Wondering what to do on your trip to Vail, Colorado? The only way to describe this place is simply magical. No matter the time of year, but ESPECIALLY when the snow starts to fall. From the village to the slopes- even just the drive in from Denver. Every little detail about Vail is pure MAGIC. So if you're looking to visit Vail for the weekend this winter (only 1.5 hours from Denver!), or flying into town to visit a real-life snow-globe, here are my recommended to-dos in a nutshell!
Lodging in Vail
Rule #1 of a mountain weekend....get seriously cozy! Ideally anytime I take a trip to the mountains outside of camping season, I'm looking to feel a little spoiled and get the full, cozy mountain-town experience. While it's inevitable that lodging will cost you a bit more in a resort town such as Vail, it's worth it to have an incredibly relaxing experience and return hope feeling rested. My top lodging recommendation is the Grand Hyatt Vail! If you are looking for the perfect winter mountain getaway weekend, this is your spot.
Here are some of the top reasons why I absolutely LOVED my recent stay at
the Grand Hyatt Vail:
- It is a shuttle hub to and from Vail Village and is extremely close in proximity
-The hot tub and heated pool area are to die for
-It's located right along Gore Creek, making the ambiance even more peaceful
-Dog friendliness. This is a big one for me. They even gave me a first floor room with double doors that opened right up into a yard for Cooper boy (my goldendoodle).
-A champagne vending machine in the lobby. Enough said.
-The lobby, fireside dining area and bar are so cozy and beautiful!
Ski Season Activities + Amenities (COVID-19 friendly):
Hit the Slopes!
Vail’s only resort-side open air lift is located right on the Grand Hyatt Vail grounds to make skiing ridiculously easy.
Grand Hyatt Vail Winter Playground
Their Cascade Village Square includes an Ice Rink and Yurt, the Fire and Ice Bar, and the Gore Creek Food Truck with outdoor fire pits. I love that they have added these amenities to aid in social distancing while staying at a hotel.
The the ultimate weekend pampering! Treat yourself to a massage, facial or a nail service. Then obviously go soak in the hot tub :)
I am dyingggg to try this out this winter! 360-degree panoramic views of four surrounding mountain ranges including the Continental Divide, all on the largest commercial snowmobile trail system in the Vail and Beaver Creek area.
Snow Cat Tours
This is simply an alternative to driving a snowmobile that allows you to still soak up those views!
Always wanted to try ice fishing but have no clue where to start? Cause SAME! They will hook you up with a fishing guide to show you the ropes and even bring along some warmth in the form of a fishing hut!
Dining + Drinking in Vail Village
Almresi Vail, Matsuhisa, El Segundo, Westside Cafe & Market (10/10 go here for brunch!!!), Red Lion, Mountain Standard and Vail Chophouse.
The George, Red Lion (live music!), Fall Line Kitchen & Cocktails, Shakedown (for dancing), Vail Brewing Company (if you're into beer), Express Lift Bar (for the slope-side atmosphere), and Root + Flower.
Top Hikes in Vail
*Some hikes can also be done during the winter with snowshoes or crampons depending on trails conditions. I recommend always checking recent reviews on Alltrails or a similar app before setting out on a trail in the winter!*
Distance: 5 miles roundtrip (out + back)
Difficulty: Hard due to 1400 feet elevation gain over just a few miles!
Top features: A beautiful waterfall at the top. If you're up for a longer, more strenuous hike, you can continue on to Booth Lake from the falls! Dogs on leash are permitted. In my opinion, this is a must-do hike in Vail! It's my top recommendation!
Distance: 8 miles roundtrip (out + back)
Difficulty: Hard due to 2300 feet elevation gain and the length.
Top Features: You'll experience rolling mountain views, gorgeous aspen groves and during the right time of year, wildflowers!
Distance: 7 miles roundtrip (out + back)
Difficulty: Easy due to less than 1000 feet elevation gain
Top Features: Often times my favorite hikes have a lake destination! Lost Lake is a gorgeous destination that makes the 7 miles well worth the journey.
DIstance: 3 miles roundtrip (out + back)
Difficulty: Easy due to the short distance and barely any elevation gain. Very rolling!
Top Features: This is an excellent hike if you're looking for something quick and easy with stunning views! It's a great mix of strolling through trees and wide open, expansive mountain vistas.
Well, that's all my friends! I hope this encourages you to check out beautiful Vail! Truly, whether you enjoy it in the Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, you cannot go wrong! If you have visited Vail, what are YOUR favorite things to do, places to go, places to stay?! Also- do you guys enjoy mountain town recs?? Is there a certain town you'd like to read about next? I'd love to hear from you :)
Have a wonderful day + happy trails!
Bradee AKA Ponytail on a Trail