Daycations: Bikes, boards and bowling in Eagle
About 30 miles west of Vail, the charming town of Eagle offers all kinds of activities to have fun in the warmer months.
Editor’s Note: “Daycations” is a series showcasing what our local towns have to offer in the shoulder season. Stay tuned for more Daycations stories throughout the rest of May.
Unlike many communities in our valley, people tend to stick around Eagle throughout all four seasons, and with good reasons. The town is close enough to the resorts that locals are able to benefit from all the winter activities and big events that those areas enjoy, but when the lifts close and the warmer months hit, Eagle becomes the envy of valley life, and that, too, is for good reasons.
Enjoy the ride
Bikes are a way of life in Eagle; and no, you don’t have to be a professional or own a bike that’s more expensive than a used car to mosey around town on two wheels (but when you hit the trails, those attributes are surely beneficial). This daycation morning cruise calls for an obligatory java stop to get a seasonally-appropriate “Mud Season” from Yeti’s Grind.
After that, it’s time to ride. Eagle’s Haymaker trail is a 4.9-mile stretch of singletrack with 381 feet of elevation gain, according to MTBProject.com. Asides from a good workout, the trail, designated as intermediate, boasts a variety of terrain to rouse the more advanced riders without creating any “point of no return” scenarios for the intermediates. In other words, you can hop off and walk your bike at any point where you feel you’re beyond your comfort level.
After completing the trail, the BMX pump track next to the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink provides one last fun lap for trail riders and tricksters alike.
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Time to cool off
Speaking of the pool, that is one of the options you have to cool down after breaking a sweat on the trails. But for many of us in Eagle, the river is the preferred place to make a splash.
Most landlocked folk wouldn’t assume that checking the surf would be a morning ritual for some of us in the high Rockies, but that’s how I spent my daycation mid-morning. I met up with local river surfer Ken Hoeve at the Eagle River Park, where kayakers, paddlers and yes, surfers, can catch a wave and get a rush of cool water in their faces. The park has four drops that cater to beginners and intermediates looking for a cheap thrill on their various toys.
Established in 2019, the Eagle River Park has become a popular hangout for river enthusiasts as well as spectators. There’s a gas-powered firepit alongside the riverbank where people can warm up and enjoy the scenery with some food and beverage with good company, but remember that the banks can still be hazardous to both people and pets and to always be mindful of your surroundings. “Lots of people can get complacent around the banks,” Hoeve said. “It’s important to share the fun and safety side of this sport with the young ones that are interested.”
After a morning on the river, it’s time to refuel. Eagle has lots to offer in that regard. I fancy the Brush Creek Saloon for its burgers, green chili and authentic saloon vibe. I come for the food, and stay awhile for the company.
Summoning my spiritual guide
As the day winds down, it’s time to venture to another side of Eagle. 7 Hermits Brewing Company provides craft brews and great views for some sunset sips and early-evening inspiration.
From there, I ponder how to cap off my Eagle daycation, as it seems I have reached a fork. It seems too early to call it a “daycation,” I’m still full from that saloon burger and, as much as I love the charm and nostalgia of the Capitol Theater, I still have too much energy to sit down two hours for a flick. I must channel my inner John Goodman for advice, which is constant and reliable.
“…Dude. Let’s go bowling.”