A Guide to Hiking Essentials in Vail, Colorado

With spring in full swing and summer just around the corner, it’s time to swap your skis for hiking boots and explore the colorful summers for which Colorado is known. During your stay at Solaris Vail, you will be amidst stunning wilderness and a variety of hiking trails, all with magnificent views. So before you set out for adventure, we’ve outlined our list of hiking essentials to ensure you don’t leave unprepared, no matter the length or difficulty of your trail choice.


The first, and most important step of your hike, is to know where you’re going. For shorter trails, the trail guide and trail markers are typically simple to follow. However, on longer hikes, it is important to have resources such as a map, guide book or compass.


Sun and Bug Protection

Colorado is known for its sunshine – 300 days to be exact – so it is important to layer on sunscreen before hitting the trails. Be sure to pack a bottle in your backback to reapply throughout the day, as well as lip balm with SPF to prevent chapped lips and insect repellent to keep those pesky bugs away.


Even if you’re embarking on a short and simple walk, always bring water! Altitude sickness can set in at any time, so a good rule of thumb is at least one bottle of water per person on your hike. For short to medium walks and hikes, fuel up with snacks such as trail mix, granola bars, fruits and veggies. For hikes lasting more than a half day, be sure to pack lunch; ready-made sandwiches, wraps and salads are all great options.


First Aid Kit

While you hopefully won’t have any injuries along the way, keep in mind that accidents can easily happen! At the very least, be sure to pack some band aids, anti-bacterial gel and light painkillers, such as aspirin or Tylenol. Other suggestions include gauze, tweezers, disposable sterile gloves and skin rash cream for insect bites or stings.


It is is important to note that even if it is warm at the bottom of the trail, it might not be warm at the top. Some trails, depending on peak elevation, may have dustings of snow year-round! To prepare for inconsistent weather and temperatures, layering is key. For lower-elevation hikes in hotter weather, a quick dry t-shirt or tank top along with lightweight shorts or pants should do the trick. For hikes that take you into colder, more elevated weather, we recommend layering a vest, fleece or soft shell jacket and pants. As for your feet, you can never go wrong with wool socks and hiking boots, but thin socks and sneakers should suffice for shorter and less treacherous trails.

Optional Extras

Extra gear we suggest considering include trekking poles to minimize strain on ankle and knee joints, a flashlight or headlamp for late afternoon and evening hikes, a whistle for emergencies and a bathing suit, towel and sandals, should you find yourself along a trail with lakes or rivers. Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget to bring a daypack to store all of your essentials.

Now, we hope you are ready to explore Vail Valley, and beyond. To begin researching hiking trails and options, be sure to view Vail’s trail descriptions online. Happy hiking!