Summer seems to transcend time. The season’s early daybreaks glide with ease into sun-drenched afternoons and never-ending evenings—countless hours to hold memories— strawberry fields, forever.
Even amidst its ripe juice and color, summertime in the mountains can seem as fleeting as a dream. Yet leave it to the midsummer—with more hours to spend beneath the warm sun than a blanket of stars—to make the most of every minute.
Summertime well spent
If you have:
Go with the flow: Free outdoor yoga
Get on your mat, in the sun! Vail Athletic Club hosts an hour of free outdoor yoga on the Solaris Lawn in Vail Village on Saturday mornings this summer. Also, join Eagle-Vail’s Revolution Power Yoga for “Revolution Yoga Rocks The Garden,” Sunday mornings—June 30, July 28 and August 25—for a free 90-minute practice at the Eagle-Vail Community Gardens. Julie Kiddoo, Revolution Power Yoga co-owner and certified yoga teacher, recommends staying after for more fun. “Vendors will include local charities, food outlets, beauty salons, musicians and more,” Kiddoo said.
• www.vailvitalitycenter.com, 970-476-7960
• www.revolutionpoweryoga.com, 970-748-3176
Walk among the wildflowers: Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
These public botanic gardens, east of Vail Village, have an assortment of perennial beds, rock gardens and waterfalls to display some of the world’s more unique and beautiful high elevation plants. Walk through the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens on your own, or attend one of the numerous educational programs for both children and adults.
• www.bettyfordalpinegardens.org, 970-476-0103
Get a hole-in-one: Gore Creek Mini Golf
Head to the Lionshead or Beaver Creek base area for this family-friendly activity. The mini golf courses are each unique — Vail’s with an interpretive animal theme that spotlights a different local species at each hole, and Beaver Creek’s mini wonder with spectacular views surrounding 18 holes.
• www.vail.com/summer/activities/adventure-ridge, 970-496-4800
Stroll for something sweet:
Stay in Beaver Creek or Lionshead after putt-putt for some Rimini Gelato — a homemade and Italian-inspired treat with perfect texture and flavor in over 20 flavors. If you’re in Vail Village, or want to take a walk on the paved path along Gore Creek, stop by Mountain Cupcakes, where chef-owner Lauren Smith will pick out the perfect flavor for you.
• www.riminigelato.com, 970-476-1712
• www.mountaincupcakes.com, 970-306-6422
Try a taste of local: Farmers markets
The Vail Valley has farmers’ markets in Vail, Minturn and Edwards. Walk, shop, eat and enjoy amidst the variety of local food, art and festivities at each venue — Minturn and Edwards on Saturdays; Vail on Sundays.
Saddle up: Horseback riding
Take a guided horseback trail ride through Game Creek Bowl in Vail, beginning at Eagle’s Nest Corral, or trek to the Beaver Creek stables and venture into the aspen trees. Piney River Ranch, a 45-minute dirt drive north of Vail, is a beautiful retreat in the helm of the Gore Range. Head up there for horseback riding, as well as canoeing, hiking and fishing.
• www.beavercreekstables.com, 970-845-7770
• www.vail.com/summer/activities/horseback-riding, 970-496-4800
• pineyriverranch.com/activities, 970-477-1171
Toss a Frisbee: Disc golf
Vail Mountain’s 18-hole self-guided disc golf course begins at the top of the Pride Express Lift. The course is designed for all ability levels and is free to those with their own equipment. Grab a map and rentals at the information desk at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola.
• www.vail.com/summer/activities/adventure-ridge, 970-496-4800
Get some air: Zipline Tours
Venture 30 minutes from Vail or 20 minutes to Beaver Creek to Wolcott, where Vail Zip Line Adventures offers six unique courses for canvassing beautiful creeks and canyons.
• www.zipadventures.com, 970-926-9470
Hit the trail running: Summer Running Series
Lace up your running shoes to traverse Vail Valley’s trails. The Vail Recreation District’s Trail Running Series is comprised of seven races, including the La Sportiva Summer Solstice Trail Run in Beaver Creek on June 22, so go and catch the finish or have a jaunt of your own.
• www.vailrec.com/trailrunningseries.cfm, 970-479-2280
What is SUP?: Stand up paddle boarding
Stand up and float on your own board as you head down one of the many rivers throughout the valley. River guides, such as those from Timberline Tours and Stand Up Paddle Colorado, will effectively teach individuals stand up paddling techniques and river dynamics during the water adventure.
• standuppaddlecolorado.com, 970-453-7873
• timberlinetours.com/guided-tours/stand-up-paddling, 800-831-1414
Destination down-dog: Hiking Yoga
Layer your workout routine with the cardio of hiking and the powerful benefits of yoga.
“There is no better way to take in everything nature has to offer than to gain awareness in your body and mind through yoga,” said Steve Tsilimoss, founder and guide for the new Vail program. “Join me for a public class, or set up a time for a private class for you and your family, coworkers or group of friends.”
• www.hikingyoga.com, 970-306-6261
Pedal pusher: Mountain biking
Hit it hard or take it easy on Vail or Beaver Creek trails. Family cruisers can catch a ride up and explore their way to the base, and downhill junkies can pedal uphill and seek out a technical descent. Grab a map with the listed trails, as well as details about difficulty and potential rides.
• www.vail.com/summer/activities/mountain-biking, 970-476-5601
• www.beavercreek.com, 970-754-4636
Rock on: Midsummer music
Live music is a must in summer, but leave it to the valley’s fantastic venues to make the most melodic memories. Listen for events with Bravo! Vail, Bud Light Hot Summer Nights, ShowDown Town in Eagle, The Vail Jazz Foundation’s festival and weekly concerts and the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek.
• bravovail.org, 970-827-5700
• www.vailjazz.org, 970-479-6146
• www.vvf.org/arts/vail-valley-foundation-free-concerts.aspx, 970-777-2015
• www.vilarpac.org, 970-845-8497
Cast away all day: Fly fishing
Take advantage of free casting clinics in Vail Village, or take a trip with one of the many fly fishing guide companies in the valley.
• www.gorecreekflyfisherman.com, 970-754-5400
• www.minturnanglers.com, 970-827-9500
• www.vailvalleyanglers.com, 970-926-0900
• www.flyfishingoutfitters.net, 970-845-8090
• novaguides.com/summer-activities/guided-fishing, 719-486-2656
Ride the rapids: Whitewater rafting
Another great guided day, whitewater rafting is a very popular summer activity in Vail. Go with some friends or the whole family, and get a true sense of Colorado’s relentless white caps.
• timberlinetours.com/guided-tours/whitewater-rafting, 800-831-1414
• www.lakotaguides.com, 970-845-RAFT
• novaguides.com/summer-activities/whitewater-rafting, 719-486-2656
• sageoutdooradventures.com, 970-476-3700
Sweat, then soak: Glenwood Canyon and Hot Springs
The Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail is 16 miles long — offering a bike ride beneath towering canyon walls and along the raging Colorado River. Start in Glenwood Springs and head east for uphill on the way out and downhill on the way back. A shuttle is also available for a one-way trip. Reward yourself with a therapeutic soak in the world’s largest hot springs pool.
• canyonbikes.com, 970-945-8904
• www.hotspringspool.com, 970-947-2955
Arrive in the late afternoon or evening to State Bridge — an outdoor music venue and river hub — about 40 minutes from Vail by car. Tent camp or stay in a cabin, yurt or tepee along the roaring Colorado River, and spend your days on the water and your evenings dancing to live music.
• www.statebridge.com, 970-653-4444
Sleep under the stars: Sylvan Lake State Park
Sylvan sits at 8,500 feet in elevation, amidst a high mountain scene and away from cell phone service. “Sylvan provides serenity in an alpine park perfect for daydreaming,” according to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website. “Overnight visitors can camp, stay in a cabin or lounge in a yurt while gazing at majestic mountains piercing the deep blue sky. At Sylvan Lake State Park, visitors leave the fast pace behind.”
Reservations are strongly recommended—three to 180 days in advance.
• http://www.parks.state.co.us/parks/sylvanlake, 970-328-2021
“The things we did last summer, we remember all winter long.”
Sammy Cahn (1913–1993), U.S. songwriter.