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How to Have an Epic Mountain Picnic in Vail

Longer, sunnier spring days in Vail mean it’s the perfect time for a picnic — and Vail Mountain is one of the best picnic spots in the Colorado mountains. Let someone else plan the picnic for you or create your own fabulous affair on or off the mountain. Check out our insider tips spanning location, menu and special touches.

Where to plan a picnic in Vail

The ideal mountain picnic starts with the perfect location. And, Vail Mountain is home to several amazing decks, each with their own special appeal. We’ve compiled a list of the mountain-deck options, including locals’-favorite spots like Windows Deck, Jebbie’s Deck and Belle’s Camp in Blue Sky Basin.

Women skiers having a picnic lunch on Vail Mountain with the Gore Range as a backdrop in beautiful Colorado.

Your Vail Mountain Picnic Menu

Regardless of your Vail picnic location, preparation is essential to make certain you’ve acquired all the food and beverages you’ll need. All items can be purchased at City Market or Safeway in West Vail.

Here’s a list of delicious, hearty and simple items to include in the spread you’re creating:

  • Meat & Cheese Board: Salami, sausage, ham, prosciutto, Gouda, cheddar, Havarti, Swiss (or your personal favorites)
  • Dips: Hummus, soft cheese dips, ranch, French onion
  • Breads & Crackers: A variety of breads and crackers to accompany the meats-and-cheese platter and dips
  • Nuts & Dried Fruits: It’s always nice to include on the side of meats-and-cheese platter.
  • Fruit & Veggies: An added touch for those looking to eat more “healthy.” Pre-cut or whole fruits (think apples, strawberries, oranges), along with baby carrots, celery sticks, broccoli flowers, peapods are easy.
  • Olives: An easy finger food
  • Sides: Pasta salad, potato salad, fruit salad or even a bagged green salad kit
  • Fried/Roasted Chicken: What’s a picnic without fried (or roasted) chicken?
  • Sweets: Cookies, Hershey Kisses and peppermint patties for kids and adults.
  • Beverages: Cans — not bottles — of beer, seltzer, wine (bring a box or a bag rather than glass); Champagne and/or Prosecco are a nice celebratory touch. Be sure to have non-alcoholic options for younger picnickers and lots of water for everyone!
  • Grilling Options: Belle’s Camp at Blue Sky Basin features several community grills. If you want to include made-to-order grilled items in your picnic, suggestions include brats, burgers and chicken. Be sure to bring buns and condiments to make it complete.
  • Paper/Plastic Wear: Cups, plates, cutting/serving board and sharp knives (packaged for safe transport), napkins, forks/spoons/knives if needed.
  • Trash Bags: While decks are equipped with trash cans, the mountain staff asks that you pack out what you’ve packed in! Please leave the deck cleaner than you found it. Let’s all work together to keep the natural environment clean for everyone to enjoy!

Pro tip: You will need a couple (at least) good-sized backpacks to transport your amazing picnic spread to the Vail Mountain deck of your choice. To avoid skiing with a heavy pack in the morning, drop them at a convenient location atop the mountain until you are ready for picnic time. Regardless of what time the picnic starts, the fun must wrap up in time to be off the mountain by closing time at 3:30 p.m. Also, strongly think about downloading the gondola and/or lifts, especially if alcohol has been consumed. Many late-season injuries result from late-day celebrations combined with late-day skiing.

Your Vail Village Picnic

If your preference is a picnic in the village, the same menu can be served at a variety of in-town picnic locations. A beautiful spot, walking distance from Vail Village, is Ford Park. You’ll find a couple sheltered picnic areas, bathroom facilities and even a playground and large open space area for the kids.

If all this preparation sounds overwhelming, consider having your picnic personally curated! Picnic Vail will create an unforgettable picnic at a location of your choice (they have three options), take care of all the details and break it down afterward. It’s a true come-as-you-are experience with no hassles!

A picnic in the beautiful natural setting of Vail can be a highlight of your vacation. Take the time to plan out the details and be sure to take lots of pictures.

More Vail Dining Experiences: