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Backpacking Deluge Lake in Vail

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Backpacking Deluge Lake in Vail
The Gore Range, Vail, Colorado

I had never even heard of Deluge Lake until a few years ago when a buddy (Ninety Seventy) had posted up some sunset pictures from his hike… it looked pretty awesome. Grand Traverse Peak (13,041′), the ridge that provides the impressive and iconic backdrop to Vail, caps Deluge basin’s northwest corner, while triangular Snow Peak (13,024′) towers over the east valley wall and Valhalla (13,180′) right down the center of the scene. Finally, the Sawatch Range and Mount of the Holy Cross dominate the skyline to the west, back down the Deulge Creek drainage.

I kept putting the hike off because it didn’t sound easy even as a day hike, let alone to do it right as an overnight with a full pack. Even though the trail is only 3.8 miles (one-way),* there’s over 3,100 feet of elevation gain, 2,200′ of which comes in the first two miles, where the trail is narrowly-cut, overgrown, and consisting of lose rock as it contours the hillside. And there’s no sugar coating it – that first part of the hike suuuuucks – So much so that I was actually worried about my pup over-exerting herself; I had never seen her have it that rough on a hike.

Once into the meadow of Deluge Creek, it all becomes worth it…

Deluge Lake Gore Range Vail Colorado

Snow Peak

Deluge Lake Gore Range Vail Colorado

Happy Hour

Deluge Lake Gore Range Vail Colorado

Mount of the Holy Cross & the Sawatch Range

Deluge Lake Gore Range Vail Colorado

Deluge Lake Gore Range Vail Colorado

Deluge Lake Gore Range Vail Colorado

Deluge Lake Gore Range Vail Colorado

Fresh Morning Ice

Deluge Lake Gore Range Vail Colorado

Snow Peak

Deluge Lake Gore Range Vail Colorado

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*USFS claims 3.8 mile one-way, but I had seen other estimates at 4.55 miles, my GPS logged me at 5.43 miles, and another girl up at the lake had 6+ mi on her iWatch. No matter what, it’s a strenuous one…

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