Winter Hiking on Vail Trail: Vail, Colorado

I love winter hiking, and I just love hiking in the snow and snowshoeing. This year I headed to Vail, Colorado, for a few days of hiking, snowshoeing, and skiing!

Vail, Colorado, February 2015
Vail, Colorado, February 2015

The snow was a welcome change from the 70 degree temperatures in Southern California this winter, and I loved hearing the crunch of snow beneath my feet.

Vail Trail!
Vail Trail!

I found a lovely packed trail called Vail Trail, and strapped on my Hillsound FreeSteps6 stainless steel boot chains.

Hillsound FreeSteps6 Traction Device on my Kamik Boots
Hillsound FreeSteps6 Traction Device on my Kamik Boots

Hiking Lady Gear Tip:

On a well packed trail, snowshoes are not always necessary. As you can see in the photo above, I wore stainless steel boot chains instead of full snowshoes. When blazing a new trail through the snow (which I love to do as well!), then snowshoes are necessary. Otherwise you’ll sink knee deep or more into soft snow, making for an unpleasantly wet winter hiking experience.

The Hillsound FreeSteps6 are a lightweight crampon, and are ideal for walking on very well packed snow or ice. Check out the Hiking Lady gear review of the FreeStep6 Crampons.

Hiking Lady Snack Tip:

On my hike I took along a pack of Setton Farm’s Pistachio Chewy Bites. I love pistachios, and these little bars are a mix of pistachios and cranberries with agave nectar. They are yummy, healthy, gluten free, and store well even in cold weather.

Pistachio Chewy Bites
A yummy heart healthy snack: Pistachio Chewy Bites

How to Get to Vail Trail

Vail has an excellent free bus system. There are in-town buses throughout Vail Village and Lionshead Village, and from Vail Village you can transfer to an “out of town bus”. You can jump on this free bus and head to the Vail Nordic Center, where you can rent equipment. Behind the parking lot is the trailhead for Vail Trail!


  1. Tracy says:

    I work with High School girls, and would love to read this and study this with them, to help them learn from an early age, the benefits of being gruelfat! Thank you so much for sharing your insights with others. :>)

  2. Hi! I just found your blog. I have been looking for blogs that discuss hiking-related topics. I never knew the importance of snowshoes before and have unfortunately found myself knee-deep in snow before.

  3. Hiking Lady says:

    Great question Carl. If the snow is soft and your boots sink-in as you walk along the surface, you’ll want to wear snowshoes. If the snow is hard and your boots are mainly visible above the surface of the snow, it is likely packed enough to just wear boot chains/crampons. Happy trails!

  4. Carl says:

    I would love to go snowshoeing in Colorado! How do you determine if the snow is well-packed enough to allow for boot chains / crampons instead of snowshoes?

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