Vail, Colorado is the home of the amazing Vail Ski Resort, making it one of the premier destinations for winter activities like skiing and snowboarding. Whether you are coming to tour the town, ride the 10,000 foot gondola, or do some fishing, we can help. This article will help you plan your visit with detailed information, and plenty of suggestions so you will know exactly what you want to do, and how to do it, when you get there. A quick word of caution is in order: the high elevation is something to look into and consider before coming to Vail, Colorado. So be aware of the Vail Colorado elevation while planning your trip. The mountains make a great staging area for all different kinds of summer and winter activities, but the elevation does take some getting used to. Keep reading to learn all about the endless fun and adventure you can have in Vail, Colorado.
Where is Vail, Colorado
Where is Vail located? Nestled at the base of Vail Mountain, Vail is a small Colorado town with a lot to offer. The town is a little over 8,000 feet above sea level and is found in the midst of the White River National Forest. There are several lakes and rivers that run through and around the town. The Vail area is a small community that relies on tourism for its economy, so you can expect them to deliver a great time to their many visitors throughout the year. Vail Co zip codes are 81657 and 81658.
Best time to Visit Vail, Colorado
While the crowds get bigger and the hotel rates go up from December, January, February and March, these months are still the best time to visit Vail, Colorado, as well as nearby mountain towns, because that marks the beginning and the end of the ski season. It would be well worth it to pay a little more for the hotel, or wait in slightly longer lines to experience all the winter fun that Vail has to offer. June, July, August, September offer milder weather and smaller crowds, and there is still plenty to do during those months, but the winter activities are the real prize in Vail. And while you’re here, you can get more information from the Vail visitor’s bureau if you’re wondering about what to do and places to visit in Vail.
Weather in Vail, Colorado
During the ski season from December, January, February, and March, you can definitely expect cold weather, so make sure you bring everything you will need to bundle up. During the winter months, the temperature can drop below 30°, and you might see as much as 30 inches of snowfall or more. This is perfect weather for skiing, tubing, and snowboarding – just make sure you don’t forget your hats and gloves. It may be a little cold sometimes, but on a positive note, there are over 300 days of sunshine every year in Vail. So, Vail weather is something that you can always work with as you’ll find the right time throughout the year to visit, but it’s always advisable to check the weather forecast before taking off to Colorado!
15 Things To Do in Vail, Colorado
1) Visit Vail Nature Center
The Vail Nature Center is snuggled between a serene mountain meadow and a wooded bank of Gore Creek. This 1940s house, the Vail Nature Center, which is dedicated to educating visitors with fascinating exhibits and knowledgeable staff. There are several programs available to visitors, including hiking, bird watching, stargazing, tours of nearby beaver ponds, wildflower viewing, and much more. The Vail Nature Center welcomes all ages, and you don’t even have to drive there because there is a bus that will shuttle you there right from town. This is one of the best things to do in Vail during the summer.
2) Take a Mountain Tour
Vail Ski Resort offers complimentary tours of the mountain to their guests. These are guided tours by knowledgeable hosts, so you will have great information and direction, and you will not have to worry about a thing.
This is a great way to get to know the area and the history of Vail, as well as that of the resort itself. You will have a chance to witness some spectacular views, and maybe even get a look at some local wildlife as well. So if you are saying in most Vail Colorado ski resort, you’ll have a lot of amenities at your disposal.
3) Hike Deluge Lake Trail
If you want to get out and experience some of the mountain’s natural beauty firsthand, pack some supplies and hit the Deluge Lake Trail. The trail is about 9 miles out and back, so make sure you come prepared with food and supplies. Dogs are also welcome on the trail, as long as they are kept on a leash. This perhaps one of the best hiking trails in Vail Colorado!
4) Visit the Town
While you are enjoying your vacation, you might as well spend some time in the picturesque little village of Vail, Colorado. If you can imagine being inside a beautiful and peaceful snowglobe, you can imagine Vail. The village was established in 1966, four years after Vail Ski Resort.
Since then, it has blossomed into a quaint, but vibrant little town that holds regular events and festivals. Vail is a village dedicated to creating a fun and welcoming environment for the many tourists that visit each year. Whether you are visiting in the summer or the winter, there are plenty of activities and sights to see all year long. And if you’re driving – example Vail to Colorado Springs or Colorado Springs to Vail, you’ll be glad to be here and it will be worth the 3-hour drive and 160 miles between both cities. This stunning place is one of the top places to see in Vail during the summer or winter.
5) Take the Kids to Bighorn Park
Why not give the little ones a chance to run around the playground and burn off some of that energy with other kids their age? Bighorn Park has a great playground area, lots of open space for running and games, and simple amenities like restrooms and seats. There is also a lake and a dog run in the park. If you are looking for things to do in Vail in the summer, visit this playround which is one of the best in the country.
6) Do Some Snowshoe Hiking
If you are visiting Vail during the snowy winter months, you might think that hiking is a little impractical. With a solid pair of snowshoes, which can be rented from multiple locations around the resort and town, hiking in the winter becomes a challenging and fun activity all its own.
There is so much nature and scenery to experience in and around Vail, it would be a shame to miss the chance to see it all when it is covered by a blanket of pure white snow. Snowshoes will make the hike a little easier, and for most it will be a new experience that they can remember for years to come and one of the best things to do in Vail in the winter!
7) Go Tubing
Wondering about winter Vail activities? If you don’t trust yourself on a snowboard or a pair of skis, or maybe you would just like to do something that requires a little less skill while still being loads of fun, consider tubing down some snowy hills in Vail. Tubing is fast-paced fun that does not require much in the way of practice or lessons. Just get on, start sliding, and have fun. Visit Vail’s Adventure Ridge for tubing and much more.
8) Enjoy Some Fishing
If you enjoy fishing, then you won’t be left for too long wondering what to do in Vail Co on your next Vail vacation. There are three main sources of fishing in the Vail Co area, including Gore Creek, the Colorado River, and Eagle River. Gore Creek has become a fisherman’s favorite over the years. Gore Creek Fly Fisherman is the oldest fishing shop in the Valley, and certainly the most prominent provider of guided fly-fishing tours in the Vail area.
Gore Creek is capable of producing 60 pounds of trout per acre in some spots, which explains its popularity among visiting fisherman. Don’t forget to spend some time at the Colorado River, and Eagle river as well. Vail has no shortage of fishing spots, supply shops, and pros that offer guided fishing tours of the area. Want to get in on Vail activities then go fishing when you visit.
9) Visit the World’s Highest Botanical Garden
If you love the sight and smells of a well-maintained garden, then be sure to stop by and pay a visit to Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, the highest botanical garden in the world. The mission of the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is to not only to educate their visitors about the steady decline of high elevation alpine flora, but also to allow visitors to spend some time enjoying the peace and tranquility that is not found anywhere quite like a beautifully kept botanical garden. The garden is open all year long, but be aware that the paths are not maintained in the winter, so watch your step. So if you visit Vail Colorado, please visit the botanical garden!
10) Visit the Colorado Snowsports Museum and Hall of Fame
If you are a big snow sports enthusiast, or if you just became one after hitting the slopes for the first time, you should consider paying a visit to the Colorado Snowsports Museum and Hall of Fame. It’s a top Vail attraction for tourism for families on a Vail vacation.
This is a modest museum displaying many of the past achievements in various winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, and mountain climbing. This is a great way to warm up for a little while and learn a few things about some great accomplishments in winter sports.
11) View Some Art at Masters Gallery
In between all the high-speed fun in the sun or on the snow, take a break for a little culture and refinement. Masters Gallery is an art museum in Vail. The gallery features several established artists, as well as several promising up-and-comers. If you want to enjoy some time taking in some thought-provoking art, be sure to stop by and view the paintings and sculptures at Masters Gallery and enjoy one of the top tings to do in Vail.
12) Spend a Day at Epic Discovery
Maybe you’re thinking to yourself that you should not bother going to Vail, Colorado until the winter months… What could there possibly be to do at a ski resort in the summer, right? How about adventure courses, ziplines, mountain roller coasters, climbing walls, and a whole lot more?
Epic Discovery is the place to be for nonstop fun of epic proportions! There are high-intensity courses and rides just for the grown ups, starter rides and courses for the kids, and mid-level fun for everyone to enjoy together. Check online for rates and schedules. If you’re wondering what to do in Vai Co, this should be on your list of to-dos.
13) Hike Gore Creek Trail
Gore Creek Trail is about 7.3 miles from point to point, and has an ascent of 3,000 feet, so this will not be a leisurely stroll. Of course, if you aren’t looking for a challenge, there is no reason that you cannot just walk part of the trail, that way you will not miss out on all the gorgeous scenery and wildlife to be explored around the creek. The mountains of Colorado have some of the most breathtaking views in the country, so do not miss out on the opportunity to take it all in. Bring some extra supplies so you can take your time, and feel free to bring your canine friends as well, as long as they are on a leash. This is a great day trip if you are looking for things to do in Vail coming from Denver – the distance is just under two hours.
14) Go Skiing
It may seem almost too obvious to suggest, but one of the very best reasons to visit Vail, Colorado is for the epic skiing locations. The biggest and most prominent ski resort in Vail is the Vail Ski Resort. With over 5,000 acres of skiable land, there is no shortage of space for everyone. There are hills for beginners, intermediate, or expert level skiers.
If you are a first time skier and want to get a little boost to your skills on the slopes, sign up for ski lessons online. There are also lessons available for children, private or group lessons, and snowboarding lessons. With well over 400 snow guns throughout the resort. Over 500 acres are covered by the state-of-the-art snowmaking equipment, so there will never be any shortage of snow, even in the early ski season. One last thing of note, there is plenty of lodging around the resort, so you will never have to waste any time driving to the slopes before you strap on those skis and start having some winter fun!
15) Go Backpacking at Booth Lake
This one is not for the faint of heart, at least not if you plan to hike the entire trail. From one end to the other the trail at Booth Lake is ten miles long, and gains about 3,000 feet in elevation. The best time of the year to hike the trail is from May to November, as it can get quite difficult in the months with the heaviest snowfall. As with most of the trails in the Vail area, dogs are very welcome, but they must be kept on a leash. Booth Lake has some stunning scenery, plenty of opportunities to view wildlife, and fairly high traffic so you will be able to get to know some of your fellow hikers while you enjoy the trail.
There is so much to do in Vail, Colorado that we could hardly cover it all in just one article. From skiing to hiking, from fishing to viewing art, visitors will be immersed in constant fun, education, and culture from the moment they arrive. If you are planning a visit to Vail, Colorado, be sure to research the many activities to do, and places to visit, because there is so much that you could hardly pack it all into just one trip.