Vail Mountain — one of two world-famous ski mountains in the valley (Beaver Creek is the other) — has recently launched oodles of new summer activities under the theme of Epic Discovery from Adventure Ridge to Game Creek Bowl and down to Mid-Vail. Take the gondola up and walk down amid colorful wildflowers, or for a more heart-pumping adventure, hike up the mountain and catch the gondola back down.
There’s also off-road SUV tours and guided hikes for all abilities. Or discover the aerial ropes course, zipline tour, mini golf and waterless tube track. As you navigate the mountain, keep an eye out for Interpretive Discovery Zones, where you can learn about this beautiful area’s flora and fauna.
Or, savor Colorado’s sun-drenched mountain mornings with a round at one of Eagle County's golf courses. Take on the challenging but fair par 3 river and mountain courses at EagleVail Golf Club, or tackle the Beaver Creek Golf Club’s narrow Robert Trent Jones, Jr.-designed fairways.
After working up an appetite on the links or trails, relax over lunch or brunch at one of Vail’s fabulous restaurants, such as Sweet Basil, Elway's Vail, The Little Diner, La Tour, Mountain Standard or Vail Chophouse.
Then, stroll Vail Village or nearby Beaver Creek Villages for world-class shopping — think fur coat shops, glitzy jewelry dealers and couture clothing outlets as well as more down-to-earth t-shirt shops, art galleries, home décor shops and more — open year-round.
Wind down your afternoon with an alpine-inspired treatment at one of the valley’s premier resort spas. After being pampered by luxuries such as Ultimate Body Bliss at The Spa at The Arrabelle in Vail or Colorado Wild Rose Cure at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, you’ll be refreshed and ready for an unforgettable night in the Vail Valley.
Treat yourself to the unexpected delight of gourmet dining at 10,000 feet with a meal at Game Creek Restaurant, whose location on Vail Mountain overlooking Game Creek Bowl provides unmatched views. Beaver Creek offers another unique restaurant option at Beano’s Cabin, a grand yet rustic on-mountain epicurean experience. Getting to either restaurant is half the fun, with transportation choices ranging from a gondola, wagon or horseback ride.
After dinner, get an earful of the plentiful live music around town. Vail’s Samana Lounge, Shakedown Bar and Pepi’s provide the best opportunities to linger over a cocktail while watching live musicians, and be sure to check the schedules for summertime special performing arts events such as the Hot Summer Nights Concert Series, the Vail Jazz Festival, the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival and the Vail International Dance Festival, which brings dancers from top companies all over the world to a gorgeous outdoor stage.
Eagle is growing in popularity as a homebase in the valley. Centennial Park is a hub of activity in Eagle, with yoga, a playground, Cottonwood-shaded picnic areas, summer concerts and other events. The Eagle Pool and Ice Rink is another hot spot and also the launching point for the town’s main trailheads for mountain bikers, trail runners and hikers. There’s also a pump track, BMX track and a new radio-controlled car track. Brush Creek and the Eagle River run through town and provide for excellent fishing opportunities. Stop in to the Batsons Corner Store to get the inside scoop on conditions.
Avon’s a treat with meandering trails and Harry A. Nottingham Park, home to the state’s largest Fourth of July celebration, paddle boats, stand-up paddleboards, fishing and picnic spots. In winter Nottingham Lake opens for old-fashioned ice skating and hockey. In any season the 10th Mountain Division Huts provide backcountry stopovers for showshoers/skiers and hikers. The West Avon Preserve offers mountain biking and hiking trails for all ability levels, and the beautiful Walking Mountains Science Center connects visitors to a stream, wetlands, pond, aspen forest and National Forest access.
Minturn’s galleries, antique shops and summer farmers’ markets are worth a gander; Red Cliff is a jumping-off point to mountain biking, cross-country skiing, wildflower hikes and more; Edwards’ Riverwalk shopping district has a relaxed feel and several mountain boutiques; and Gypsum has a shooting range, fishing ponds, a championship golf course that’s usually one of the first to open in the mountain region for the summer, the new Dry Lake motorcross track and access to BLM lands.
Visiting in Winter?
Vail and Beaver Creek are home to two of the state's largest and most popular ski resorts. Vail practically set the standard for the modern ski-resort experience, and its famed back bowls and expansive and diverse terrain ensure fun for skiers of all levels. Beaver Creek Resort has delightful amenities like 3pm Cookie Time, wine-and-snowshoe excursions and a First Tracks program for early risers. Both towns have easy access to off-stope attractions, from snowmobiling and snow-tubing to mountain-top dining and sleigh rides.
Photos: Courtesy of The Spa at the Arabelle/RockResorts; Gypsum Creek Golf Course.