Vail Pass Trailhead
Elevation: 10,550 feet
Hutski.com map: ??
USGS 7.5 min map: Vail Pass
10th Mountain Huts map: Resolution Mountain
GPS: 395 324 E, 43 76 098 N (middle of parking complex)
Huts accessed: Shrine Mountain Inn
As the second highest point on I-70, Vail Pass is known for its severe winter driving conditions. Take chain and snow tire laws seriously.
To reach the Vail Pass Trailhead, drive Interstate Highway 70 for 14 miles E from Vail or 5 miles W from Copper Mountain Resort. Take Exit 190 at the summit of the pass and park at the large parking area (the Vail Pass Rest Area) just east of the overpass.
To find the actual trail beginning, look for signs indicating Shrine Pass Road. Head up Shrine Pass Road a short distance to a switchback, the well marked skier's trail leaves from a signboard here.
If the designated skier's trail is not broken out, you may be tempted to use the Shrine Pas Road since it reaches the same destination as the trail. This is ill advised as use of both routes is restricted to human and motor power, respectively. If you ski on the Shrine Road, you may be fined or at least scolded. Likewise, if you snowmobile on the skier's trail you will be strapped down with climbing skins and tickled with a ski pole. As of this writing we don't know if walking the road is allowed or not, and we suspect the legalities of this situation might not be as dire as they sound, since every time we're up there we see people walking on the road.