Your Guide to the Top Outdoor Activities in Vail

Travelers that make their way to Vail, Colorado will find a seemingly endless array of activities to enjoy no matter what time of year they arrive. From downhill adventures in the winter to adrenaline-pumping ziplines in the summer, Vail has something for everyone to enjoy. The following Vail outdoor activities are just a few of the many options available to add to your itinerary the next time travel plans bring you this way.

Then, be sure to request a copy of our complimentary Vacation Guide for even more local suggestions on where to go and what to do during your vacation here. 


11 of the Most Beloved Vail Outdoor Activities

1. Skiing & Snowboarding

When world-class ski and snowboarding opportunities are what you’re looking for, Vail is the place to find them! When the fresh powder falls, Vail Mountain pairs amazing winter terrain with breathtaking vistas to match. The mountain is ideal for experienced and novice skiers and snowboarders alike thanks to the variety of leveled trails and slopes sprawling across 5,000 skiable acres. From the back bowls to the learning slopes, guests will find Vail Mountain to be one-of-a-kind. The mountain also boasts modern lifts and a vibrant après ski culture rounding out the experience with fun at every turn.

2. Hiking

As one our favorite Vail outdoor activities, following the winding trails leads to incredible mountain scenery, and this naturally lends itself to some sensationally scenic hiking trails to explore as well. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely trek or you’re hoping to put your skills to the test, there are plenty of route options to choose from. Eagle’s Loop is a great easy option with an elevation gain of just 41 feet. Along the way, hikers can make the most of views of Mount Holy Cross and the Gore Range as well. Ridge Route is a great moderately difficult trail that’s accessible near Eagle Bahn Gondola and can connect up with Ptarmigan Loop for an extended journey. Willow Lakes is a must-try for experienced hikers looking to conquer nearly 18 miles of terrain featuring stunning peaks, impressive elevation gains, and beautiful lakes along the way.

3. Mountain Biking

Those travelers with a passion for mountain biking will find a variety of routes available to relish across Vail Mountain. These rugged routes offer up some incredible views and if you’re looking for even more of a thrill, be sure to take note that the gondolas at Vail can haul bikes for a downhill focus on the fun ahead. If you’re opting for more of a road biking experience, Vail Pass is a particularly popular route. There are a variety of bike rental options in Vail as well so visitors don’t have to worry about hauling their own equipment along for the journey.

4. Whitewater Rafting

For all of the mountain fun Vail provides, guests who are excited to get out on the water will find whitewater rafting is another popular activity to enjoy in this area. Local companies like Timberline Tours offer customized experiences on the Upper Colorado River that are sure to inspire. Introductions to the activity are always included and your knowledgeable and friendly guide will give you the experience of a lifetime with every booking.

5. ATV Tours

Another fantastic way to take in the Vail terrain while enjoying adrenaline-pumping fun while you’re in the area is to book an ATV tour. There are options to book individual tours as well as side-by-side experiences depending on the company you select. Both Nova Guides and Sage Outdoor Adventures are premier area providers of ATV tours and many of the route options include lunch stops and scenic overlooks that you’ll want to have your camera handy for.

6. Fly Fishing

Vail is home to Gold Medal Streams and among them is Gore Creek. Here, fly fishing is a terrific way to spend a sunny afternoon casting a line, admiring the scenery, and waiting for exciting bites. Experienced fly fishing enthusiasts will also want to make sure they set their sights on Eagle River for some great results and reel-ins. If you’re looking to learn how to fly fish or could use some insight as to the best areas, booking a guided fly fishing experience in Vail is always an option as well.

7. Horseback Riding

It’s hard to imagine a more refreshing or inspiring way to soak up the sights of Vail than on horseback. Fortunately, travelers heading this way will find there are plenty of options to do exactly that! Vail Stables and Bearcat Stables alike offer guided horseback trail rides through the Mountains of Vail, offering up a stunning sight with options to stop along the way and soak it all in. Whether you’re out on the trail for an hour or making it a half-day of fun, it’s an experience you won’t want to miss while you’re here.

8. Ziplining

When Vail-bound travelers are looking for heart-pounding fun and a brand-new perspective on the terrain, a ziplining adventure is the way to go! Zip Adventures provides visitors with access to world-class lines that provide a sky-high view of the mountains as well as a thrilling ride.

9. Snowmobiling

While Vail Mountain captures the mind and imaginations of skiers and snowboarders each winter, those who are excited to get their eyes on backcountry trails will often find snowmobiling is the best route to adventure. While independent snowmobiling is always an option, local outdoor recreation companies like Nova Guides and Vail Backcountry Tours take adventurers down paths they might otherwise overlook. Well-maintained trails can be expected, and many tours include a savory hot cocoa stop along the way too.

10. Dog Sledding

Adventurers who are looking to round out their Vail getaway with unique additions to the itinerary will want to be sure to take advantage of booking an experience with Mountain Musher in the winter. This provider has been helping guests get a hands-on experience with dog sledding in the Vail area since 1989. Those who book dog sledding experiences take to private trails just 20 miles outside of Vail to see how the terrain can be explored with a team of 10 to 12 huskies. Morning and afternoon runs are available to book and a snack break is often included in the itinerary.

11. Vail Adventure Ridge

For comprehensive fun in Vail, a stop at Vail Adventure Ridge is always a good idea! Located at Eagle’s Nest, this stop is family-friendly and is open from June through October. Here, visitors will find everything from ski biking and tubing available to time on the Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster for some true adrenaline-pumping fun. Slow things down with snowshoeing before heading over to Bistro Fourteen for a savory bite. No matter how you spend you’re time, you’re in for unforgettable mountain fun.

Unwind After Your Days of Our Favorite Vail Outdoor Activities

The next time travel plans bring you to Vail, make sure you have incredible accommodations booked through the Lodge at Lionshead. Reach out to the team at the Lodge at Lionshead today to learn more about our incredible vacation rentals available and how we can help you elevate your Colorado experience from start to finish. We can’t wait to see you here soon!

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