I have had the Grand Traverse on my wish list for a couple of years now. The Grand Traverse is on the skyline above Vail as you are heading East. It is part of the Gore Range. We left Denver early and arrived in Vail at about 6 am. We stashed our mountain bikes at the Deluge Lake trail head and parked at the Bighorn trail head about a mile and a half away. This trail head is a bit tricky to find.
The first section of trail is quite steep. You can imagine the fall colors would be spectacular on this hike, but we were here on August 18, 2013. It is still a very pretty hike. After about a mile and a half the steep slope relents and you have easier walking in the valley. There are many species of mushrooms here if you look for them.
Once you reach the cabin, take the trail to the left of it rather than to the right. We went right and made it into the upper valley fine, but it just added a bit to the hike.
The descent down through the scree and then the cliff bands was just as challenging as the ascent. At times we were almost cliffed out and had to use some unorthodox climbing moves to get past the thick ground cover and water trickling rocks.
The long hike to the truck got us back after 7 pm and in the darkness. If you aren't a fast hiker/climber you should start this adventure as early as possible. We'll be back. We'll see you up there in the summer of 2013!