If you ask my daughter what the highlight of our Vail family vacation was, she’ll answer with Lloyd the llama.
Can you blame her? Look at how cute he is.
Lloyd’s curious nature meant he wasn’t shy about making eye contact. It felt almost like he was studying our thoughts. Or, maybe he was trying to Jedi mind trick us into letting him eat bottomless wildflowers. He’s about to make a go for some here.
Either way, he was the most excellent lunch companion. Our half-day hike and picnic together with Paragon Guides was part of a fabulous summer itinerary hosted by Vail.
I’ve been traveling to these mountains for years and only recently learned of this fantastic thing to do in Vail with kids (and without). Definitely look all of the llama itineraries. The more adventurous can even llama trek from Vail to Aspen!
Morning Hotel Pick-Up
Paragon Guides picked us up from Four Seasons Resort Vail and drove us about 10 minutes to the base of a trail where Lloyd happily grazed in a field.
I didn’t need to bring or carry much as Lloyd took care of it. He didn’t seem to mind it at all when our picnic and gear were placed on his sides (with weight equally distributed). My daughter took his lead and we began walking up the mountain at his pace.
Anyone who has been to Vail in the summer can confirm that lush green hillsides and bright blue skies are the norm (though it can rain in the afternoons). During our visit in late June, the wildflowers were so abundant that our guide, Ken, gave us a chart to see how many varieties we could spot. Pretty blooms were everywhere.
Most of our hike wound alongside a creek that Lloyd stopped to drink from on occasion. Ken brought a water filter and at one point taught my daughter how to capture and clean her own water.
Truthfully, it tasted better than bottled water!
A Red-Checkered Picnic
After winding uphill, it was time to stop for a lunch. Ken set up their traditional “Red-Checkered Picnic” including make-your-own sandwiches, fruit, vegetables and other snacks that hit the spot. We hung out with Lloyd. He needed to eat something other than wildflowers so my daughter fed him a bowl of grain.
Lloyd also likes to be brushed.
Look at that face!
Lloyd to grazed while we enjoyed our peaceful lunch by the creek.
And then it was time to head back down the trail. My daughter never tired of the walk or leading Lloyd. She’ll tell anyone who asks that llamas are her second favorite animals (pandas hold the number one spot).
In case you’re wondering, no, these llamas do not spit. Lloyd would occasionally hum and that was it. He is gentle, easygoing and a total pleasure to be around.
Tips for Llama Trekking in Vail
Paragon Guides can cater a llama adventure to any age and ability. One of the many amazing things about this experience is that it opens up the opportunity to walk, hike or camp for people who are unable to carry gear.
Be mindful of elevation. I felt a little short of breath at times, but it was hardly surprising as we’d landed the at Vail-Eagle airport the day prior.
Drink lots of water, bring a hat and sunscreen. Wear good hiking or athletic shoes.
I put together this short video so that you can get a better idea of what our walk was like.
I would totally book this llama trek again and highly recommend it for your next Vail summer family vacation.
Have you ever gone llama trekking?
Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).
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