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If you’re staying in Vail, there’s no need to go far to get out on your snowshoes. Book a private hike on Vail Mountain with outdoor trainer, Ellen Miller, available through the Vail Vitality Center, or check out some of these mainstay trails and tours offered in the area.
Head to the Nature Discovery center on top of Vail Mountain to venture out for a fun and educational free tour through some snowy on-mountain terrain. Be prepared to spend an hour outside in the winter environment with snow pants, warm hats, gloves and sturdy boots. Snowshoes are provided. Participants sign up at the Nature Discovery Center at Eagle’s Nest (top of the Eagle Bahn gondola). The tours are offered daily in the afternoon, and evening snowshoes are offered Thursday through Saturday. For more information, visit the Walking Mountain Science Center website.
Vail Nordic Center
The Vail Nordic Center is located in East Vail, so either a short drive or bus ride from Vail Village. In addition to 17 kilometers of ski trail, the area offers 10 kilometers of snowshoe trails that are open daily. These trails traverse the valley and showcase beautiful views of the Gore Range mountains. Snowshoers are asked to stay on the designated snowshoe trails, and leashed dogs are permitted on these trails. A daily pass for use of the area is $10, and a season pass is $100. Kids 12 and under are free. For more details, check out the Vail Nordic Center website, or stop in to the building on the golf course in east vail.
Just 10 minutes from Vail by car is a local favorite: Meadow Mountain. Access is free, and you can get there by heading west on Interstate-70 and get off at the Minturn exit. Go under the highway, turn right into the Forest Service station, and then take an immediate left to park. There are often many trails broken in the winter months, and most of them climb through open meadows. Access on the old forest service road is more gradual, and eventually leads to a wonderful aspen and evergreen forest. Learn more about this open space and other local recreation areas at the Forest Service website, or walk into their headquarters near the Meadow Mountain trailhead during operating hours.
Kim Fuller is a freelance writer based in Vail.