Booth Lake, Booth Lake Trailhead, Summit County - Eagle County - Clear Creek County, Colorado

Booth Lake - 8.7 miles

Booth Lake Trailhead

Booth Lake (11,434')

Booth Lake (11,434')

Round-Trip Length: 8.7 miles
Start-End Elevation: 8,422' - 11,434' (11,464' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +3,012' net elevation gain (+3,478' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: Yes
Related Trails:

Booth Lake - 8.7 Miles Round-Trip

Booth Lake is located 4.35 miles from Booth Lake Trailhead on I-70 in Vail. It fills a slender basin at the head of a steep walled valley in the Eagles Nest Wilderness. The Booth Creek Trail climbs 1300' in 1.9 miles through aspen and berry-lined slopes to Booth Falls, then steepens across treeline and long alpine meadows to the lake:

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The trail winds north through grassy hillsides to the Eagles Nest Wilderness Boundary, and gradually straightens up a widening valley framed by towering, red-hued walls.

Grades moderate from 1.0 - 1.5 miles through a colorful mix of aspen, leafy ground cover and berries. The trail grows rugged leading up to Booth Falls (1.9 miles : 9,720'), which drops 60' in several stages (visible and accessible from numerous spurs off the main trail).

The trail continues steeply over the falls where aspen give way to a thick spruce forest.

It drops and levels briefly along Booth Creek, a useful reprieve before another strenuous push breaks treeline (2.5 miles : 10,165') and crests at the foot of a long, narrow valley (2.85 miles : 10,490').

The valley floor and slopes above are thinly wooded, a good place to find wildlife and clear camping terrain. The valley bends northwest on a mild grade beneath craggy, talus strewn walls. Behind you are emerging views of the Holy Cross range and portions of the Vail ski area.

The trail moves quickly up-valley through open meadow and thin bands of spruce to the base of a final, steep climb (3.95 miles : 11,120').

The trail twists quickly and unevenly through large rock slabs and boulders to a crest, where it drops to the grassy east shore of Booth Lake (4.35 miles : 11,434').

Booth Lake is deceptively long with a small island in its center. The lake is easy to explore, as are the open slopes above. A low ridge on the south shore has a particularly good view across the basin, and back down valley on the route you took to reach it.

Facebook Comments

Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N39 39.052 W106 19.265 — 0.0 miles : Booth Lake Trailhead
  • N39 39.333 W106 19.119 — .5 miles: Steady rise through aspen and open fields
  • N39 39.643 W106 18.778 — 1.0 miles : Moderate grade through widening valley
  • N39 40.040 W106 18.757 — 1.5 miles : Grade steepens in thicker forest to falls
  • N39 40.364 W106 18.679 — 1.9 miles : Booth Falls
  • N39 40.418 W106 18.699 — 2.0 miles : Trail grows rugged and steep above falls
  • N39 40.846 W106 18.464 — 2.5 miles : Break in timber during steep climb
  • N39 41.118 W106 18.178 — 3.0 miles : Moderate travel up narrow, open valley
  • N39 41.420 W106 17.946 — 3.5 miles : Continue moderate travel up valley
  • N39 41.791 W106 18.068 — 4.0 miles : Steep, twisting approach to Booth Lake
  • N39 41.963 W106 18.347 — 4.35 miles : Booth Lake

Worth Noting

  • The majority of the Booth Creek Trail is exposed to sun. Hats, sunglasses, lotion and layers are highly recommended.

  • Sunny, well drained areas on the lower trail produce magnificent wildflowers and a bumper crop of late summer berries. Look for deer and bear along the creek between the trailhead and Booth Falls.

  • Abundant aspen and leafy trailside vegetation produce brilliant autumn colors, arguably one of the best displays in the Vail area.

Camping and Backpacking Information

Backcountry Camping:

  • Dispersed backcountry camping is permitted in the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area. Camping is prohibited within 100' of any lake or stream. Group size is limited to 15 individuals.

  • Campfires are permitted for dispersed camping in the backcountry, with potential seasonal restrictions. Campfires are not permitted above or within .25 miles (440 yards) of treeline, or within 100' of any lake or stream in the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area.

  • Contact the Holy Cross Ranger District (970.827.5715) for the latest on weather, trail conditions and trail-specific usage guidelines when planning your trip. The office is open M - F from 8am - 4pm.

  • There are several developed campgrounds within the White River National Forest. Contact the Holy Cross Ranger District for information on these sites.

  • Gore Creek Campground - Facilities and Campground Information:

  • The Gore Creek Campground is located 2.5 miles east of Exit 180 from I-70 on Bighorn Road. It's located just past the Gore Creek Trailhead and holds 25 campsites with picnic tables and fire grates. A vault toilet is available. Campsite parking spurs are 30-40' long, but no electric hook-ups, running water or dump stations are available. Sites are first come, first served. There is a $16 fee, and 10 day occupancy limit.

Fishing Information

  • Fishing is permitted along Booth Creek and at Booth Lake with a valid Colorado fishing license.

Rules and Regulations

  • Dogs are permitted on the Booth Creek Trail and within the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area. Dogs must be on a leash no longer than 6'.

  • Horses are permitted on the Booth Creek Trail.

  • Bikes are not permitted on the Booth Lake Trail.

Directions to Trailhead

Booth Lake is located within the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area and Holy Cross Ranger District of the White River National Forest. The Booth Lake Trailhead is located 1.2 miles from Exit #180 of I-70 on Booth Falls Road.

From westbound I-70, exit #180 and turn left (west) on the north frontage road. Travel 1 mile to Booth Falls Road and turn right (north). The Booth Lake Trailhead and parking area are located .2 miles up Booth Falls Road.

Contact Information

Holy Cross Ranger District
24747 US Highway 24
Minturn, CO 81645

White River National Forest
900 Grand Ave.
P.O. Box 948
Glenwood Springs CO 81602

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"Booth Lake trail is one of my favorite hikes in Vail, despite the fact that the parking lot at the trailhead has only roughly 12 spaces. This summer, when the trailhead parking lot was full, I was told by other hikers that it was okay to park at Booth Creek Park when hiking the Booth Lake trail. Well, today I received a $50 parking ticket from the Town of Vail for using the park spaces while hiking the Booth Lake trail. So BEWARE! Town of Vail must be hard up for cash! A side note observation, Town of Vail provides plenty of FREE parking for visitors shopping and dining in Vail (who are also paying a 1% TOV tax on every dollar they spend.)"
Ellen Atchison  -  Vail,CO  -  Date Posted: September 4, 2017
"This is now one of my top, favorite hikes! My GPS states the hike was 10.8 miles vs the posted 8.7 but like others have said - many factors could contribute to the discrepancies. It is an out and back hike and the 3000' climb is very steep in some parts! If I didn't have a trekking pole on the way down (borrowed from a hiking partner), my knees would have been feeling it something fierce. We started early, about 8am or earlier and it was so peaceful - very quiet and beautiful hiking temps (cool) - which was appreciated on the climb up. The falls are nice but the lake is worth the trek! The open expanses are breathtaking - this area is beautiful. The final mile to the lake is when that mental game starts setting in - but keep pushing. Can't wait to do this hike again in the fall! At this time of year, a portion of the lake was still frozen and melting - awesome."
Brittany  -  Denver, CO  -  Date Posted: July 13, 2015
"I Hiked this trail in early October, and we started seeing significant snow near the falls. At Booth lake it was about 2 feet deep in places. Still made it all the way though. The fall colors and snow together were amazing. "
Flatlander  -   -  Date Posted: November 7, 2014
"5 stars. No kidding. Been here for fall colors, too, and the trail scenery is just outstanding either way. Also, in terms of difficulty, whether or not some register it as 6 miles, it surely feels like the 4.5 that the USFS says it is. The Gore Lake trail, on the other hand, might be that kind of a trek (in actual distance and in feeling). Also, between this one, Pitkin, and Deluge, Booth Lake Trail is a more gradual feeling trek. Very rewarding."
Brendan Bombaci  -  Fort Collins, CO  -  Date Posted: August 15, 2014
"Daveeee, the distance from the trailhead to Booth Lake is indeed approximately 4.5 miles. However, the trail is not a straight line from the head to the lake. My devices registered about a 6.5 mile hike from the trailhead to the lake. However, I also walked down several side trails in the beginning, so the trail distance is probably closer to 6 miles, which is precisely what Paul is claiming."
Andrew  -  West Des Moines, IA  -  Date Posted: April 24, 2014
"The trail distance is actually pretty accurate. My GPS measured 4.5 miles to the shore of Booth Lake. It took me 3 hours for my 55 year old bod to get up to the lake, a absolutely beautiful alpine setting and well worth the altitude gain. So it's only a 4.5 mile trail, it just feels like more!"
Daveeee  -  Lafayette, CO  -  Date Posted: September 7, 2013
"I have always questioned the mileage listed for this trail. So, today we took two seperate gps devices as well as two phones with gps apps. Actual round trip mileage is closer to 12. The lake is not a further 2 miles beyond the falls but closer to 4. It is a haul. I cannot express this enough. It is an amazing hike and the lake is spectacular but it is tough. "
Paul  -  Edwards co  -  Date Posted: August 26, 2013
"I hiked the trail with a group this day. This is a very nice hike. Everything is so green. There is a small stream crossing you need to walk across a log and one of our members miss stepped and ended up in the water. It's only about eighteen inches deep. When you finally make it to the falls it's well worth it.And if you are brave enough you can climb down to the creek before the fall. We decided not to take the remaining hike to the lake. If you are in the area and have time I definitely recommend this trail."
Eddie A.  -  Arvada  -  Date Posted: August 6, 2013
"I enjoyed this wonderful hike with my family in 1979, all the way to Booth Lake. When I made it back to Vail, in 2005, I wanted to Hike there again 26 years later. I made it back Lord willing to the Lake I remember from 1979. It was just as I remember it. Hiking to the last possible Mountain ridge in the Gorge. I arrived after 3 hours of Hiking to the Lake. Its was just as peaceful as then as now. I quiet little Mountain Lake with a small Island in it. Beautful. I knew from my past that it is around trip 6 hour hike. I only took a water , and a Bannana with me and when I wasn't back in Vail at Lunch my family got alittle worried but, I was back by 1PM. And my wife asked me where I have been and I told her a place that was 26 years ago. Booth Lake. It was worth it. Doing it again. "
Rudy Lawrence  -  Lansing, Mi.  -  Date Posted: December 5, 2012
"Our favorite lake to fish for cutthroat trout in my boyhood in Colorado. My father took many limits of beautiful trout from 1960 through 1967. On the way down one night in pitch black an ex soldier sat down on a log and put his hand on a porcupine. Gorgeous spot strenuous hike and in those days we drank water without concern. It tasted great!"
Thane Mathis  -  Malibu, California  -  Date Posted: May 4, 2012


Add Comment

Only used to identify you to ProTrails. Will not show on comments list.
Tell us when your experience with this trail happened.