An Insider's Guide to the Valley's Best On Mountain Adventures

From must-hike trails to high-flying outings, our reader-endorsed recipe makes for the perfect Vail Valley summer on the slopes of Vail and Beaver Creek.

By Kirsten Dobroth June 12, 2017

Vail and Beaver Creek Mountains are home to more than just skiing, there's mountains of summer adventures waiting to be had. 

Must-Hike Trail on Vail Mountain: Berrypicker

If you’ve huffed all the way up the 3.2-mile singletrack path toward Eagles Nest and you just moved here, congratulations, you can finally call yourself a local. If you don’t live here, we tip our hats to you, as the steep pitch through pines and aspens up Vail Mountain isn’t for the faint of heart—or the weak of lungs. If you’re here in early August and your legs and respiratory system are ready for a challenge, up the ante and register for the La Sportiva Berry Picker Trail Run (Aug 5, 8 a.m., vailrec.com), where racers scramble uphill for the ultimate title of King of the Mountain.

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A lunchtime ride with Beaver Creek Stables.

Insider Tip

If you need a breather, board the Eagle Bahn Gondola in Lionshead and hit the trail from the top, and enjoy the downhill views on your gravity-assisted hike. Open 9:30 a.m.–6 p.m., daily June 9–Sept 4 (closes at 9 p.m. June 22–Sept 2), weekends only Sept 8–Oct 1; $36/adult, one child under 12 rides free with each ticketed adult; vail.com

Where You'll Find Locals

Powering up the trail just in time to catch the sunset over Mt. of the Holy Cross and kick back to the sweet sounds of Friday Afternoon Club at Eagles Nest. June 30–Sept 1, weather permitting; vail.com

Also Try

The Vail Trail


Beaver Creek Stables’ daily Beaver Lake lunch ride. After a morning ride to Beaver Lake on horseback, the journey culminates with lunch at Beano’s Cabin. $185; beavercreekstables.com

Also Try: Hike, Wine & Dine, a 5-mile moveable feast (benefiting Shaw Regional Cancer Center and Jack’s Place) through midmountain aspen groves, with waystations plating cuisine from the resort’s best restaurants. 9:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m., Sept 17; vvmc.com

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Beaver Lake on Beaver Creek Mountain.

Image: Zach Mahone

Must-Hike Trail on Beaver Creek Mountain: Beaver Lake Trail

The 5-mile round-trip trek typically leaves hikers feeling more like they’ve explored a national park than a luxury ski resort, as the trail meanders through aspen forests and over bridge-crossings to an alpine lake nestled in the pines. If you’re unsure of the terrain or the route, hire one of the pros at the Hiking Center in Beaver Creek Village to be your guide. beavercreek.com

Locals Say

“Rain or shine, once you get there you won’t want to leave.”

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Vail Mountain's Game Creek Canopy Tour.

Best Way to Add Zip to Your Summer: Game Creek Canopy Tour

As you zing across seven vertiginous zip lines—more than two miles of cable are slung as high as 300 feet above the meadows of Game Creek Bowl—you’ll soar, and scream, like an eagle.   

Insider Tip

Splurge on the Zipline Tour Pass and after your Game Creek zip, you’ll also have unlimited access to the Forest Flyer alpine coaster and all Adventure Ridge activities (from high ropes courses to summer tubing). $199; vail.com

Where You’ll Find Locals

On Sundays, toasting with mimosas between bites of foie gras, pheasant, and Colorado lamb at the Game Creek Club’s sumptuous brunch—a must whenever friends are in town for the weekend. 11 a.m.–2 p.m.; $48; gamecreekvail.com

Also Try

Zip Adventures at 4 Eagle Ranch in Wolcott, which offers a half dozen different zip line courses to brave, ranging in fear factor from “The Bunny Hill” to “What Was I Thinking?” and “The Canyon Plunge,” a 65-foot vertical drop with a happy ending (thanks to a magnetic braking system) that will leave you shaking, and laughing, with relief. $170 ($155 after Sept 10); zipadventures.com 

Locals Say

"It's on my Vail Valley bucket List. Everyone keeps wimping out on me, but I'm doing it this year with or without them."    

Signature Summer Thrill Ride: The Forest Flyer

Everyone feels like a kid again on Vail’s alpine coaster. Case in point: Even Colorado Senator Cory Gardner let his starched collar down on the mountaintop coaster during his visit to the area last summer, savoring the Gore Range views as he careened through the pines and screamed 3,400 feet down the mountain. Open 10 a.m.–6 p.m., daily June 9–Sept 5, weekends only Sept 8–Oct 1; $27/ride; vail.com

Locals Say

"Coaster!" “The new alpine slide!  Wow, is it thrilling!”


Vail Mountain’s signature MTB trail, this 5-mile stretch of singletrack traverses three of the Back Bowls (Sun Up, Sun Down, and Game Creek), which are just as stunning in summer as in winter. vail.com


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