Piney Lake, near Vail Colorado, is one of the highest lakes in Colorado that you can drive to. There are several trails that leave from this area, but on this trip we popped up there just to check out the views. If you are interested in hike, check out Lost Lake which is on the way, and Upper Piney River, which leaves from the parking lot of the Piney River Ranch, a commercial outfitter at the lake.
There is a commercial outfitter at the lake with a limited restaurant (no ice cream!!), lodging, and canoe rentals for around $20/hour.
Directions: From I-70, take Exit 176 for Vail. Take the North Frontage Road west to Red Sandstone Road. Turn north here and follow the paved road about 0.7 miles to a fork with a dirt road on the left. There should be a Forest Service sign indicating this is Red Sandstone Road #700 (Reset your odometer here). Continue up this road about 2.7 miles to an intersection with the Lost Lake Road (#786) and continue left. At mile 6.5 you will pass Red and White Mtn Road-FSR 734. At mile 6.7 you will pass the Lost Lake Trail parking lot on the right and then reach an intersection where the Muddy Pass/Moniger Road goes left. Stay right here. (Some maps show the Red Sandstone Road changing number from FSR 700 to FSR 701 at this point, and some don’t, but regardless, you stay right to get to Piney Lake and the Upper Piney River Trail). At mile 9.1, you will cross the Piney River and see a trailhead for Lower Piney River Trail - FDT 1885 on the left. Stay right and reach a Forest Service parking lot on the right at mile 10.65 before the entrance to Piney River Ranch.