With a trailhead located near Piney River Ranch, the Upper Piney River Trail is one that you can hike or horseback ride during the summer season and then relax at Piney River Ranch's restaurant, which serves lunch, snacks and drinks from a deck that overlooks the beautiful Piney Lake. The drive to the trailhead is scenic and exciting in itself, and once you're on the trail, you'll hike moderate terrain through aspen groves and pine forest before reaching a waterfall at around mile 3. Most people hike to this point and then turn around, as the trail becomes unmaintained, making it best traveled by experienced hikers with more advanced navigation skills and tools, such as a topo map. For those who choose to continue, the route goes on for 4 more miles to reach Upper Piney Lake. One-way distance for this trail from the trailhead all the way to Upper Piney Lake is 7 miles, making it 14 miles round trip. However, if you choose to hike the most popular 3 miles to the falls and then turn around, your round-trip distance is only 6 miles.
Upper Piney River Trail
Forest Service parking area near Piney River Ranch, Vail