Created in the spring of 2019, this trail is a welcome addition to hiker options on Vail Mountain. The Cabin Trail seems perhaps less iconic and not quite as visually pleasing as the nearby Berrypicker
Trail, but it still features nice Gore Range views and abundant wildflowers. On the plus side, the Cabin Trail feels more secluded than Berrypicker
due to its distance from the circus-like atmosphere of Eagles Nest and hikers need not cross as many mountain bike trails.
This trail can be completed in either direction. Starting from the top, look for a marker on the Main Vail dirt road, just downhill from where chairlifts 3 & 4 depart mid-Vail. Initially, the trail descends steeply down a ridge while paralleling a ravine. This gully drains a lot of snowmelt and is a pleasant accompaniment for the start of your trek. Shady forest here protects patches of snow along the trail in springtime. Soon you'll cross this stream at a hairpin bend of the Main Vail dirt road. Traverse level ground for a time above the road, cross the road again, and then dip back into the shady forest.
After a steeper section, the trail crosses under Gondola One a few times. For the next section of trail that parallels the gondola path, the steady hum of the gondola partially obscures the otherwise noticeable birdsong. Some good views of Golden Peak and the Gore Range are available where the forest canopy opens to let in more sunlight into small meadows. Overall, the trail is moderately steep with many small ups and downs, winding around boulders and between trees.
After a few small stream crossings, the ground gets boggy in places providing habitat for more wildflowers. Persevere though a couple of less appealing areas (where the trail encounters piles of downed trees and scattered limbs), because the highlight of the trail is coming up next! Arguably the best part of the Cabin Trail is near the bottom, where it meanders through a huge grove of mature aspen trees. These stately specimens shade a dense undergrowth of delightful wildflowers. Savor the burbling brook nearby.
All too soon, you emerge onto the "Head First" ski run and descend to the Main Vail dirt road where the trail abruptly ends. To reach Vail Village via Strawberry Lane
, go downhill to the east.
Although the Cabin Trail only reaches Mid-Vail, it makes a nice link-up when combined with Kinnickinnick
at the top and the lower part of Strawberry Lane
. In this way, you can create a great top-to-bottom hiking experience!
Lupine, columbine, and other wildflowers abound. Deer.