Winter season begins Monday on Vail Pass |

Winter season begins Monday on Vail Pass

Certain recreation trails will be open for over-the-snow vehicles starting next week

A snowmobile at the Vail Pass Recreation Area. Winter season in the area begins Nov. 15.
Courtesy Photo/Vail Daily archive

The transition from summer to winter recreation management at Vail Pass will take place on Monday, Nov. 15.

Beginning Monday, the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area opens to over-the-snow-vehicle travel in motorized travel zones.

The Shrine Pass Road (Forest Service Road 709) will be closed to wheeled vehicles at Vail Pass and Red Cliff, and the Resolution Road (Forest Service Road 702) and McAllister Road (Forest Service Road 708) will be closed to wheeled vehicles at Camp Hale.

“We typically make this transition in mid-November so we can prepare the area for regular winter grooming,” said Dillon District Ranger Adam Bianchi.

Bianchi encourages people to plan ahead if they are looking to visit Vail Pass this winter. Vail Pass is an extremely popular winter recreation area for backcountry skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. The visitor parking lots typically fill by 9:30 a.m. on Fridays, weekends and holidays. Visitors are asked to park only in designated areas; parking in unauthorized areas causes road safety issues and inhibits plowing.

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If the lots at Vail Pass are full, visitors will need to come back at a later time or access the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area from trailheads at Camp Hale or Redcliff.

Fee collections will begin on Nov. 27. Day passes are $10 and season passes are $65.

“These user fees fund trail grooming, plowing, ranger patrols and visitor information services, which we provide in partnership with the Vail Pass Task Force,” Bianchi said. “Forest Service rangers will be staffing the entrance booth at Vail Pass seven-days-a-week this season.”

Day passes can be purchased on-site at the trailheads. Season passes are available at Vail Pass via credit card at the automated fee machine. Season passes will also be available beginning Nov. 22 at the Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District in Minturn, 970-827-5715, and the Dillon Ranger District in Silverthorne, 970-468-5400.

Additional information on the winter recreation area, including georeferenced Avenza trail maps for mobile devices, is available at

Recreate responsibly, be respectful of other users and get the avalanche forecast:

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