River Rafting#9 in Best Things To Do in Vail
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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 on the nearby Eagle, Colorado and Arkansas rivers.
If you're traveling with kids and looking for a mild ride that doesn't require much skill, stick to Vail's Whitewater Park or the upper Colorado River. For a little more action and maneuvering, consider the middle Eagle and upper Colorado rivers. Experienced paddlers looking for a challenge may want to tackle the middle and lower Eagle River, Brown's Canyon, Shoshone or Gore Creek, which offer medium waves, 3- to 5-foot drops and more maneuvering. Consider yourself an advanced rafter? Gore Creek, Edwards Mile, Dowd Shute, upper Eagle and The Numbers will require some sharp maneuvers over the large waves, long rapids and considerable drops. The Class V rapids (Pine Creek, The Numbers and Gore Canyon) are best left to the experts as large waves and rocks can be very dangerous for inexperienced passengers.
Tagging along on a guided tour is the best way to experience the rapids. Sage Outdoor Adventures, Timberline Tours and AVA Colorado Rafting are all popular companies recommended by recent travelers. Trips are generally offered from May to October and last a minimum of four hours. Some trips have a minimum age requirement; Class I or Class II (the milder trips) generally require children be at least 2 years old. Prices can vary too, but you should expect to pay at least $50 for children 6 and younger and $90 for adults. Visit each company's website for more details.
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#1 Vail 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 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.
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