Summer Family Fun in Vail

 

There is much to enjoy in Vail during the summer for locals and visitors alike

There is much to enjoy in Vail during the summer for locals and visitors alike

 

This beautiful sunny Colorado weather we enjoyed earlier this week has me itching for summer and all of the fun family activities that summer brings. We live in such a great place to raise family (or enjoy an extended family vacation), particularly in the summer when you can get out and enjoy fresh mountain air, sun and a multitude of activities.

Here are a few of the activities I am looking forward to enjoying very soon:

 

  • Taking the kids into town to ride the free Town of Vail bus, playing at the pirate ship park, cooling off in the children’s fountain and then enjoying a treat. Warning to parents: A candy store conveniently located itself right next to the fountain, so be prepared to take your kids in for a treat.
  • Taking a picnic and riding the gondola up to the top of Vail Mountain to enjoy some leisurely hiking and spectacular views.
  • Coming into Vail to meander through the Vail Farmers’ Market, enjoy some free jazz, getting some balloons for the kiddos and then enjoying lunch on a patio.
  • The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens hosts a butterfly release on May 24 at 11 am. Local school classes release the beautiful butterflies. It is a great opportunity to check out the gardens and play at the park adjacent to the gardens.
  • There are a multitude of great hikes in the area. I’m looking forward to taking the kiddos up on some of the easier trails for some exercise and to enjoy nature and take in the views.
  • Speaking of nature, Walking Mountains Science Center has all kinds of great family activities. I’m looking forward to checking out their Earth Keepers Preschool program and a nature walk.
  • I have also put the Bravo! Vail family concert featuring the National Repertory Orchestra on my calendar. It starts at 10am on July 14 with an instrument petting zoo—lots of fun for the kiddos as they get to try their hand at a variety of instruments. Then the concert starts at 11am.
  • Beaver Creek has some great activities too. We will make it over a couple of Fridays for their Fridays at the Park with free gondola rides, pony rides with Beaver Creek Stables, snow cones, roasting s’mores and more! The Beaver Creek rodeo  on Thursday evenings is fun too. They have a mutton-busting event that is pretty humorous.
  • But, the thing I am most looking forward to this summer is hanging in my own ‘hood. I live in EagleVail and it is in my opinion the best Vail area location in the summer! We have a plot in our community garden just across the street. I am looking forward to taking the kids over to plant seeds and look after the garden, and enjoy grilling out with friends in the garden. Also, EagleVail has a new salt-water pool that is just 100 yards from our back door. I’m looking forward to relaxing at the pool with the kiddos.
The Vail area boasts a multitude of spectacular hiking trails for all abilities. Photo courtesy of Jack Affleck and VLMD.

The Vail area boasts a multitude of spectacular hiking trails for all abilities. Photo courtesy of Jack Affleck and VLMD.

What are some of your favorite Vail area family activities and events? Share them with us in the comments section below!

One of the reasons that I am so glad to be a part of the Antlers family is our involvement in the community. As I was writing this post, it dawned on me how many of these events we have a connection to. The Antlers is the official condominium hotel of the Bravo! Vail orchestras. We host Serac Outside Adventure Film School, which is also a very cool thing going on during the GoPro Mountain Games. We are a pet-friendly hotel so home to some of the Dock Dog competitors who come to town for the Mountain Games. We also host some of the Vail Jazz Foundation’s musicians. So, not only can I look forward to partaking in these activities but also in getting to meet some of the people involved!

Posted by: Liana, the Antlers’ marketing gal

Fancy lake and Fancy Pass hike to Missouri lakes

Fancy Pass and Fancy Lake loop hike going to Missouri Lakes up in the Holy Cross Wilderness area is one of those “must do” type of Vail area hikes if you are spending a week or more in the Vail Valley.  It is moderate day hike and takes anywhere from 4.5 to 6 hours.  It is a 45 minute drive each way from Vail but well worth it.  It is South from Vail on Highway 24 through the towns of Minturn and Redcliff.  Get directions at the Antlers at Vail front desk.  The trail starts at an elevation of 10,100 feet and can top out at 12,600 so you are quite high up.

 Fancy lake (seen in picture above) is the first stop on this counter clockwise hike.  But you can do the hike in either direction.  You can do Missouri lakes first in a clockwise direction and then over Fancy pass, then down pass Fancy Lake and back to the trailhead.


View Fancy Pass, Missouri Lakes loop in a larger map

xx

There are some steep trails as you head up above timberline

Lots of snow out here for August 10th, wow

The top of Fancy Pass at 12,600 feet (we think)

Upper Missouri Lake

 Some Llamas enjoying a hike of their own

Lower Missouri Lake

Another hiking bridge

Wildflowers up in the Holy Cross Wilderness area, with plenty of snow for mid-August

 

Whitney Lake hike, near Vail, up homestake road

Whitney Lake hike is a pleasant hike not far from the Antlers at Vail and the town of Vail Colorado.  One needs to drive about an hour to get there.  Head west out of Vail until you get to Dowd Junctino exit 171 off of I-70.  Next head south for 13 miles on highway 24 heading through the town of Minturn, up over Battle Mountain pass.  Cross the big green bridge (you won’t miss it), go another couple of miles and then take a right onto Homestake road.  This road is numbered #703 by the forest service and again is about 13 miles south of I-70.  When you turn onto homestake road you need to drive another 4.6 miles on this rocky (sometimes dusty) road.  You’ll find the sign to the trail just on the right of the road with parking on the left side of the road.  The trail head starts around 9100 in elevation and tops out at the lake at 10956.  Length one way is 2.5 miles, so it isn’t TOO long.  The views can be spectacular.


View Whitney Lake in a larger map

Up at the lake, watch for the trout jumping in the lake

New bridge for stream crossing

Be careful on the stream crossing, the bridge is thin

Trout in the lake

Camp robber

Lionshead Rock hike, Minturn Colorado

An often forgotten about hike is the Lionshead Rock hike out of Minturn Colorado.  It is a short 15 minute drive from the Antlers at Vail condominiums.  Drive west on Interstate 70 to Exit 171 at Dowd Junction and then head south on Highway 24 for a few miles until you arrive in the town of Minturn.  Take a left right away upon arriving into town and go across the bridge by the Saloon.  As you pass the Saloon, hang a right swinging around the building and go across the railraod tracks to Taylor Street.  Head north on Taylor street passing a number of homes (and junky cars, fridges, old snowmobiles, sinks, dishwashers, chairs, dogs, etc) until you arrive at the far end (dead end).  Find a parking spot and head to the Game Creek trail (to the East) and start going up the trail.  As you go up and past the river for about a 1/2 mile you’ll hang a RIGHT onto the trail which will take you to the Lionshead Rock.  It is about a 2 mile climb one way from the trail head.


View Lionshead Rock hike Minturn in a larger map

View from Lionshead rock looking down towards the town of Minturn

Crazy squirrel

Hiking Mt Sherman 2011

Mt Sherman Hike (14,036′)
A decent short 14er for those who want to notch the first one on their belts. It takes about 4 hours to reach the top and return. The land may seem brown and lifeless compared to some other 14ers however; it is rich in mining history as can be seen from the scattered mining structures all around the area. This was one I could see from the ridgeline very near to the top of Sherman.

When my fellow Antlers employee Dan and I hiked it on June 27th, it still had snow fields to cross at the start of the hike. However, we got through easy enough without too much post holing (and a slight deviation from the trail that turned into a lot more work than expected… DANNNN). Still, the rest of the trail was clear and easy going once we started gaining elevation. The most exhilarating thing about this hike was the wind that day. Sherman is very very exposed so a windbreaker/rain jacket is a MUST or you will risk being exposed to the elements that make hiking very uncomfortable.

A little bit windy up there

Only 40 a minute drive away from the Antlers here in Vail it was definitely a great day hike and a good first 14er for any moderate hiker looking to reach the next level. Make sure to add to the wind walls when you reach the top and sign the registry!!!

After we added another foot or so it still wasn't very helpful

Vail Summer Activities Guide | 30 Days of June Giveaway

Share Your Favorite and You Could Win a 2-Night Stay at the Antlers

It’s not too soon to think about next summer — especially when the Antlers offers special pricing during June 2011 as part of its “30 Days of June” promotion. A studio suite starts at just $140 per night for a two-night stay, and June’s packed calendar guarantees that guests of all ages will find plenty to see and do.

We’ve included a list of some of our favorite fun warm-weather activities in the list below, and we’d love to hear about your favorite reasons to come to Vail in the summertime. Leave a comment below and you’ll be automatically entered to win a free 2-night stay at the Antlers. We’ll choose the lucky winner on July 1, 2011. Be sure to include a working e-mail address with your comment, and don’t worry — we won’t share it with a soul.

Good luck!

30 Days of Fun Things to Do in Vail This June:

1.    Mountain Biking

2.    Horseback Riding

3.    Teva Mountain Games – June 2-5, 2011

4.    Rebound Trampoline at Adventure Ridge

5.    Hiking

6.    Kayaking

7.    Rollerblading

8.    Cattle Round Up at Four Eagle Ranch

9.    Betty Ford Alpine Gardens

10. Dino Dig at Adventure Ridge

11. Golfing

12. Mini-Golf

13. Fishing

14. Whitewater Rafting

15. Jeep Tours

16. Year ‘Round Ice Skating at Dobson Ice Arena

17. Zipline Rides

18. Laser Tag

19. Bowling

20. Ride the Vail Gondola

21. Vilar Center for the Arts

22. Adventure Ridge Discovery Center

23. Hot Air Ballooning

24. Night Vision River Rafting

25. Colorado Ski Museum

26. Skateboarding at Lionshead Skatepark

27. ATV rides

28. Art Walks

29. Vail Farmers’ Market and Art Show

30. Hot Summer Nights Concert Series

Bighorn Cabin

Greetings hikers!

Bighorn cabin is a private property (although left open as a storm shelter) located at about 10800 feet in the Gore Range Wilderness. A good moderate hike and definitely one of the least steep in the area it is great for those looking to head into the mountains and photograph wildflowers, see some wildlife, and enjoy the great outdoors. The trail used to be a part of an old wagon trail so be sure to look for signs on the sides of the trail to be a part of the old homesteaders travels. You will reach some rock fields, to be sure of the way make sure to look for cairns (rocks stacked up like a tower). Not far from the Antlers in Vail this is a great hike accessible to all. One thing to remember is that parking there is limited so going early or taking the bus is recommended. Also, for the aggressive hiker this is a good way to reach the Grand Traverse which is a long ridge at the height of 12000 ft designed for mountain bikers and expert hikers.

Here is a terrain map provided by Google showing the basic route up to the cabin and some other trail heads in the area.


View Bighorn Cabin in a larger map

Enjoy!

Tyler

Grouse Lake Hiking Trail

Grouse Lake, a beautiful 6.25 mile hike to a beautiful lake known for its fine fishing. This hike is a great one if you are up here in the summer and its too hot to do anything but you are going to anyways because… well its your vacation that’s what you do. The hike follows Grouse Creek through a balmy mossy forest with plenty of chances to cross over the creek and catch some spray. Named for the large gentle bird that is brown in summer and changes to white in the winter they are quite common in the area. A fun fact I just learned, local lore says that if you don’t look a mother grouse in the eye as you approach her, she will not run away. I suggest someone try it out and report back to me because I find that hard to believe. They are also very defensive of their chicks but are not really dangerous even when angry. I’ll see you up there!

~Tyler, your friendly neighborhood night auditor.

Here is a map showing the trail head and its location in relation to Vail and the Antlers.


View Grouse Lake in a larger map

The Hanging Lake

Hangking Lake

The Hanging Lake is probably the best bang for your shoe leather hike in Colorado. Its just a two mile hike follow a nice stream up the side of Glenwood Canyon. When you reach the top you will be treated to a breathtaking crystal clear lake being fed by a waterfall which in turn is fed by the spouting rock. They say the average hiker will make it to the top in about an hour. It is a highly trafficked trail and so there is railings built in along dangerous areas, bridges crossing the stream, and a beautiful viewing deck built around the lake. When you arrive, make sure to take the trail to the left right at the entrance to the lake. This will take you to the spouting rock which feeds Hanging Lake Creek. Let it be known there are no dogs allowed on this trail, no fishing or swimming in the lake, and it can be a bit confusing to find the trail head since it can only be accessed by traveling on the eastbound side of the highway.

Still, when I hiked it it was incredibly fun, got some great pictures, and even made it down before the rain set in. I highly recommend this hike to anyone looking to get some easy outdoors experience. Below is a basic map (sorry Google doesn’t have the topographic of that area yet) that shows where the trail begins and the basic pathway to the lake. I hope you enjoy the hike!


View Hanging Lake in a larger map

Piney Lake Hiking

Looking for a good short hike without getting too far from civilization? Try heading up to Piney River Ranch and checking out the trails up there. To reach Piney River Ranch from North Frontage Road in Vail, you take Red Sandstone Road to Piney lake road (or county road no.700)travel 11 miles up a gravel road (takes about 40 minutes). The ranch itself is worth a visit as (depending on the season) there are a plethora of activities offered. I highly recommend checking out the ranch’s website to see what activities are being offered before heading up there as they change frequently. On the north side of the lake theres a sign showing the Piney River trail (go right) and the Meadow Creek and Soda Lakes trails (go left!). Both offer very scenic mellow hikes. The falls are very secluded and beautiful and are a very popular photo op location. Below is an interactive google map showing the location of the trail respective to Antlers. The lines are the road up to Piney River Ranch, the Soda Lakes trail, and the Piney River trail.


View Piney Lake Trails in a larger map

Enjoy!
Tyler