. This is a beautiful 60 ft waterfall that allows for easy rock climbing and hiking through the stream upstream of the falls. This is also a popular spot for picnics and camping. If you're planning to only hike the falls, it's roughly 4 miles roundtrip with a 1,450' elevation gain. 

Once past the falls, the trail becomes slightly more difficult and steeper. At 10,000 ft you will be hiking through conifer trees and small fields of wildflowers. Patches of snow were still present in August at this elevation. Beautiful views of the Gore Mountain range are visible at this part of the hike, so a camera is a necessity! The last 1/4 mile of the hike is steep and rocky, but the difficult ending is worth it!

The lake at the top of the mountain (11,500 ft) is gorgeous and picturesque. Booth Lake features patches of snow that speckle the mountainside and trout are rising to feed continuously.

It took us 4.5 hours to complete the 4.6 mile hike to the lake (with a 30 minute stop at the waterfall). The 4.6 miles back down the mountain took 2.5 hours.

Warning: If you are not acclimated to the elevation, this hike will wind even those of you who are in good shape!

Pack List

  • Hiking boots
  • Backpack
  • Camera
  • Extra socks
  • Food
  • Binoculars
  • GoPro
  • Towel
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RT Distance 10 Miles
Elevation Gain 3000 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
River
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Great Scenery, Great Workout

Beautiful hike that gets even prettier the further you go. Parking lot fills up fast but noticed a bus stop very close to the parking lot. A moderate hike for those used to altitude but challenging for out of towners. The falls were a great shady place to have lunch.

Memorable hike

Booth Lake was my first solo hike in Colorado and will forever be a memorable one. I was used to doing quick 1-3 mile hikes, so when I decided to do this 5 mile hike (there and back) I knew I was in for a treat. Well, this "treat" turned to a full on dessert entree. A photographers dream. I loved that this hike has it all. Dense forestry, waterfall, lake, exercise, valleys, and much more. This hike tested my will power. I don't consider myself an experienced hiker, and therefore this hike did test me, physically and mentally. As I hiked, I turned back three times because i was tired and not really sure how much longer I had to reach the end. I am happy to say i did finish it and i am so proud of myself of completing it. I had to stop many times to let my cramping legs rest and see other hikers pass me. It didn't help that I come from sea level. Nevertheless, this hike is memorable because I pushed myself to finish and overcome the physical hardship. I am grateful, for the explorer who posted this, as I was able to find it through the detail information and the amazing community of The Outbound.

Get to the trailhead early!

The hike to Booth Falls is very popular and the small parking lot fills up early. Vail does not allow parking on city streets and you'll get a ticket if you try (guilty). Avoid crowding on the trail and at the falls by arriving well before noon.


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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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