While many people think of Colorado’s ski resorts as perfect places to ski, skate and snowboard throughout winter, what they may not realize is that these mountain retreats are also ideal summer getaways for anyone who likes an active vacation. In summer, the same mountains that hosted skiers in winter now welcome hikers and bikers and the paths and trails traversed by snowshoes and cross-country skis are now trod by horse hooves and ATV wheels. If you’re looking for an active vacation in a beautiful setting, check out the resorts of Beaver Creek and Vail, located about two hours from Denver, Colorado.
Hiking is probably the number one summer activity in Vail and Beaver Creek. In either town, you can put your muscles to the test by hiking from the bottom up, or take it a little easier by riding the chairlift to the mountain top and then hiking down. There are several 14ers (peaks over 14,000 feat high) that can be hiked in a day trip from either town, and the Beaver Creek Hiking Center offers several daily guided hikes fit for all ages and fitness levels.
Second only to hiking, biking is another popular summer activity in Colorado and both Beaver Creek and Vail provide ample opportunity for long ride. Bike around either town, head up the mountains, or ride the chairlifts up and then coast your way back down. You can bring your own bike, book a guided ride, or rent bikes cheaply by the day or hour in either town.
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White-water rafting and Jeep tours
With dozens of different offerings suited to varying experience levels, the rafting outfitters near Vail and Beaver Creek can provide trips ranging from smooth and mild to rough and wild. Check out Timberline Tours or Lakota Guides for trips ranging from $60 – $160 per person. Timberline also offers Jeep tours that are an adrenaline-filled way to take in some spectacular scenery and view the area’s beautiful flora and fauna.
Several outfitters offer horseback riding near Vail and Beaver Creek.Â Beaver Creek Stables offers rides that range from one hour to a full day with lunch and cost from $65-$200 per person. For the ultimate day on horseback, book the lake ride which follows Beaver Creek to Beaver Lake, where you’ll stop for a lavish lunch before riding back. You can even arrange to travel by horseback to dinner at Beano’s Cabin.
Dining and drinking
Okay so dining and drinking aren’t really outdoor activities, but in Vail and Beaver Creek, the art of eating and drinking may as well be a competitive sports. Plus, you’ve got to refuel from all that activity somehow, and why not with the fresh local fare found in both towns. From locally raised, grass fed Colorado lamb and beef to farm-fresh fruits and veggies to wines and craft beers from around the world, Vail and Beaver Creek have you covered for top-notch food and drink. In summer, don’t miss the weekly Vail Farmers Market, or plan your trip for August to visit for the Beaver Creek Wine and Spirits Festival.