Lots to do besides parades and fireworks in Vail Valley
VAIL, Colorado – Vail America Days might be the big draw to Vail over the Fourth of July weekend, but the Sunday parade isn’t the only thing to do in town.
As the parking garages fill up and cars take up spots along the frontage roads, it’s pretty obvious that the Fourth of July is Vail’s single busiest day of the year – busier than any winter powder day.
In an effort to help people navigate their ways through the crowds, here’s a few suggestions for things to do other than the parade this weekend.
The rapid snowmelt in early June that raised rivers to flood levels is long gone – now it’s fishing time. Locals say now is the time to get out on the river and catch fish like browns, brooks, cutthroats and rainbows.
The waters have warmed up to temperatures in the 50s, and levels are down low – perfect for wading or float trips.
Mark Sassi, of Gore Creek Fly Fisherman, said the shop’s four locations in Vail, Beaver Creek, the Westin Riverfront and the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch are all offering free daily casting clinics throughout the summer, including the holiday weekend. The clinics are great for those looking to try the sport or for those wanting to improve casting techniques.
Fly-fishing is good for families looking to try something outdoors over the holiday weekend. Many local companies offer guided trips and you can book trips almost anytime.
“Fishing is awesome right now,” Sassy said.
The Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival is in town all through July, with performances this weekend that include a blues tribute Saturday at 6 p.m. by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
This “Nothin’ But the Blues” performance is one of the highlights of Bravo’s month-long festival in Vail, said Bravo founder John Giovando.
The performance is festive and perfect for the holiday weekend, he said.
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra is also performing a patriotic concert Sunday at 2 p.m., at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. The concert, called “A Salute to Freedom,” will feature upbeat patriotic songs.
Reserved seating is $15, while lawn seats are free, but first-come, first-served on the day of the show.
The mountain is a great way to escape the crowds when things are going on in town over the holiday weekend. It’s also a great place to get a bird’s eye view of Vail during the scenic gondola ride to the top.
Gondola rides up to Vail’s Adventure Ridge are free for 2009-10 and 2010-11 season pass holders, and $22 for adults. Tickets are $15 after 4 p.m., which includes a $10 voucher toward activities, food and beverages on top of the mountain. Children under 12 ride free with a paid adult, and children under 5 are always free.
Adventure Ridge includes activities like pony rides, a trampoline, a climbing wall and disc golf. Vail Mountain also offers horseback rides through the Game Creek Bowl.
Free activities include the slackline park, dino dig for kids, bocce ball and Nature Discovery Center guided hikes.
Vail is surrounded by hiking trails and wilderness areas, where families can travel through the backcountry on foot and check out Colorado wildflowers and national forests.
Hannah Irwin, of the Vail Nature Center, said there are plenty of hikes throughout town good for both novice and amateur hikers.
The Booth Creek Trail is a popular East Vail hike, where hikers climb through aspen groves for the first mile before passing Booth Creek Falls, a 60-foot waterfall. The trail then winds through conifer forests and meadows filled with wildflowers. This hike is in the Eagles Nest Wilderness.
Travel east from Vail on Interstate 70 to exit 180 for East Vail. Exit here and turn left, pass under the interstate and turn left onto the North Frontage Road. Proceed about 1 mile to Booth Creek Road, turn right and continue up this road to the parking area at the end of the road.
For more local hiking trails and information, visit http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/whiteriver/rangerdistricts/eagle_holycross/trails/index.shtml