This ended up being the perfect ending to a fantastically beautiful weekend of wheeling. It was the highest we've been yet this season, and we really needed it.
We had a hard time finding the trailhead because there are some streets in Vail between I-70 and the trail that are now closed. There is a lot of construction going on in the area. We wandered around for awhile until we found another way up.
The trail started pretty easily under a ski lift. It was pretty cool driving through areas filled with skiers in the winter. We even drove by a big patch of snow.
There were lots of hikers and mountain bikers out, too. One mountain biker was coming down the hill very quickly, right in the middle of the trail. He was surprised to see vehicles in the road for some reason. Luckily, he didn't fall (though it looked like it could have gone either way).
We kept going up, thinking that the trail was going to be an easy one. When we got to the crossroads with Lift 10 we turned left and the trail instantly got a little rougher. It wasn't bad, though, not compared to the other trails we'd been on over the weekend.
We climbed up, surrounded by aspen trees. There was a creek below us and a mountain above us. A few SUVs passed us on the way down. Judging from the small all-terrain tires and low clearance, this trail was an easy one. By the end, we figured that those vehicles didn't go all the way to the top.
There were many switchbacks as we climbed. We were sad to see that someone had ruined every one of them by cutting them short, and lots of other people had followed. It was a trail just outside of a town, so the trail probably saw a lot of high school partying.
There were some rutted areas that were challenging to keep on top of, and even a little rock ledge that had a small bypass to the edge of the trail. We had a good time climbing the mountain.
We came out of the trees once and were treated to some fantastic views. We didn't get out there, though.
When we got to the bottom of the loop we took it counterclockwise. We discovered later that it would have been more fun and challenging in the other direction. Don came close to ripping his soft top on a tree branch on the way down, but otherwise it was just fine.
The top of Red Peak was breathtaking! There were ropes marking the edge of skiing territory, and the signs were all very tall. We had lots of room to park, and we walked through the wild flowers to get to the edge and admire the view even more. It was a long way down.
We wanted to stay longer -- it was really nice and the weather was perfect. Some other people came up, so we decided to head back down.
The way back down was very quick, and soon we were back on the smooth portion of the road, airing up to go home. Some of us stopped in Silverthorne for dinner while others hurried to make it home in time for a late dinner.
It was a great ending to a fantastic weekend! We were all covered in pounds and pounds of mud, but no one broke anything. You can't do better than that.