Vail Valley summer suggestions |

Vail Valley summer suggestions

Chris Outcalt
Vail, CO Colorado
Vail Daily file photoParagliding in an daring activity Vail Valley residents can try this summer

VAIL, Colorado ” When Arapahoe Basin stops running its chair lifts on June 7, ski season will officially be over in Colorado. But there’s plenty to do in Colorado’s Vail Valley this summer.

Here are just a few suggestions, in no particular order, of some things to try during the next few months.

Hiking one of Colorado’s numerous peaks above 14,000 feet is a great challenge and the reward is almost always worth the effort, said Nate Goldberg, director of the Beaver Creek Hiking Center.

“It’s very rewarding and very challenging ” you’re on top of the world, the views are spectacular,” Goldberg said. “It’s nice to work up to it.”

Quandary Peak and Mount Elbert are two popular 14ers in the area, Goldberg said. Quandary, which has an easily accessible trail head, is near Breckenridge. Elbert is southwest of Leadville and is highest mountain in Colorado.

Just building up some endurance isn’t enough to hike a 14er. Being prepared is key, Goldberg said.

“Pack like a pessimist and hike like an optimist,” he said. “Even in August you should have a knit cap and knit gloves. The weather at the trail head is a lot difference than it’s going to be at 14,000.”

In addition to having clothing for any weather, make sure to pack high-energy snack foods and plenty of water. Goldberg also highly recommends a pair of trekking poles. And if you start feel nauseous, have a pounding headache or encounter bad weather, turning around isn’t a bad idea, Goldberg said.

“Those peaks have been here for a long, they’re not going anywhere,” he said. “Listen to your body.”

If you’d rather have a little more help hiking a 14er, call the Beaver Creek Hiking Center at 754-5373. It offers a variety of guided hiking options.

There isn’t a shortage of rivers to raft around the Vail Valley, and, if you’re here in the summer, It’s just one of those things you have to do, said Lisa Reeder who works with Timberline Tours.

“It’s exciting,” Reeder said. “It provides people with a sense of adventure.”

Rafting trips are available in a variety of spots including the Eagle, Colorado and Arkansas rivers and there are plenty of raft guides in the area. Try one of these: Colorado River Runs, Lakota River Guides, Nova Guides, AVA Colorado Rafting, Breckenridge Whitewater Rafting, Glenwood Canyon Rafting Inc., Blue Sky Adventures Inc., Liquid Descent, Colorado River Center and Rock Gardens Rafting.

“It’s one of those summer activities in the mountains that you shouldn’t miss,” Reeder said.

The difficulty of rafting trips is rated on a one to five scale ” one being the easiest trip on the most tame water.

It’s not scary at all.

I felt like I was a bird.

I can’t wait to do that again.

Those are a few the things Greg Kelley, a guide with Vail Valley Paragliding, has heard people say after he’s taken them paragliding in Wolcott.

A paraglider is a cross between a glider and a parachute and doesn’t involve jumping off a cliff, a common misconception, Kelley said. Instead, the instructor and one other person are attached to the glider by a harness that Kelley said is as comfortable as a lounge chair.

“We’re flying off a hill,” Kelley said. “You have to run a little in order to inflate the glider.”

The group offers morning and afternoon or evening flights from two different spots in Wolcott. All flights are done with an instructor and can last anywhere between 15 minutes and two hours.

There are no age restrictions on who is eligible to paraglide. Kelley has flown with 5-year-olds and 80-year-olds.

“People who might be a little nervous and want a more smooth flight might want to go in the morning,” Kelley said. “The later flights are better for people that are a little more comfortable and trying to get a little longer flight out of it.”

For more information about paragliding, call Kelley at 376-0495 or David Champaign at 845-7321.

Going for a bike ride can be a great way to start or finish a day, and there are plenty of places in the Vail Valley to get a ride in.

“Doing morning rides makes the day that much better,” said Jacob Bangston, who lives in Minturn and works at Venture Sports in Avon. “You’re out there enjoying the scenery and getting the lungs working.”

The paved bike trails between Vail and Gypsum are mostly flat and great for riders of any ability, Bangston said. For a difficult road ride, try riding on Highway 24 from Minturn to Camp Hale, but be prepared for two pretty big climbs, Bangston said.

“It’s a great ride, the scenery is awesome,” Bangston said. “You have a view of Holy Cross when you get higher.”

If you’re looking for singletrack, head to Eagle. Try to riding The Boneyard trail or up the Abrams Creek trail and down a trail called The World’s Greatest, Bangston said.

Visit for road and mountain biking trail maps.

Interested in taking it easy for a weekend? There are plenty of new books worth putting on your summer reading list, said Besse Lynch, who works at The Bookworm in Edwards.

“We get people that are looking for an escape,” Lynch said. “For some people it’s a thriller or suspense read, for some it’s a fluffy beach read. Some people want to go a little tougher in the summer because they have more time.”

Here are a few books coming out this summer to keep an eye out for that people have already started asking about, Lynch said.

– “Shanghai Girls,” by Lisa See.

– “The Scarecrow,” by Michael Connelly.

– “The Defector,” by Daniel Silva.

– “The Blue Notebook,” by James Levine.

– “The Girl Who Played with Fire,” by Stieg Larsson.

– “The Beach House,” by Jane Green.