Experience the American West in the Vail Valley

When exploring the Vail Valley, you will find that the legacy and history of both the American West along with the Valley itself surrounds you. While visiting our small towns, you may see original architecture that nods to the Bavarian ski villages Vail was modeled after. Or when you stop by a local restaurant, you’ll get a taste of authentic Western cuisine. Even just taking a step outside, the Valley’s towering mountain ranges, dense forests, sparkling rivers, and expansive meadows invite you to play and connect with nature.

If you’re visiting our Valley in the summer, there is an incredible list of activities to enjoy. From hiking, camping, fly fishing, white water rafting, horseback riding and more – there are many ways to authentically experience Colorado’s summer in the Valley. The rush and thrill of a rodeo is unlike any other, and a true Western experience. The Cowboys Forever Foundation hosts a summer rodeo series at Eagle County Fairgrounds, running from mid-June to mid-August. The Foundation’s main drive in hosting the rodeo is to preserve Western heritage and to support rodeo contestants from around the state of Colorado. Grab a cowboy hat and a pair of cowboy boots and come see the legacy of the American Western Rodeo right here in the Valley. Can’t make it to a rodeo? Try horseback riding. Experience the Valley at a different pace and from a different vantage point. Beaver Creek Stables, Sage Outdoor Adventures, 4 Eagle Ranch, and Piney River Ranch all offer horseback riding activities.

If you’re visiting the Valley in the winter, pay homage to our rich history of skiing and snowboarding by hitting our world-famous slopes. Not a downhill skier? Try cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, fat tire biking, or snowmobiling. After a day of action, consider visiting Iron Mountain Hot Springs for a soak in their warm, natural, healing waters to refresh and rejuvenate.

From activities like hiking, skiing, mountain biking, and even general living, visitors and locals in the Vail Valley can make a big impact on our environment when we don’t respect our surroundings. See our know before you go page to see how you can help ensure the longevity and preservation of our beautiful environment.

From beautiful views to walkable main street strips, take a drive or make some stops and get to know our historic small towns. Red Cliff is a hidden gem of a mountain town with beautiful scenic drives. Minturn is snugly situated between mountain peaks with great access to trails. Eagle’s expansive meadows and ranches make you feel like you’ve stepped into a postcard. If you’re interested in seeing a true Western ranching town, visit Gypsum.

Did you know that the Vail Valley was once home to dinosaurs? Today, our Valley is a gold mine for paleontologists looking to unearth Colorado’s prehistoric past. If you’re intrigued and wanting to learn more, visit the Museum at Dinosaur Junction, recently opened in June of 2022. Located in Edwards, the Museum includes fossils of all kinds – from dinosaurs to sharks to turtles and more. Immerse yourself in the rich prehistoric history of the Valley that is still being uncovered today.


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