30 Jul 2020
Summer in the mountains is so wonderful that our children never want it to end! With the school year beginning online for many families around the country, think of the possibility of extending summertime in the mountains as a potential silver lining:
In “normal” times, we joke that it might take years of repeated visits to enjoy all of the summer activities that Vail and Beaver Creek have to offer. This year, with later start dates and flexible online school and work from home schedules, you could have the chance to pack a whole lot more fun into one epic late-summer early-fall visit.
And while COVID-19 has changed things a little bit around here, you can still partake in your fair share of thrilling adventures with the mountain coaster and extensive mountain bike trail system, and you’re also able to revel in the wildflowers, hike the naturally socially distant trails, take in the gorgeous Gore Range vistas, picnic in the open air and truly let nature take center stage. And as the wildflowers exit stage right to let the yellow aspen leaves take the spotlight, we can assure you that fall is fairly spectacular as well. Rest assured, this back to school experience could be the most stunning ever!
Here are some of the top ways to take advantage of this rare opportunity for a never-ending summer.
Social distancing is built right into horseback riding. It’s more than 6ft between saddles in a nose-to-tail horseback ride and PS that bandana face-covering is the perfect accessory since you look like you truly belong in the Wild West. Our favorite horseback riding outfitters have gentle horses, experienced guides, and awe-inspiring views. You’ll love the slow pace, abundance of sunshine, light breezes and the shimmering aspen trees. Plus, you get an elevated view of the valley (at least 15 hands high!). Hiking and biking might have you staring down at the ground more often than not, horseback riding enables you to sit back in your saddle and fully enjoy the Gore Range or the Sawatch Range from up above the trail! There are rides that suit every schedule: 1-hour trail rides, 3-hour picnics and all-day excursions or you can wrangle up some grub with an evening horse-drawn wagon ride, chuckwagon dinner, and s’ mores by the campfire.
If you’re looking for a different kind of horsepower, your off-road adventure awaits! For those adrenaline junkies in the bunch, go for an ATV side-by-side adventure. This is the real deal with 6,000 acres of private land combined with 14,000 acres of public land and plenty of real Side X Side trails built exclusively for ATV’s. You can even venture around Colorado’s most recently extinct volcano (Don’t worry, recent means at least 10,000 years ago!). Book a group 2.5 hour tour or a private guided tour with our preferred outfitters. Be ready to get dusty and dirty, in the best ways, and rest assured that bandanas, goggles, and helmets are all part of the experience. Social distancing = handled! You’ll have expansive, unforgettable views of the Gore Range or the Sawatch Range, and you’ll be grinning ear-to-ear with no windows, no windshield, and practically no limits!
Jeep tours are always a great way to experience the adventurous side of Vail and Beaver Creek. But you can’t just rent one on your own and hope for the best. Our favorite outfitters provide expert guides, oversized tires, and modified suspension to navigate the steep rocky terrain. Choose from mild to moderate to hold-on-tight tours (with expert guides, of course). Depending on your choice of open-air adventure, you’ll see jaw-dropping high mountain lakes, wildflower fields, and perhaps some local wildlife. All tours offer expansive views of the various surrounding mountain ranges. Mild tours are on established roads where you can breathe the fresh mountain air and enjoy wide-open vistas (with plenty of photo ops along the way). Advanced rugged tours are over rocky terrain, with some dirt, mud, and water crossings that require a more thrill-seeking spirit (you might have your eyes closed a few times!). Tours are deep in the backcountry, so plan on being out for at least 4 hours.
Whether you’re a fly fisher or a rod and reeler, there are many ways to drop a line in Vail and Beaver Creek. No frustrating fishing days around here. Gore Creek runs right through town and is a veritable “trout heaven on earth”. It even boasts a lesser-known Gold Medal Stretch that provides brookies, rainbows, and cutthroats for the novice to the most experienced fishermen. Most of Vail and Beaver Creek’s surrounding rivers are ideal fishing spots because of their clear waters and that coveted Gold Medal Gore Creek stretch. No need for embellishing, you’ll be surprised by how big some of these trout actually are. While Gore Creek is the most obvious spot, Vail and Beaver Creek’s proximity to the Eagle River, the Colorado River, and many hidden high alpine lakes and streams provide plenty of best-kept secrets throughout the area. From private water to public stretches and details on all of our favorite fishing spots in Vail and Beaver Creek, click here.
The snow has melted, the skis are stored for the summer, and it’s time to get into the swing of things! Golf is always a favorite activity for summer and fall. From big-name designed courses from the likes of Robert Trent Jones and Arnold Palmer to the stunning backdrop of the Gore Range, there’s no better place to hit the links than Vail and Beaver Creek. And did you know that the high altitude of the Rocky Mountains makes golf balls fly 10% farther? While it sounds like inflated folklore, the aerodynamic researchers at Titleist concur. At our altitude, your game can certainly go the distance! For details on all of our favorite golf courses in the Vail Valley, click here.
With over 166 miles of hiking trails, summertime hiking is quintessential Colorado. Our wildflowers’ colors explode in mid-late July and the golden aspen trees’ shine in mid-late September. In the meantime, you’re treated to striking mountain views, lodgepole pines, high alpine lakes, and even some wildlife. You can take a gondola or a chairlift up to the top of Vail Mountain or Beaver Creek and hike family-friendly loops or challenge yourself by racking up some vertical on foot. You can also skip the resort areas and embark on beautiful surrounding area trails for serene jaunts or all-day outings. For details on all of our favorite hikes, click here.
Whether you’re on fat tires or a cruiser, an e-bike or a road bike, taking a 2-wheel summer spin to experience the beauty of the Vail Valley is highly recommended. There are plenty of hills for thrills, paved paths for families, and a variety of mountain, road, and e-biking terrain for all types of biking enthusiasts. With over 300 miles of mountain bike trails, you can treat yourself to new adventures for years and years to come. Both Vail and Beaver Creek resorts offer bike haul, especially helpful if you aren’t used to climbing at altitude. This king of the mountain advantage lets you explore moderate to challenging trails without the huffing and puffing required before you even begin. In addition to plenty of mountain biking options, there are also extensive paved pathways that meander alongside rivers, connect the mountain villages, and take you through breathtaking canyons for all levels of road biking, cruiser riding and e-bike tours. Between the wildflowers, the views, and the roaring rivers, you truly can’t make a bad choice on where to spin your wheels for the day. For details on all of our favorite mountain, road, cruiser, and e-bike rides, click here.
When you have winters as robust as we do, rafting is something you shouldn’t leave off of your Vail and Beaver Creek itinerary. Our favorite outfitters lead trips down the Colorado River with Class III and IV+ white water. Rafting adventures range from mild to wild led by guides who are state, CPR and First Aid certified. Trips are planned with safety, scenery, and surge in mind, making rafting one of Vail and Beaver Creek’s most popular summer activities. The amount of adrenaline depends on the time of year you’re planning to visit. A family float in late August might be more of a thrill ride in early June, so if you’re booking your Vail and Beaver Creek vacation specifically for a rafting adventure, let our guest services team know so that we can recommend the best week for your visit. We’ll help you choose the perfect rafting adventure for your group based on ages, experience, schedule, and type of adventure you’re seeking.
If you can swim you can paddleboard. These stable boards on calm waters require a little balance but provide a lot of pleasure. You can just paddle around while taking in the serene scenery of the surrounding mountains, try a yoga pose or two, or use the board as a jumping-off point to enjoy a little alpine swim (a favorite for those under 12!). Our guest services team can point your paddle in the best direction for a calm day on a pristine mountain lake.
With a mountain of adventurous possibilities, the Epic Discovery area on Vail mountain is always an adventurous family favorite. Grab an all-day pass for access to ziplining, tubing, trampolines, gondola rides, and the famed alpine coaster. Take a break and enjoy lunch at Eagle’s Nest at the top of Vail Mountain or pack a picnic for unwinding under the picturesque blue sky. As the slogan goes, you teach your kids how to read and write, but this summer and back-to-school season, it’s time to teach them how to live! Please note that some of the epic discovery activities are not available this summer due to restrictions, but many are including the gondola and roller coaster. Our guest services team can give you the most current details on what your all-access pass includes.
If clocking some serious speed while zipping through the mountains is on your bucket list, then definitely book a ziplining adventure. While you can do a quick zip line at the top of Vail Mountain, there is also a dedicated zip line experience in the surrounding area that is one of the top-rated in the country. The course goes from easy to “what was I thinking” with a bunny hill line to start you off, a green-rated zip line for getting silly with suggested backward and upside down moves, a 400’ long zip line where you can high five a spruce tree along the way, a runway take-off for the fastest ride with views of Jacob’s Ladder, a line that kicks it up a notch with the highest zip perch in Colorado and views of 4 waterfalls and then you finish it off with an epic ending and a 1000’ long ride down the canyon with an “aircraft carrier landing”. Don’t ask and don’t overthink it, just say a little prayer and go! Our guest services team can take care of the details in booking you on this out of this world experience.
If it’s time to put some mileage on your credit card, look no further than Vail Village and Lionshead for unique boutiques, high-end stores, art galleries, and plenty of candy shops to keep everyone entertained. For a fantastic morning of safe strolling, try the Vail Farmers Market (on Sundays) throughout the summer and fall with tasty treats, fresh produce, and dozens of art vendors (all spaced 6 feet apart with plenty of hand sanitizer). If you’re looking for the funkier version, visit the Minturn Farmers Market in nearby Minturn, Colorado on Saturdays throughout the summer for even more artisan goodies.
Hot Air Balloon Rides
If you want to take your Vail and Beaver Creek vacation to new heights, but you don’t necessarily need the adrenaline sidecar, try a beautiful balloon ride. You’ll soar over the Eagle River Valley and enjoy an astonishing bird’s eye view of the area. You’ll take off as the sun rises and toast your safe landing with a beautiful champagne picnic brunch. Flights are weather dependent but usually run from June through September. There’s even an on-site photographer to make sure your memories of the morning are picture-perfect.
Live Music in Beaver Creek Village
Zusammen means together in German. In Beaver Creek, Zusammen brings together live string music and a roving festive alpine feast in the center of Beaver Creek Village. Come with your own family and/or traveling partners, purchase a la carte food and signature cocktails from renowned chefs at the surrounding local eateries, then settle into socially distanced seating that is spread throughout the village. Enjoy the mountain backdrop, the gorgeous classical music and decadent fare. Admission is free, food is purchased a la carte.
July 25, August 8, August 15, September 12, September 19
Live Music on the Rink Stage
July 25: Spinphony
August 8: Spinphony
August 15: Meadowlark
September 12: Spinphony
September 19: Spinphony
Please remember to practice the 5 commitments of containment while enjoying all that our resorts have to offer.
Your extended Vail and Beaver Creek summer and fall adventures await … your vacation home awaits, too! Start your Vail and Beaver Creek home search right here…