An Adventurer’s Paradise: Must See and Do’s in the Vail Valley

Surround yourself with the Valley’s beauty

Scale mountain tops, sleep under the stars, and experience the wilderness. The Vail Valley has hiking trails and camping sites galore, all ready for you to explore. The Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance provides information and recommendations about our local trails. For an immersive experience, take your backpack and sleeping bag and do some overnight camping in the Rocky Mountains.

If you’re looking to enjoy nature but with a roof over your head, check out Piney River Ranch. Well-known due to its prime location at the base of the majestic Gore Range while sitting on the edge of Piney Lake, Piney River Ranch has a variety of activities including fly-fishing, horseback riding, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding, and more. Piney River Ranch is renowned for its breathtaking hiking and camping opportunities. Consider reserving one of their cozy cabins, or if you’re looking for an elevated camping experience, try one of their “glamping” tents: a luxury camping scene in a well-appointed safari-style canvas tent complete with real beds and soft sheets.

Enjoy the cool rush of Colorado waters

The Colorado River provides some of the most exciting and exhilarating rafting experiences in North America. The Vail Valley boasts both whitewater rafting and tubing opportunities. Sage Outdoor Adventures provides multiple options for trips of all different levels, from first-time rafters to experienced, high-adrenaline seekers.

If you’re looking for a more mellow way to enjoy the Colorado River, try a relaxing float trip with Turtle Tubing. Tubes with high sides and bottoms protect you from the chilly river water, but you are more than welcome to jump into the refreshing snow melt at any time. The Turtle Bus will bring you to the river and drop you back at your car for your ultimate convenience.

For a slower-paced, nature-immersive experience, consider visiting Nottingham Lake & Beach. Conveniently located in the heart of Avon, try renting a pedal boat, kayak, or stand-up paddle board for some relaxing fun. Or visit their beach and take a dip in the lake’s cool waters and enjoy the feeling of sand between your toes.

The various creeks, streams, and rivers in the Vail Valley offer many opportunities for reel fishing and fly-fishing. If you’re an experienced pro, or just dipping your toe in the water, the Valley has multiple resources here to help. If you’re looking to rent equipment, get advice, take some lessons, or even go on a guided trip, check out Gore Creek Fly Fisherman, Vail Valley Anglers or Sage Outdoor Adventures for all your fishing and fly fishing needs. Pro tip: be sure to check if you need to purchase a fishing license before casting your line.

Feel the wind in your hair

Mountain biking is a favorite Valley summer activity. Stop by one of the many rental shops to find the perfect bike, and chat with any of their employees to receive great recommendations for trails in the area. Not interested in mountain biking but wanting to get on a pair of wheels? Try e-biking around the Valley on paved paths. Find your perfect pair of wheels by visiting one of these local businesses.

There’s nothing quite like seeing the Valley’s mountain views and expansive meadows from the back of a horse. If you’re a seasoned rider or just a beginner, we highly recommend enjoying a trail ride while you’re in the Valley. Beaver Creek Stables is well-known for its horseback riding lessons and rides, located on Beaver Creek Mountain. Horseback riding is also available at Sage Outdoor Adventures, 4 Eagle Ranch, and Piney River Ranch with trail rides, lessons, and more for you to take advantage of.

Get rough and rowdy

For the adrenaline junky, or anyone interested in a pulse-pounding experience, try ATV or Jeep riding. Discover back country roads, enjoy well-tracked trails, and experience the Valley landscape in a new way. Sage Outdoor Adventures has you covered with ATV Tours that take you around the most recently extinct volcano in Colorado, or around their 20,000 acres of land through private tours. Want an aerial view of our Valley? Try ziplining with Zip Adventures for fast-paced fun.

Refresh and rejuvenate with help from healing mountain waters

Looking to wind down after the activities you’ve been enjoying? Head to Iron Mountain Hot Springs and visit their mineral hot springs pools with multiple healing benefits on the bank of the Colorado River. Round out your action-packed adventures with a visit to the Springs, or visit whenever you’re looking for some slower-paced fun and relaxation. Be sure to visit their website to reserve a three-hour ticket.


This blog was made possible through a grant from the Colorado Tourism Office.