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Holy Cross Wilderness Area picture in Vail
clare_and_ben / Flickr

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  • Hiking, Parks and Gardens Type
  • Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.4
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  • Value
    5.0
  • Atmosphere
    5.0

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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 biking trails. Just make sure to bring your camera: You're sure to come in contact with a few elk. 

Recent visitors recommended the 7-mile Missouri Lakes/Fancy Pass Loop, which offers a scenic route through alpine lakes and towering evergreens. Start your trek at the Missouri Creek Trailhead, just down the road from the Fancy Creek Trailhead. The Vail Recreation District also offers a variety of guided hikes through Eagles Nest and Holy Cross. You can make reservations in advance on the Vail Recreation District website

The Holy Cross Wilderness Area is open to visitors year-round; however, this park is subject to heavy snowfall during the colder months, so wintertime visitors should be extra cautious about not getting lost in the snow. While you don't have to pay to explore Holy Cross, you will have to register for a free permit before beginning your hike. To get to Holy Cross from Vail, start out on Interstate 70 and then take the Minturn exit. The Homestake or Tigiwon Forest Service roads are the most popular access roads. For more information, visit the wilderness area's website.

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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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