Parks and Recreation Areas
The Vail Valley has two wilderness areas in close proximity—the truly untrammeled Eagle's Nest Wilderness Area to the northeast in the Gore Range, and the more popular Holy Cross Wilderness to the southwest.
The Eagle River, whose headwaters are on the north side of Tennessee Pass, is an excellent fishing stream, mostly for brook and brown trout in the 6- to 12-inch range. Public access is easiest upriver of Red Cliff on Forest Service land. There's some superb rafting in Gore Canyon on the Colorado River west of Vail, particularly in spring when the river is boiling with snow runoff.
White River National Forest. The land between the wilderness areas of Eagle's Nest and Holy Cross, including most of the ski resorts' slopes, is part of the White River National Forest. Administrative Office , Glenwood Springs, Colorado. 970/945–2521; www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver.