Vail, Colorado in Summer: Best Things to Do, See, and Eat

Planning a trip to stunning Vail, Colorado? I’ve got you covered. Here are the very best things to do, see and eat in Vail, Colorado in Summer!

Vail, Colorado Summer Guide

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Vail, Colorado in Summer: Best Things To DO

Explore Vail Village

Vail Village looks like it’s right out of a European storybook! Enjoy walking around this little village and all it has to offer.

Vail Colorado in Summer
Shops in Vail Village Colorado

Go on a Horseback Ride

For the ultimate horseback tour of Vail, you can’t miss booking a ride with Vail Stables. Choose from all-ages trails for the family to semi-technical routes that’ll test your horseback riding abilities as you soak in the beautiful nature around you. 

Summer in Vail Horseback Ride
Vail Colorado in Summer - horseback ride
Vail Horseback Ride in Summer

If horses aren’t your thing, consider checking out Vail Stables anyway for their Goat Yoga classes and Goat Happy Hour!

Walk from Vail Village to Lionheads Village

I love walking along the Gore Creek Path to get to and from the adorable Lionshead Village. At just under 2 miles, this trail is great for anyone and everyone. Walk or run along the path while you enjoy the sounds of the rushing river beside you!

Gore Creek in Summertime

Take a Hike (or two, or three…)

Vail is chock full of hikes appropriate for all ages and ability levels. Here are some of the most popular hiking trails in Vail, Colorado:

    • Shrine Ridge: this moderate ridge hike was originally a Ute Indian Trail. Enjoy gorgeous vistas of the Gore mountain range along this 4.2 mile out-and-back hike.
    • East Lake Creek Trail: this moderate hiking path takes you all the way to Big Lake almost 24 miles away form the parking area, but most hikers go just 2.5 miles in to make it to the river and bridge. Great spot to bring a picnic!
    • Beaver Lake: For more seasoned hikers, you won’t want to miss this trail. This 6.2 mile trek to Pristine Mountain Lake in the Holy Cross Wilderness may be rated difficult and all uphill, but the views are absolutely worth it!
    • Booth Falls: In the warmer months, this trail is a moderate path filled with views of rivers, valleys, and untouched forests, and in the winter, the Booth Falls hike becomes a difficult path best suited for experienced mountaineers.
    • Meadows Loop: An easy to moderate 2.6-mile loop trail that can be enjoyed by all ages.

Retreat to nature at Piney River Ranch

Piney Lake/Piney River Ranch is one of my top recommendations for things to do in Vail, Colorado in the summer. This idyllic Rocky Mountain retreat is only open from late June to early September. Piney River Ranch has something for everyone: you can go fly-fishing, canoeing, hiking, stand-up paddleboarding, or just relax by the fire and enjoy smoked BBQ from their on-site restaurant.

Enjoy the Vail Summer scenery from the Scenic Gondola

Take the Scenic Gondola to the top of Vail mountain for breathtaking views of the Gore mountain range and the mountains of Vail. Kids ride for free, and you can either pack food to bring with you or purchase food and drinks and several stops along the gondola route!

If you’re based in Lionshead, you can’t miss the Eagle Bahn Gondola. While I can’t get enough of the views from any of the gondola rides in Vail, I know many people who swear the views from the Eagle Bahn route are some of the very best, with vistas of Vail’s back bowls surrounded by Rocky Mountain peaks.

Stroll through Vail's Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

Looking for things to do in Vail, Colorado in the summer that are a little more laidback? Be sure to check out the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, the highest botanical gardens in the entire world. I love just strolling through the sprawling five acres of gardens, but you can also take guided garden tours between Memorial Day and Labor Day for just $10 a person.

Explore the wilderness by ATV

What to do in Vail in the summer if you’re an adrenaline junkie? Take an ATV trail ride of course! If you’re bringing your own ATV, you can ride along Lime Creek Road, Resolution Mountain Road, and Shrine Pass Road, just to name a few. 

ATV Riding near Vail

If you’re like me and you don’t have your own ATV, no worries! There are plenty of great adventure outfitters that offer rentals and tours. Here are some popular options:

Fly through the forest on the Vail mountain coaster

Coast down a steep 3,400 decline from Vail’s mountaintops to the valley below on the famously fun Forest Flyer mountain coaster (photo below from website)! The coaster is open between 10 am and 3 pm in the summer. You can purchase a single ride for $27, or indulge in the Coaster and Brews package, my personal favorite option. For $75, enjoy a coaster ride followed by two pints of beer and a basket of wings at Bistro 14!

Forest Flyer in Vail Colorado

Go Tubing in Vail, Colorado in Summer at Eagle’s Nest

Tubing down the mountain isn’t just a winter activity! Located at Adventure Ridge in Eagle’s Nest, Vail’s summer tubing hill takes you down a thrilling 330-foot decline. For “little adventurers,” there’s Marmot Mini tubing for ages 3 and up. 

Summer Tubing in Vail Colorado

Note: you’ll need to purchase a Scenic Gondola ticket in order to access Adventure Ridge, which is located halfway up the mountain.

Best Places to Eat + Drink in Vail, CO

Best Bars + Pubs:

There are a lot of great bars and pubs in Vail, CO! Here are some of the top-rated/most popular ones:

Where to Stay in Vail, Colorado in Summer

We stayed at the Four Seasons Vail and it was INCREDIBLE! Read more about our stay here.

Four Seasons Vail Review

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