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Best Things To Do in Vail

The majority of Vail's visitors come to tackle the slopes. The Vail Ski Resort boasts 5,289 skiable acres, making it one of the largest single-mountain resorts in the country. If that's not enough powder, head to neighboring Beaver Creek, which is quickly moving up the list of popular ski retreats. However, summer travelers shouldn't rule Vail out. With the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area and the Holy Cross Wilderness Area just a short drive from town, the region boasts ample opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in balmy temps, too.

How we rank Things to Do

Updated June 28, 2017

  • #1
    Hiking
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    Hiking
    free
    #1 in Vail
    Hiking, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Though Vail's ski terrain receives much of the spotlight, the area's many hiking trails are just as impressive. If you've got a car, you may want to consider driving toEagles NestorHoly Cross– two wilderness areas with impressive trails well-suited for backpackers. If you're hoping to trek closer to town, you'll

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  • #2
    Vail Ski Resort
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    #2 in Vail
    Skiing
    TYPE
    More than Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Skiing
    TYPE
    More than Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Boasting 5,289 skiable acres, a vertical drop of 3,450 feet and 31 lifts, the Vail Ski Resort is massive. And Vail's 195 trails cater to a wide variety of skiers, with well-tended slopes for novices and rugged runs for experts. But what's even more impressive is that all of this

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  • #3
    Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
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    #3 in Vail
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    It's no secret that Vail was the preferred vacation spot for former President Gerald Ford and his wife, Betty. In fact, Betty Ford became known by locals as the "First Lady of the Vail Valley" because of her efforts to help this mountain community flourish. In honor of her generosity,

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  • #4
    Holy Cross Wilderness Area
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    #4 in Vail
    Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Straddling the Arkansas River about 30 miles south of Vail, the Holy Cross Wilderness Area makes for a great daytrip during the warmer months. Encompassing an impressive 122,797 acres of rugged Colorado scenery– including jagged mountains, lush valleys and verdant aspen forests– the park is home to 164 miles of hiking and

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  • #5
    Beaver Creek Resort
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    #5 in Vail
    Skiing
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Skiing
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Located about 13 miles west of Vail in Avon, Colorado, the Beaver Creek Resort is the newer kid on the block. Still, since it opened in 1980 Beaver Creek has earned a reputation as a premier ski destination that rivals the heavyweightVail Ski Resort(even though they're both owned by Vail

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  • #6
    Eagles Nest Wilderness Area
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    #6 in Vail
    Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Covering nearly 133,500 acres of the Gore Mountain Range just north of Vail, the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area is not for the faint of heart. This park's 180 miles of trails traverse rugged mountainsides and can expose hikers to a whopping 5,684-foot change in elevation. But those who do take on

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  • #7
    Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum and Hall of Fame
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    #7 in Vail
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Before hitting the slopes, consider taking a quick tour of the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum and Hall of Fame. This small facility in central Vail pays tribute to the region's reputation as a winter wonderland. The museum's exhibits focus on the development of the area ski resorts (and the

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  • #8
    Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater
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    #8 in Vail
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Named for former President Gerald Ford, this outdoor performance venue plays host to some of Vail's most popular events, including theVail Dance Festivaland theBravo! Vailmusic festival. However, according to previous audience members, what makes this amphitheater special is its setting on a hillside in the Rocky Mountains.

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  • #9
    River Rafting
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    #9 in Vail
    Recreation, Sports, Tours
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Recreation, Sports, Tours
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you're looking for an adrenaline-fueled, warm-weather activity, you may want to heed the advice of recent visitors and book a river rafting and tubing trip. Not only does Vail Village boast its own whitewater park, but there are also a variety of Class I to Class V river trips

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