7 Things To Do in Vail, Colorado

Every winter, people flock to the small town of Vail, Colorado to hit the slopes of the immense Vail Ski Resort. However, a lot of people don’t realize there’s plenty more to do there. Here are seven ways to spend time in this picturesque town that don’t involve skiing.

Photo by Lucas Vidart on Unsplash

1. Visit the National Forest

If you’re from out of town and hop on a shuttle to Vail from Denver airport, you’ll notice that the city is situated inside White River National Forest. The forest spans more than 2.2 million acres, giving visitors plenty of space to enjoy picturesque scenery and outdoor recreation. You’ll find four huge reservoirs, 2,500 miles of trails and eight wilderness areas to explore.

2. Enjoy Piney Lake

Piney Lake is known for its vibrant blue and the view you get of the Gore mountain range. Aside from typical activities like canoeing and swimming, Piney Lake has a unique excursion that combines hiking and painting. Participants hike a six-mile round trip where they get the chance to paint the gorgeous vista with an instructor.

3. Try Epic Discovery

This mountaintop attraction features activities for the adventurous, like ziplining and tubing. There’s even a ropes course and a single-person coaster you can control with an accelerator and brake. For those who find hiking a little too strenuous or boring, Epic Discovery has an option that will excite.

Photo by Holly Mandarich on Unsplash

4. Hike the Mountain

Vail Mountain is one of the greatest free attractions around. Of the many trails, the Berry Picker route is a good option for those who aren’t hardcore hikers. It’s just over 3 miles each way and leads to the top of the mountain.

5. Shop the Market

For such a small area, the Vail Farmers’ Market has plenty of vendors throughout its mid-June to October season. In addition to the regular fruits, vegetables and locally-made goods, you can find live music and even farm-to-table dinners hosted by local chefs.

6. Hunt for Public Art

Vail has a unique program called Art in Public Places, which makes a great scavenger hunt for visitors. The program includes murals, sculptures and even a street with puzzles built into the brickwork of the path. For those with kids, artist-designed playgrounds are a delight for all ages. You can try to find all the public art pieces yourself, or follow along the complete map to ensure you encounter them all.

7. See What’s Playing at the Amphitheater

Summertime visitors will get to enjoy the open-air entertainment available at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater at very affordable prices. Many of the concerts are free, and there are often games and the opportunity to sample local brews and food.

While Vail is best known for its many ski resorts, locals are proud to share their beautiful scenery, culture and unique creations with visitors at any time of year. Next time you’re in town, try going off the beaten path and you might find yourself having a wealth of new experiences you won’t soon forget.

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