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Hiking picture in Vail
Jack Affleck / Getty Images

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  • Hiking, Recreation Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
5.0
Overall
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    5.0
  • Atmosphere
    5.0

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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 to Eagles Nest or Holy Cross – two wilderness areas with impressive trails well-suited for backpackers. If you're hoping to trek closer to town, you'll find several trails on Vail Mountain, accessible from the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola. Here, you'll find trails ranging from short 1-mile hikes (Eagle's Loop and Fireweed) to more intermediate treks (Berrypicker and Ridge Route). Though you will have to pay for the gondola ride ($36 for adults; free for children accompanying a paying adult), the hiking trails won't cost you a thing to access.

If you'd rather not pay the gondola fee, you'll find several hikes on National Forest Service land that are accessible via Vail's free bus system, including Bighorn Creek, Booth Creek, Deluge Creek, Gore Creek, and Pitkin Creek, among others. Recent visitors especially liked the Booth Falls Trail, which sits a little more than a mile from Interstate 70 in East Vail. It's a steep trail, but a favorite among travelers for its wildflowers, waterfalls and view of the Gore Range. You can also sign up for a guided hike of the area with an interactive hiking expert. For more details, visit the Vail resort website.

Wherever you decide to hike, remember to bring plenty of water and snacks (staying hydrated will help keep altitude sickness at bay). For some of the area's steeper trails, you'll also want to have a walking stick or pole to help with traction. Several Vail outfitters, including Paragon Guides, offer gear rental.

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Destination Resorts Vail

Destination Resorts Vail ...

  • 0.1 Miles Away
  • 4.0-star Hotel Class
Lion Square Lodge

Lion Square Lodge ...

  • 0.1 Miles Away
  • 3.5-star Hotel Class
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#1 Hiking 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 ... Read more » Jack Affleck / Getty Images

#2 Vail Ski Resort 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 ... Read more » Jack Affleck / Vail Ski Resort

#3 Betty Ford Alpine Gardens 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 ... Read more » Daderot / Wikimedia Commons

#4 Holy Cross Wilderness Area 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 ... Read more » clare_and_ben / Flickr

#5 Beaver Creek Resort 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 ... Read more » Jack Affleck / Beaver Creek Resort

#6 Eagles Nest Wilderness Area 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 ... Read more » Patrick_Lienin / Getty Images

#7 Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum and Hall of Fame 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 ... Read more » brent flanders / Flickr

#8 Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater Named for former President Gerald Ford, this outdoor performance venue plays host to some of Vail's most popular events, including the Vail Dance Festival and the Bravo! Vail music ... Read more » John Ryan Lockman, ShowLove Media

#9 River Rafting 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 ... Read more » ranplett / Getty Images

Hiking picture in Vail
Blue Skies over Vail Mountain picture in Vail
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens picture in Vail
Holy Cross Wilderness Area picture in Vail
Skiing Beaver Creek picture in Vail
Eagles Nest Wilderness Area picture in Vail
Colorado Ski Museum picture in Vail
Concert at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater picture in Vail
River Rafting picture in Vail
Hiking picture in Vail
Blue Skies over Vail Mountain picture in Vail
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens picture in Vail
Holy Cross Wilderness Area picture in Vail
Skiing Beaver Creek picture in Vail
Eagles Nest Wilderness Area picture in Vail
Colorado Ski Museum picture in Vail
Concert at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater picture in Vail
River Rafting picture in Vail

Though Vail's ski terrain receives much of the spotlight, the area's many hiking trails are just as impressive.  Jack Affleck / Getty Images

The Vail Ski Resort welcomes about 350 inches of snowfall each year. Jack Affleck / Vail Ski Resort

Daderot / Wikimedia Commons

Straddling the Arkansas River about 30 miles south of Vail, the Holy Cross Wilderness Area makes for a great daytrip during the warmer months. clare_and_ben / Flickr

Beaver Creek boasts 1,815 acres of skiable terrain Jack Affleck / Beaver Creek Resort

Intrepid hikers can explore the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area on 180 miles of trails just north of Vail. Patrick_Lienin / Getty Images

brent flanders / Flickr

This beautiful outdoor performance venue  named in honor of former President Gerald Ford  hosts some of the area's most popular events, including the Vail Dance Festival. John Ryan Lockman, ShowLove Media

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.  ranplett / Getty Images

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