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Vail Valley Travel Guide

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  • Photo: Steve Estvanik/ Shutterstock

Plan Your Vail Valley Vacation

If Aspen is Colorado's Hollywood East, then her rival Vail is Wall Street West. So popular is this ski resort with the monied East Coast crowd that locals sometimes refer to particularly crowded weeks as "212" weeks, in reference to the area code of so many visitors. The attraction for vacationers from all over is the thin, aspen-cloaked Vail Valley, a narrow corridor slit by I–70 and bounded

by the rugged Gore Range to the north and east and the tabled Sawatch escarpments to the south. Through it all runs the sparkling Eagle River.

The resorts begin just west of Vail Pass, a saddle well below tree line, and stretch 20 miles through the communities of Vail, Eagle-Vail, Minturn, Avon, Beaver Creek, Arrowhead, and Edwards. The vibe in these places varies dramatically, from Beaver Creek, a gated community of second (and sometimes third) megahomes, to Edwards, a rapidly growing and increasingly affluent worker town, to Vail, filled with styles of lodging, dining, and shopping appealing to many tastes.

In winter this region is famous for the glittering resorts of Vail and Beaver Creek. Between these two areas skiers and snowboarders have just over 7,000 acres at their disposal, including the unforgettable Back Bowls far beyond the noise of I–70 traffic. In summer these resorts are great bases from which you can explore the high country on foot, horseback, raft, or bike.

But take heed: all trails go up—though you can cheat and catch the Eagle Bahn Gondola up and hike or ride down. Some trails are designated for bikers, others for hikers, and many for both. Always remember that bikers should yield to hikers, though in practice many consider it courteous to let cyclists blow by. In addition, there are hundreds of miles of trails weaving through the White River National Forest. Warm-weather weekends are filled with an exciting range of cultural events, including performances by such groups as the New York Philharmonic and the Bolshoi Ballet.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. High-altitude golf The thin air at this elevation lets your Titleist fly much farther—enjoy those hero swings at more than a dozen venues.
  2. Romantic meals A number of intimate restaurants are hidden away among the peaks, reachable by ski, on horseback, and even by horse-drawn sleigh.
  3. Rugged scenery The Gore Range presents some of the most sharp-spined backcountry in the state, with ice-cold tarns, sheer cliffs, and shaggy white mountain goats.
  4. The slopes Vail is as real and challenging a ski mountain as you'll find anywhere in the western United States, with the steeps and back bowls to prove it.
  5. Summer festivals Check out some of Vail's many cultural activities—summer is full of music, culinary, and dance festivals.

When To Go

When to Go

Winter is by far the most crowded time in Vail Valley, with early spring seeing the highest number of visitors hoping to catch that blissful...

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Check historic weather for your trip dates:

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