The Best Summer Activities in VAIL, COLORADO & EAGLE COUNTY
Vail, Colorado is known for its incredible Mountain Views and expansive valley featuring endless miles of trails to explore in the summertime. With Gravity Haus Vail as your basecamp, you are set up for the ultimate adventure success.
Here’s where we recommend exploring in and around Vail, Colorado – and what gear to use while doing so!
LIFT ACCESS BIKE PARKS
- Gondola One and Eagle Bahn (#19) will be spinning daily from 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM through September 4th
- On September 8th operating hours will switch to Friday – Sunday only and closing on October 1st
TAKE THESE BIKES OUT TO THE LIFT BIKE PARKS:
- Spot Mayhem 150
TRAIL & PATH RIDING
- Intermediate: Cruise up Red Sandstone Rd for 2,200 vertical feet over a couple miles until the road forks. Then enjoy Buffehr Creek trail as it takes you through a great descent through thick aspens.
- Intermediate / Difficult: Starting at the Spraddle Creek Trailhead near the main Vail exit, grind your way up Red Sandstone Rd. The grade is moderate, but it’s over 1,500 vertical to gain, so take your time.
After a couple miles, you come to a fork in the road. Red Sandstone goes straight (the left option) and you would follow it to get to Bufferhr Creek trail or to the Piney Lake area. For this ride, you take the right option, which is called Lost Lake Road.
Stay on that road for only a couple hundred feet, and look for the singletrack (signed) heading off to the right.
The trail is a pleasant climb for 200 more vertical feet, and then the descent starts. The forest in this area is partially dead (pine bark beetles), but most of it is spectacular aspen groves. Smooth singletrack and great views abound.
- Difficult: This big ride starts with a short road climb up the paved Potato Patch Dr before a left turn gets you onto Red Sandstone Rd (700d). Follow this unpaved but smooth road up just a bit before the singletrack starts by turning right onto North Trail – Eastern Section. This is a pretty relentless climb, but it’s beautiful and doesn’t have too many technical sections.
- Intermediate / Difficult: Start off at the small parking lot at the end of the road. Either park or ride from Avon town center.
Start off with a small climb that takes you up part of the Avon Singletree Connector (ASC). From here, get a little downhill warm-up via BLT Jump Line. Then take the connector west to Wyse Way for a more mellow climb to the top. You’ll need to take PB&J to connect over at the top.
Now from the top, the pride and joy is Lee’s Way Down for a fast and fun way back to hit BLT Jump Line again. Take the turns to the left to head back to the parking lot.
You can add a few more laps or take another trail to make a longer adventure. This is the more mellow climb up to the top with the best downhill in the network.
- Vail’s recreation path system includes over 15 miles of paved, multi-use recreation paths with connections to numerous soft surface hiking and mountain biking trails. In addition, Vail’s Gore Valley Trail connects to the Vail Pass Trail into Summit County to the east, and to the Eagle Valley Trail towards Glenwood Springs to the west.
TAKE THESE BIKES OUT ON THE TRAILS & PATHS:
- Specialized Stumpjumper Comp Alloy | Not allowed at bike parks
- Specialized Stumpjumper Alloy | Not allowed at bike parks
- Rossignol Mandate XT | Not allowed at bike parks
- Specialized Sirrus | Not allowed at bike parks
- Giant Escape 3 | Not allowed at bike parks
- The Vail Valley keeps SUP-ers smiling with ponds, lakes and river galore. Hit the glassy petite paddling gem that is Eagle-Vail Pond. Great for a short spin after work, bring the kids and a picnic and visit the adjacent Eagle Vail playground.
- In the heart of Avon, Nottingham Lake is a high country favorite for beaching, pedal boating and SUPing. The serene spot is perfect for relaxing and getting some distance under your board with lush green slopes hugging the lake and opportunities for SUP yoga and intense games of SUP lacrosse played with a soccer ball inside a floating field with goals.
- For a little seclusion and a pristine mountain-soaked shoreline, drive the 12 back-road miles from Vail to Piney Lake. The tucked-away Gore Range ranch and resort offers canoes and SUPs and delicious barbecue to be enjoyed by the fire pit.
- Just down the road in Eagle, 42-acre Sylvan Lake is the quintessential high-mountain lake experience. Paddle around the Colorado state park, take in the White River National Forest vistas, bring the dog and kids and stay the night in one of the park’s yurts, cabins or 46 campsites.
- One of the few free-flowing (un-dammed) rivers remaining in the West, the Eagle River is fed largely from the snowpack on Vail Mountain. Because it relies on that snowpack, it is typically only run in spring and early summer when the snowmelt is at its peak. The picturesque Eagle River runs through Eagle County and provides limitless recreational opportunities like stand up paddle boarding!
TAKE THESE SUPS OUT FOR A PADDLE:
- Bote Breeze Aero
- High Society NorthStar
- Hala Carbon Hoss
- Hala Carbon Straight Up
Distance: 2.1 miles (round trip)
Parents with little ones will appreciate this super scenic mellow hike. Fireweed is situated between Gondola One and the Eagle Bahn Gondola, flowing gradually into shaded tree stands and opening up to expansive views of the ski resort and the valley below. Begin from the top of the Eagle Bahn and head east for a slightly easier downhill route. Cruise through the woods and dip into meadows on the low-intensity stroll — Upper Fireweed (1 mile) and Lower Fireweed (1.1 miles) combine to create the laid-back loop. Kids love the interpretive signs explaining flora and fauna along the way. Grown-ups love the postcard-perfect photo opps.
Distance: 2.6 miles (round trip)
A little higher on the front side of Vail Mountain, you’ll find lollipop-shaped Meadows Loop. Access it from Gondola One, traveling from Vail Village to Mid-Vail. The trail starts right next to the gondola station and climbs uphill to the west. Your sweaty switchbacked elevation gain is rewarded with spectacular meadows drenched in wildflowers and breathtaking Gore Range vistas. Duck in and out of shady forested sections, following the path along the hillside and pausing to take in all the summer beauty and the occasional marmot poking its head out to say hello.
Distance: 3.2 miles (one way)
Hop on popular Berrypicker from the Lionshead base area next to the Eagle Bahn Gondola. Look to the right of the gondola for a bridge and head uphill. The 2,200 feet of serious elevation gain is worth every heart-thumping step, delivering stunning views of the village and distant peaks. Nod to passing hikers and mountain bikers and relish in the chilled out section of trail ascending into a shady aspen glen. Berrypicker opens back up into meadows that sing with a rainbow of thriving flowers, hitting every color in the crayon box. When you reach the top, ride the Eagle Bahn Gondola down or descend by foot for a nearly seven-mile bragging rights journey.
Distance: 2.8 miles (one way)
At the top of Vail Mountain, high-flying aptly named Ridge Route connects Eagle’s Nest to Wildwood. Find it at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola and start heading uphill. The trail is literally breathtaking, beginning at 10,350 feet and meandering across the top of the resort eventually connecting with Ptarmigan Loop. Stop to take in the majestic Mount of the Holy Cross in the distance and head into open meadows and thick pine stands before heading back down and riding the gondola to Lionshead base area for a well-earned patio drink.
Distance: 4.2 miles (round trip)
This one is a little farther from your village home base and will require driving (or busing) to a trailhead. But it’s a Vail classic and a summer must. Booth Falls has a little bit of everything — aspen stands, a moderate climb, views of the valley and Gore Range and a cascading waterfall at the end. Take the time to soak in the scenery as you gain more than 1,300 feet in elevation and go deeper into the wilderness. Local tip: Take the East Vail shuttle from the Vail Transportation Center to the Booth Falls stop, which will place you at about a quarter mile from the trailhead.
Don’t forget to purchase your gondola ticket before riding the Eagle Bahn or Gondola One. For trailhead details, consult this Vail Mountain summer trails map.
GEAR UP FOR YOUR HIKE IN VAIL, COLORADO
- Gore Creek Campground is the closest campground to the town of Vail. It’s located at the end of the Vail Pass/Ten Mile Canyon Trail, on the old Vail Pass Road (also known as Bighorn Road). This is technically East Vail, so the campground is about a mile from the nearest free town bus stop.
- The campground has 8 walk-in tent sites and 16 back-in sites that can handle RVs up to 35 feet in length. There are four vault toilets, but no hookups or showers are available.
- Because of its close proximity to town, Gore Creek Campground is extremely popular. These sites are about 4 miles from the town of Vail, but a small convenience store is located within a mile of the campground.
Located in the Holy Cross Wilderness area near Homestake Reservoir, Gold Park Campground is approximately 20 miles from Vail. The closest town is Red Cliff, but you can find more services in Minturn, just off I-70 and 13 miles from the campground.
The area is in a beautiful forested valley, at the end of which lies Homestake Reservoir. So when you’re tired of shopping or dining in Vail, return to your campsite for some hiking or biking adventures. You might even snag a trout in Homestake Creek.
DON’T GO WITHOUT THIS CAMPING GEAR FROM GRAVITY HAUS!
Mountain Hardwear Lamina R Sleeping Bag
Unique Lamina™ construction maximizes the loft of your insulation; eliminates cold spots; and thermally maps insulation to areas you need the most warmth. By strategically placing insulation, we are able to concentrate warmth where you need it. The proprietary, welded Lamina™ construction enhances loft and eliminates cold spots. Mountain Hardwear’s Thermal.Q insulation (80% recycled) insulates when wet and reduces impact on the planet. The standard mummy cut is efficient, warm, and comfortable.
Nemo Equipment Switchback Ultralight Sleeping Pad
With Switchback, NEMO has redefined the classic closed-cell foam sleeping pad to deliver more thickness and plush comfort in an industry-leading packed size. This pad features hexagonal nodes molded with our dual-density Axiotomic™ foam to create Hypnoelastic™ zones that conform to your body in a perfect balance of comfort and support.
Mountain Hardwear Aspect 2 & Aspect 3 Tents
When afternoon thundershowers and swarms of skeeters threaten to mar an otherwise perfectly pleasant trip into the mountains, the Aspect™ tent offers lightweight yet robust three-season protection. It’s perfect for summer road trips, lightweight backpacking missions, and long walks to backcountry walks. The rain fly features two dry entry vestibules with dual slide zippers for easy exit and entry, ventilation and to maintain airflow on those hot summer nights. Mountain Hardwear’s DAC Featherweight NFL poles are super light—less to carry—and pre-bent for maximum headroom once camp is set up.
- Grab a spike ball or bocce ball light up set and find a grassy patch of lawn around the village or by Gerald Ford Amphitheater and have a game day with fam or friends!