Best things to do in Vail

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While Vail is rightly loved for its ski and snowboard terrain, this Colorado mountain town isn’t just about snow sports.

Whether you fancy a big, daring Rocky Mountain adventure or prefer a chic lazy afternoon, the Vail Valley offers vacationers a plethora of things to see and do. From hiking with llamas to tasting delicious craft beers, here’s what to do on your next trip to Vail.

Drive bumper cars on the ice

Do you remember playfully crashing into your friends and siblings in bumper cars at the carnival or local amusement park when you were a kid? You can relive this fun piece from your childhood in a slightly cooler setting at the John A. Dobson Rink in Vail. The arena has 12 colorful ice bumper cars available for children and adults to rent for $ 10.

Anglers can enjoy great fly fishing near Vail, including at Gore Creek, the Eagle River and the Colorado River © skibreck / Getty Images

Touch a guide and go fly fishing

Whether you’re a fly-fishing pro or just starting to dip your toes in the water, the rivers and coves of the Vail Valley are ideal for this relaxing activity. Go on your own or tap a guide to show you the best spots on the Gold Medal waters of Gore Creek, Eagle River, or Colorado River. Gore Creek Fly Fisherman, Vail Valley Anglers, Minturn Anglers, Colorado Angling Company and other operators offer stress-free guided tours throughout the valley and beyond.

Sip a flight of craft beers

Craft beer is huge in Colorado, including the Vail Valley. Head to one of Vail Brewing Co.’s two locations – EagleVail or Vail Village – and order a flight to sample a selection of their rotating beers. Founded in 2014, the veteran-owned brewery makes beers crafted around the active valley lifestyle, each perfect for sipping after a day of hiking or skiing. Drinks aside, you can really get a feel for the local flavor of Vail by heading to the bar at one of the valley restaurants and chatting with the bartender and other patrons.

Snowmobile zoom

Sliding on ice skates

Hit the ice and yearn for the grace of an Olympic skater or the strength of an NHL hockey player. Ice skating is a fun, family-friendly activity for kids and adults alike, and the Vail Valley is home to several indoor and outdoor rinks that are perfect for spending an afternoon sliding on the ice (and having a hot chocolate afterwards). . Discover the John A. Dobson Ice Rink, Alderhof Ice Rink and Solaris Ice Rink in Vail, as well as the Beaver Creek Village Ice Rink.

Husky dogs pull a sled through a snowy landscape
Many companies in Vail offer sleigh tours, before which you can meet the husky dogs that will drag you into the snow © RomeoLu / Shutterstock

Zoom into the snow in a dog sled

Watch the snowy winter landscape roll by as excited puppies pull your sled through the snow. Mountain Musher, Alpine Adventures, Winterhawk Dogsled Adventures, and other operators offer guided dog sledding tours and tours that typically include meeting the dogs and learning about their unique canine works before the snowy and snow-covered excursion.

Learn more about the environment at the Vail Nature Center

Managed by the non-profit Walking Mountains Science Center, the Vail Nature Center is a quiet place to learn about sustainability, the environment, plants, animals, birds, and other nature-based topics. Located on the seven-acre lot once occupied by a 1940s farm, the free center offers interactive hiking trails, exhibits, and tours on everything from birds to beaver ponds. If you have time, check out the other Walking Mountains sites as well: the Avon Tang Campus and Nature Center, located at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola from the ski resort.


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Cross-country ski at Vail Nordic Center

Vail is famous for its downhill trails, but the valley is also a great place to sweat while cross-country skiing. Vail Nordic Center offers over 10 miles of groomed trails reserved for classic skiing or skating, plus six miles for snowshoeing and eight miles for fat bike (a winter-friendly style of bike with big cushion tires) . The center, run by the Vail Recreation District, also offers daily lessons, on-site rentals, and a cafe to warm up after a day on the snow. EagleVail also offers five miles of groomed trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, as well as specially designed terrain for children.

Have a chic picnic

Instead of just packing a trail mix to eat on your hike, why not dine in style among the aspens and evergreens? Vail-area businesses like Picnic Vail and The Grazing Fox specialize in planning the perfect picnics, ranging from simple plates of meat and cheese to elaborate spreads prepared by a “picnic concierge.” This is a great option for a special occasion or just to celebrate the fact that you are on vacation in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.

A woman leads a llama carrying camping gear across a stream in Silverton, Rocky Mountains, Colorado
Get more out of the hike through the Rocky Mountains by entrusting the transport to a furry porter: a llama © wanderluster / Getty Images

Go hiking with llamas

Backpacking on your own requires a lot of planning and heavy equipment that you have to carry on your back, all by yourself. Join the Paragon Guides Llamas team in the Vail Valley who can take on the load on multi-day hikes between huts in the Colorado backcountry. If you’re short on time, llamas are also available for shorter “take a llama lunch” hikes.

Blast through the snow in a horse-drawn sleigh

Even if you’re not visiting during peak holiday season, there’s no better way to enjoy the serene, snow-capped scenery of the Vail Valley than from the comfort of a horse-drawn sleigh. Located 20 miles west of Vail, 4 Eagle Ranch offers sleigh rides that start with a hot drink and bowl of chili, then end with a ranch-style dinner and s’mores around the fire pit. camp. Sleigh rides are also offered at Bearcat’s Cabin and Beano’s Cabin.

Go out on the water on a stand-up paddle

Vail’s weather is downright gorgeous during the summer – balmy 70 degree temperatures, lots of sunshine, and a few light breezes. While not a beach vacation destination, the Vail Valley offers plenty of ways to get out on the water, including on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP). If you’re new to the sport, head out to the calm waters of Lake Nottingham (where you can also rent paddle boards and pedal boats) or book a stay at Piney River Ranch, which offers guests access to Piney Lake. You can also take a guided SUP tour at Sylvan Lake State Park with operators like Timberline Tours.

Treat yourself to a spa treatment

Enjoy concerts and outdoor performances at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater

On a warm summer evening, nothing is more relaxing than rolling out a blanket on the lawn of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, relaxing and listening to a live band or watching a ballet. With fascinating architecture and a stunning mountain backdrop, the open-air amphitheater – named after the country’s 38th president, who regularly visited Vail during and after his presidency (he had a home near Beaver Creek) – is one of the most picturesque performance venues in the area. “The Amp,” as it is affectionately known, hosts renowned musicians, live theater, dance performances and several festivals.

Hit the links on one of Vail’s golf courses


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