Piney River Falls via Mount Powell Trail
This is a moderate out and back trail in White River National Forest.
This trail goes by Piney Lake.
The trail is about 6 miles round trip with less than 600 feet vertical, making it a moderate but not difficult hike, suitable for families with older children. The Piney Lake basin is very scenic with the surrounding mountains to the east, including the tallest mountain of the Gore Range, Mount Powell standing over 13,500 feet. Often moose are seen hanging out on the south side of Piney Lake. There is a restaurant and cabins at the west end of the lake including canoe rentals.
This is a popular summer destination. The hike wanders along the narrow Piney River Valley on the north side of the river, the trail then climbs up through forest with some rolling sections. Stay right at trail forks as these keep the hiker closer to the river and eventually reaching the falls.
From Vail's north side frontage road, take Red Sandstone Road turning to dirt (good gravel road, bumpy in a few sections but suitable for passenger cars) and follow signs to Piney Lake. Park before the cabins and lodge at the trailhead that proceeds past the facilities then hugs the north side of the valley.
There are a couple of spots on the trail with some bigger steps, a great playgound for kids. Be vigilant near the drop offs that are not directly on the trail but nearby as one reaches the east end of the trail bringing hikers closer to the river and falls. Also in early summer the water will be swift near the falls.
Sights to See
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