Safety is our top priority! Each participant (not just the leader) should arrive fully prepared. This includes bringing a day pack with plenty of water, rain gear, sun protection, and trail snacks/lunch. Good hiking footgear and first-aid essentials are a must. Trekking poles are highly recommended (NOTE: some leaders may determine that hiking poles are mandatory based on trail conditions; check the details of the text, in case this is indicated). June and September trails can bring muddy and/or snow-packed trails. On high altitude hikes, bring a hat, windbreaker, and layered clothing. Trip leaders will remind participants about any other special need(s) particular to their itinerary.

We try to use walkie-talkies on all hikes so that, at a minimum, the lead hiker and the sweep can remain in contact with each other. Remember that our hikes are group activities, and we discourage the use of cell phones on the trail. That said, it is useful to carry one (set on vibrate) should we need to call 911 to summon rescue.

We strongly advise purchasing a CORSAR card available at many of our local sports equipment stores as well as online from the Forest Service. For a minimal cost, this card may save you considerable expense if you sustain injury and have to be rescued. For more information go to

Hiking Regulations and Guidelines

Always keep in mind that leaders volunteer their time to ensure that all goes smoothly. As such, please review and adhere to the following guidelines:

1. Leaders have the right to deny participation to those who do not register in a timely manner. To participate, call or email the leader at least 12 hours prior to the hike. You cannot sign up by calling or emailing the morning of the hike or simply showing up at the designated meeting point. This is discourteous to the leader who should know who is coming ahead of time, particularly if car shuttling is required. Also, weather and trail conditions may require last-minute changes, postponements, or cancellations — and the leader cannot inform people who do not register in a timely manner.

2. Save and/or print the hike information, such as meeting place and time, in your calendar. This avoids unnecessary telephone calls to the leader – often at the last minute – to verify the specifics.

3. Leaders have the right to deny participation to those who do not have the necessary equipment, especially footwear and/or other items (e.g., water).

4. Leaders have the right to limit the number of hikers in their group. This information will be indicated in the mass mailings sent periodically.

5. If you must cancel, give the leader the courtesy of a call or email by the evening before the hike so that the group does not waste time waiting for you at the meeting place.

6. Many hikes involve crossing streams on log bridges, traversing rock or boulder fields, and have short sections of steep climbs or descents. If you know you cannot handle these obstacles, please do not sign up for the hike. If in doubt, contact the leader to ascertain whether the hike will involve such obstacles.

7. THE LEADER IS THE LEADER!!! Unless another hiker is designated, the leader is always the first hiker in the queue. The leader also designates a sweep who is the last hiker in the queue.

A. During a hike, leaders and sweeps may be reassigned but all hikers in the group must be made aware of this by the leader at a rest stop.

B. Hikers who opt to go faster than the leader or explore alternative routes without the leader’s approval are immediately considered as resigning from the Vail Club 50 hike and shall not be treated as hike participants by the leader or Vail Club 50.

C. Without exception, no participant should leave the group to return to the trailhead without the knowledge of the leader and the sweep. S/he should be accompanied by another hiker. No one should hike alone.

8. When returning to the trailhead, always remember to mark the sign-out sheet, especially if you arrive before the trip leader. Make sure the leader knows ahead of time if you decide to leave the area before the group completes the hike. The leader is responsible for ensuring that all hike participants arrive safely. It is both inconsiderate and irresponsible to leave without advising the leader! Indeed, long delays may occur while the remaining group tries to verify whether you have left or are still on the trail.

Thank you for your cooperation.

—Louise Willimann
Hiking Chair