This Fall Explore the Best of Vail
Hike Up, Coast Down & Eat Around: A Day of Play in Vail
This action-packed fall itinerary takes you up one of Vail’s iconic backcountry trails and ends with a thrilling ride on the Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster.
Take the free bus to the Falls at Vail bus stop in East Vail to enjoy part or all of the Pitkin Creek Trail, a 10-mile round-trip hike to Pitkin Lake nestled beneath an arc of gray granite in the alpine tundra. If you have other afternoon activities on the docket, you can turn around at any point — there’s plenty of beauty to enjoy with the Creek winding next to the path.View Vail Trails
Lunch & an adrenaline rush
If you have time for afternoon activities, we suggest parking in Lionshead and grabbing a quick bite at Garfinkel’s before heading up the Eagle Bahn Gondola for adrenaline-filled activities on the mountain at Epic Discovery (open Friday–Sunday, Sept. 8 to Oct. 1).
At Epic Discovery, ride the alpine coaster, or scream at the top of your lungs while coming down the summer tubing hill. Wander the Epic Discovery interpretive trail to learn more about the roles different flora and fauna play in Vail’s unique ecosystem as you soak in Mother Nature in full-color display all around — with changing leaves as far as the eyes can see.Explore Activities
Dinner & more in Lionshead
As the sun sets, ride the gondola back down to Lionshead and enjoy dinner under the stars at Vail Chophouse. Located right at the bottom of the gondola, the Chophouse offers some of the best steaks and seafood in town. If you’re lucky, Vail’s own Phil Long will be entertaining with his live acoustic performance. Order a creative cocktail like the Grape, Radle, and Roll or I’m Your Huckleberry to toast to a great day in Vail!Make A Reservation
Let Gravity Take Over
Check in to one of Vail’s hottest hotels and restaurants and listen to live music under the brilliant stars.
Welcome to Vail! Get settled at Gravity Haus Vail in the heart of Vail Village. A concept in lifestyle lodging, Gravity Haus offers 22 newly renovated, luxurious guest rooms, along with the 18,000 square foot Dryland Fitness and Dryland Spa — which you’ll have time to appreciate after tomorrow’s activities.Book Your Stay
Amp it up
Head out for an evening under the stars with a performance at Ford Amphitheater (aka, “The Amp”). Check the schedule of events to see who’s playing. Performances range from up-and-coming pop artists to well-known bluegrass, rock, jazz, R&B and acoustic performers. There’s something to experience almost every night of the summer!Check Event Schedule
Dine & done
After the show, close the night back at Gravity Haus for late-night drinks and dinner at the Slope Room, Vail’s hottest destination for dining and craft cocktails. The cozy, Old West-themed restaurant features locally sourced meat and produce from Rocky Mountain farmers and ranchers on their new American and steakhouse menu.
Fuel up for Fall Hiking
Set out on a leaf-peeping hiking adventure amidst the fall leaves and end your night with live tunes and food at one of Vail’s most popular nightlife spots.
Fuel up for a fun day
Warm up to your day with a cup of joe downstairs at Unravel Coffee, which serves house-roasted coffee from zero-emissions Bellwether Roaster. Pick up a smoked salmon lox, coyo chia seed pudding, or hearty breakfast burrito to fuel up.
From river to river stones
Back at Gravity Haus, you’re in for a relaxing afternoon at The Spa at Dryland Vail. The Spa at Dryland offers an array of services designed to help guests recover and relax. From hot stone massages and CBD recovery treatments to creative packages like “Spa & Savor,” you’re sure to find a treatment to help you unwind.Explore Spa Services
Dinner & drinks
There’s something about a day on the water that gets the appetite going. Tonight, your evening begins in Vail Village with dinner at Alpenrose. This authentic Bavarian restaurant provides a lively atmosphere and the opportunity to share hearty plates such as the popular Herzhaftes Kasefondue for two people, which is a perfect accompaniment to a cool fall evening. Or, try the classic Bayr Schweinebraten, Bavarian roast pork served in a delicious beer sauce with spaetzle and red cabbage. And don’t forget to save room for strudel or the Nutella waffle for dessert!
Before you call it a day, make your way to the Bad Kitty Lounge. This speakeasy-inspired lounge is just off Vail’s main drag on Bridge Street. Mixologists make creative cocktails that are a twist on the traditional. Challenge the team behind the bar with a favorite or unusual cocktail — they’re bound to make it like you’ve never tasted before!
Grab a quick breakfast and coffee at Sonnenalp’s Treff Café across the street from The Sebastian before heading out for a day of hiking in the backcountry with Paragon Guides. Your knowledgeable guide will contact you the night before to design a day that meets your interests and find the best fall colors. For a truly unique hiking experience, ask Paragon about their Llama Lunch hikes.
Reserve Your Spot
Cruise & Booze on Your Last Day
Rent cruiser bikes for a fun day of exploring while sampling local libations along the way.
Spin over to Vintage for a boozy brunch, where you can sit outside and enjoy the European streetside bistro feel while watching the village come to life. Indulge in a Just Dill with It Bloody Mary before diving in to some of the restaurant’s sweeter options — like their bacon-wrapped figs or huckleberry-bacon French toast (yes, it’s as good as it sounds).Explore The Menu
Take a spin
Work off brunch by cruising along Gore Creek Trail with its spectacular fall views of the Gore Range aglow in yellow as aspen stands change with the season. Pedal past the Vail Golf Club and travel into East Vail before turning around and enjoying a downhill coast into the village.
Find something local to bring home
Drop your bikes off then head over to the Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show (Sundays only through October 6). With live entertainment and amazing Colorado-grown produce and products, you’ll feel like you’re experiencing the heartbeat of Vail. The market offers more than 140 vendors and food purveyors, which means you’re sure to find something to bring home to relive your vacation memories. Get tips for attending the farmers’ market.Explore Vendors
Sunset and saki
Grab a happy hour drink at Slope Room, but don’t fill up because tonight’s dinner comes to life at Matsuhisa — the perfect way to spend your final night in Vail. Enjoy dramatic views of Vail Mountain while tucking in to unique Japanese fusion fare. Whether you opt for the chef-selected Omakase menu or sample some sushi, don’t miss your chance to pair your pick with Matsuhisa’s own blend of saki!
As the sun sinks behind the mountains and you wander back to your room, breathe in the pine-tinged mountain air and enjoy the sparkling, star-studded sky. There’s nothing like a few days in the mountains to soothe and restore.Reserve Your Table
Tasting Tour on Two Wheels
Jump on a bike for a self-guided tour of Vail’s popular restaurants and taprooms.
Once you’re settled, check out one of the hotel’s bikes (supplied by Venture Sports) and venture forth to explore Lionshead and Vail Village. Head toward Lionshead and enjoy the sounds of Gore Creek to your left throughout the ride. On your way back, enjoy some challenging uphills to help you work up an appetite for a self-guided tasting tour in Vail Village.
Reserve Your Bike
Start at the top of Bridge Street at G1 Ski Bar for a quick bite (piled-high tacos or cheesy pizza anyone?) and to sample a diverse selection of craft beers, ciders and seltzers. Jump back on your bike and head to Vail Brewing Company’s taproom in Solaris. Brewed right down the road in Eagle-Vail, Vail Brewing Company offers a great outdoor patio and lively indoor vibe — the perfect setting to try craft beer favorites like Hot Mess Blonde, Gore Creek IPA or Trail Candy Kolsch. Enjoy flights of tasters, growlers, or a 32-ounce pour. (Don’t miss getting a closer look at the custom wood mural on the taproom wall that’s a topographic map of the Vail Valley.)
After your beer-based happy hour, head back to The Sebastian to drop off the bikes and relax before dinner at Osaki Vail, located steps away from the hotel. Osaki is somewhat of a locals’ secret — it’s off the beaten path with a somewhat-hidden front door. Osaki offers the finest and freshest Japanese cuisine in a cozy, personal setting. Reservations are recommended due to the size limitations of the restaurant. Note: Arrive on time! The restaurant requires punctuality.Make A Reservation
Polish off your great day in Vail with a nightcap from 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits, located over the covered bridge in Vail Village. Inspired by the soldiers on skis who trained near Vail and fought in World War II, the design of the bottles and decor of the tasting room reflect the unique history of the area. Sample the potato vodka, bourbon, rye or, for a stronger option, the Colorado Clear Mountain Moonshine. Or, choose the sweet Alpenglow Cordial for the perfect close.Find the Tasting Room
Shoshone, Spa & Standard - A New Kind of Triple Threat in the Mountains
An adrenaline-pumping morning followed by spa and a succulent dinner. Then, dance the night away in Vail Village.
Grab a quick breakfast at Leonora at The Sebastian before getting picked up for some rushing whitewater action on the Shoshone stretch of the Colorado River, located approximately 45 minutes west of Vail. The mile-long stretch of river mainly features back-to-back Class III rapids. Most Vail outfitters such as Sage Outdoor Adventures, Lakota Guides and Timberline Tours all offer guided tours.
Dinner on the deck
Return to Mountain Standard for dinner. Vail dining at its best along the Gore Creek promenade. The warm pimento cheese and buttermilk biscuits are a must for appetizers! Other light bite classics include the standard wedge salad or the ahi tuna crudo. And when it comes to entrees, the pork shank and Piri Piri rotisserie chicken are fan favorites, though certainly you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
Wrap up the night with live music at Bridge Street Bar, featuring entertainment from Scott Munns, Ted Hammock, Jonny Magambo, Brian Kittrell and many others throughout the year. If you’re in the mood to move, Bridge Street offers a separate room for dancing with a DJ playing the latest tunes into the night.
Llamas at Lunch & a Lion at Late Night
Set out on a unique hiking adventure amidst the fall leaves in the White River National Forest before enjoying music under the stars at Ford Amphitheater. End your night with more live tunes and food at one of Vail’s most popular nightlife spots.
Take it to go
Grab a quick breakfast and coffee at Sonnenalp’s Treff Café across the street from The Sebastian before heading out for a day of hiking in the backcountry with Paragon Guides. Your knowledgeable guide will contact you the night before to design a day that meets your interests. Up for a challenge? Set your sights on Pitkin Lake in East Vail, or Notch Mountain outside of Minturn, where the summit offers one of the most spectacular views of Mount of the Holy Cross. Or, choose a low-key route to hike along in search of waterfalls and wildflowers. For a truly unique hiking experience, ask Paragon about their Llama Lunch hikes.Reserve Your Spot
An evening outdoors (with music)
After your day exploring the White River National Forest, put your feet up by the pool back at The Sebastian. But not for long: Soon it’ll be time to swing by the front desk to pick up your pre-arranged grazing board from Vail’s own The Grazing Fox and head over to the open-air Ford Amphitheater (aka, “The Amp”). Find your spot on the grass and nibble on cheeses, meats, veggies and sweets as you enjoy an evening of music (check local listings for the latest live music options).
If you’re still not ready to call it a day, stop at Red Lion in Vail for a bite and cocktail on your way back to the room. A burger or nachos are the perfect accompaniment to live tunes in the crisp fall mountain air.
Day of Play at Piney
Enjoy a day of play set against the backdrop of the magnificent Gore Mountain Range and enjoy leaf peeping from car to hike and horseback.
Breakfast & brunch (with cocktails)
Enjoy breakfast next door at Vintage, Vail’s popular brasserie brunch spot. Fill up with one of their gallette options, like the Croque Madame Gallette featuring one egg in a puff pastry with gruyère cheese, French cured ham, and bécheamel — or tuck into the Huckleberry Bacon French Toast. They’re also known for brunch cocktails such as Just Dill with It Bloody Mary, Xpresso Tini, or the Walk of Shame with fresh muddled strawberries, lemon, Tru Lemon Vodka and sparkling wine.Explore the Menu
This morning, you’ll head up to Piney River Ranch (open daily through the last weekend in September) for a day full of fresh air and outdoor activity. Located only 15 miles away from Vail Village, this scenic drive through colorful aspen groves winds through the national forest on dirt roads and takes about 45 minutes. (A vehicle with high clearance is suggested.)
Piney River Ranch is an adventure-lovers escape in the heart of the Gore Range. The lake, pooling at the base of the mountains, offers canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding, and fishing. Many guests make the 6-mile round trip trek to Upper Piney River Ranch/Piney Falls, the perfect fall hike for leaf peeping. The trail meanders along the side of the valley carved out by Piney River below, and as your reward at the end, the falls provide amazing views, plenty of Instagrammable moments, and quiet spots to relax and enjoy a picnic lunch.
Horseback & Barbecue
Back at the ranch, get the full Colorado experience with a guided horseback trail ride. If you’re lucky, you might see one of the moose or bear who frequent the area! Don’t forget! If you run into wildlife while exploring the backcountry, admire at a distance and let them enjoy their natural habitat. Fall is mating season for moose and they can be particularly aggressive, so if you do happen to spot one, keep your distance. Once you dismount, enjoy some great barbecue at the on-site restaurant.
Fall Photo opp
Leave time as you drive back to Vail for stops along the way to take pictures of the amazing golden foliage. There’s a turn as you near town that provides one of the best views of Vail Mountain from Golden Peak (aptly named for its brilliant aspen trees!) to Lionshead.
Dinner en plein air
No need to head back inside yet — on the Vail Chophouse patio, you’ll be seated with panoramic views of Vail Mountain. If you get there early enough, you might be lucky enough to catch a live performance by long-time Vail local Phil Long as he entertains into the evening. The crab-and-lobster macaroni and cheese are sure crowd pleasers before the selection of steaks and chops take center stage for the main course.Reserve A Table
Outdoor Adventures in Biking & Dining
A day getting dirty on Vail’s mountain biking trails, followed by dining under the stars.
Start up high
Get up and at ‘em with a guided mountain biking adventure on Vail Mountain, open daily through Sept. 4 and Friday to Sunday through Oct. 1. Your ride starts at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola with breathtaking 360-degree views of the surrounding mountain ranges cloaked in fall color. Soak it all in, because you won’t be on top much longer as the trails quickly take you down and around Vail Mountain. Guides can take you down the best routes based on ability and adventure levels. Check out the pump tracks, tree courses, and — for the more advanced — sample parts of the trails used for the 2001 World Mountain Bike Championships.
Rinse off the dirt from the mountain before wandering over to Root & Flower to enjoy one of the wine bars’ many classes — perhaps led by Jeremy Campbell, co-owner of Root & Flower and an Advanced Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. Check the bar’s schedule of events for other classes, some of which are as creative in their presentation as they are with their names (e.g., “History of Drunk”).Find A Class
Tour of Italy
Vail restaurants abound. And there’s no better end to an action-packed trip than spending time in the heart of the village sampling some of the finest Italian fare in the area at La Nonna Ristorante. Chef Simone Reatti serves up authentic cuisine inspired by his childhood in the Italian Dolomites. Menu favorites include the Bruschetta Pomodoro and Mozzarella di Bufala to start and the Gemelli alla Vodaka e Prosciutto and Gnocchi alla Bolognese for pasta options. You can never go wrong with the nightly risotto special!Reserve your Table
LUXURY MEETS CAMPING (AKA, GLAMPING)
Start your trip glamping under the stars in the heart of the Gore Mountain Range.
Welcome to Vail
Enjoy a scenic drive up to Piney River Ranch to kick off your trip with some glamour camping – aka, “glamping.” You’ll unpack in one of the ranch’s three glamping tents (each of which sleeps four) and delight in the luxury decor, including an outdoor sitting area that looks out on the Gore Range, Piney Lake and the surrounding forest lit up with all the yellows, reds, and oranges of fall. The ranch’s restaurant offers a delicious dinner, or you may opt to cook out on the grill. As the crisp night descends, watch the stars twinkle out while roasting s’mores over a campfire right in front of your tent. The night sky at this altitude is so dark you might see the Milky Way or a shooting star!
*We suggest calling the U.S. Forest Service at 970-827-5715 after Sept. 26 each year for updates on the road and its condition.Reserve Your Tent
FROM FALLS TO FOUR SEASONS
Explore all Piney River Ranch has to offer — hiking, water sports, trail rides and more — before checking in to luxury lodging in the heart of Vail Village.
Bring your own breakfast to Piney or swing by the on-site restaurant for pastries and coffee before a full day of play. If you get up early, you might see one of the resident bears who frequent the area before they scamper away to hide during the hustle and bustle of the day.Piney River Ranch
Get moving with fishing, hiking, canoeing or horseback riding
Try your hand at fly fishing in Piney Lake. Or, take an early morning hike to Upper Piney River Ranch/Piney Falls. The 6-mile round-trip hike is a great way to go leaf peeping in the high country! The rolling trail follows Piney Creek into the mountains where your end point is the creek’s dramatic fall from a plateau. Head back to the lake to canoe, stand-up paddleboard or unpack your boots and wander over to the corral for a guided horseback ride.Plan an Activity
It’s salads, sandwiches, craft beer and wine with a view — not to mention delicious barbecue — at Piney River Ranch’s Lodge Restaurant & Bar. Pull up a seat at one of the many picnic tables around the ranch and soak in the fresh air and surrounding mountain views. It doesn’t get more Colorado than this!
Get settled and freshen up
Pack up and head down to Vail to transition from luxury camping to bespoke lodging. You’ll check in to the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail, where the first order of business is to enjoy a soak in the oversized en-suite tub before dressing for a night on the town.Book Your Stay
Dinner & drinks
Your evening begins close to home base at The Remedy Bar right at the Four Seasons. Once you’ve enjoyed a unique drink, wander over to El Segundo for outdoor dining along the banks of Gore Creek — bring an extra layer as nighttime in the mountains quickly cools down this time of year! Cheers the day with a classic margarita or a Run, Rabbit, Run (400 Conejos Mezcal, ancho reyes chili liqueur, tempus fugit crème de cacao, and a twist of orange) or choose from single- or fiesta-sized cocktails with (or without) a CBD twist.The Remedy Bar
BOOZE AND BURGERS
Booze and burgers bookend a day of hiking on Vail Mountain.
Kick off a new day with a boozy brunch at Vintage, just across the street from the Four Seasons. Start with a selection of mimosas (choose orange, grapefruit or cranberry juice), a Colorado Blackberry Royale (a twist on the popular Kir Royale) or one of their creative cocktails like the Walk of Shame (fresh muddled strawberries, lemon, Tru Lemon Vodka, and sparkling wine). Pair your drink with the avocado toast, one of five different benedict options (meat and potato, eggs, crab, veggie and southwestern), or the ever-popular huckleberry French toast. Don’t miss the coffee and lattes either!Vintage
Get acquainted with Vail Mountain
Set out for a memorable mid-day hike on Vail Mountain. With plenty of trails to choose from, local favorites include Strawberry Lane, Grand Escape, the Ridge Route or Berry Picker. (If you opt for Berry Picker, we suggest skipping the boozy part of brunch!)Find Signature Hikes
Put your feet up
Swing by Remedy to sample the hotel’s signature Haute Chocolate that has one of the most unique presentations! A house-made marshmallow sits atop a chocolate lattice and then a special custom-blended hot chocolate is poured over the presentation into a warm mug. If the cozy drink isn’t enough to relax you, walk down to the pool area and take a dip in either of the two spa tubs, or — if you have time — book a blissful spa treatment for yourself right inside.Explore the Spa
This evening, you’ll sample some of the best burgers in town at The Red Lion. A Vail institution, Red Lion cooks up an array of burger options from the build-your-own burger to the popular Bleu Sky burger featuring a half-pound of USDA choice meat topped with fresh bleu cheese and crisp bacon. Bring your appetite!
A mellow day of adventures with goat yoga and biking down Vail Pass followed by a progressive dinner through Vail Village.
Stretch out with goat yoga
Grab a quick breakfast and coffee at Sonnenalp’s Treff Café across the street from Four Seasons before driving over to Vail Stables for a morning goat yoga session (open through mid-September). In this lively yet relaxing way to start your day, flow into poses as goats help you take the stretch to new levels by jumping on your back, nibbling at your ears, and certainly putting a big smile on your face. Wear an extra layer this time of year as mornings tend to take a few hours to warm up. Namaste!Sign-Up for Goat Yoga
Glide down Vail Pass
Return to Four Seasons for an activity that includes a 1,832-foot vertical drop! Let Venture Sports pick you up for its popular Vail Pass bike ride, where you’ll get dropped off at the top of Vail Pass where you hop on your bike and simply coast down the mountain. This activity takes little effort but it’s filled with fun as you fly down Vail Pass into Vail Village. Your guide will stop along the way to set up a gourmet picnic before returning you to Four Seasons to freshen up.Venture Sports
Sample the decks, dining and drinks at several favorite Vail fall dining spots in a progressive-style dinner. Start on the deck at Alpenrose for a stein paired with an authentic Bavarian pretzel served on — wait for it — an antler. Walk across the street for mudslides, truffle tots and elk nachos at Bully Ranch. Then, swing by Matsuhisa in Solaris for saki and the popular yellowtail jalapeño, black cod lettuce cups and king crab tempura. If you’re still hungry, reserve a lane at nearby Deca Bol and grab a cookie, brownie or the popular banana-bread pudding while bowling strikes into the night. Pair with a classic cocktail, craft beer or after-dinner drink.Progressive Dining
Hike, jump and roll around Vail Mountain during this day of activities at Epic Discovery, open weekends in the fall through Oct 1.
Breakfast & views to go
Grab a light breakfast at The Four Seasons before having the property drop you off in Minturn at the Game Creek trailhead. This 3.5-mile hike up takes you to Eagle’s Nest on Vail Mountain. In the fall, this trail (known as the popular Minturn Mile backcountry run) winds up the forest with glowing aspen groves lighting the way. The hike is mainly uphill but a great reward awaits …
Back to Lionshead
No need to hike back to Minturn — simply take the Eagle Bahn Gondola back down to Lionshead. If you hear the live tunes of Phil Long at The Vail Chophouse, stop by for a martini or craft beer on the patio and soak it all in.
EXCLUSIVE ACCESS TO PRISTINE TROUT WATER
It’s an adventure to get there, and a bigger adventure to fish on Piney River, followed by dinner at a Vail hot spot.
Take a stroll to Lionshead for breakfast at The Little Diner. This breakfast hot spot is located in Lionshead’s Concert Hall Plaza on the west end of the mall. As Vail’s only full-service “diner” with breakfast all day, this is a must-visit for breakfast — or any time of the day.Little Diner Menu
Guided Fishing @ Piney River
The team from Sage Outdoor Adventures will pick you up for a day that provides you with access to one of the best-kept-secret fly-fishing experiences in Colorado — an exclusive stretch of the Piney River. The trip begins on ATVs as you make your way through a wilderness canyon to Piney Valley Ranch (not to be confused with Piney River Ranch). Sage is the only company in the Vail Valley to offer access to this pristine trout water. Fish for hours before returning via ATV to the car and then back to Vail.Reserve Your Spot
Dinner & Drinks
Top off your last night in Vail at Slope Room. Go early and saddle up at the sprawling bar which offers twists on the classic cocktail, like the Oaxacan old fashioned of Pisco Punch. Take a seat for dinner and select from the restaurant’s extensive wine menu. For starters, check out the interactive Colorado Wagyu Hot Stone or go lighter with the Hamachi crudo. Select from several composed or à la carte entree options including the seared salmon and Mishima Reserve American Wagyu New York strip.Experience the Slope Room
A GLIMPSE INTO THE PAST
End your trip with a morning ATV tour that rolls through history — and breathtaking fall Vail vistas.
Farewell on Four Wheels
On your drive out, make your way to nearby Camp Hale, where the 10th Mountain Division soldiers of World War II trained. Reserve a side-by-side ATV tour with Nova Guides for an unforgettable glimpse into the backcountry. As you ride through Camp Hale and into the Vail Pass recreational areas you’ll be able to see four different mountain ranges and the Continental Divide cloaked with fall colors. On a clear day you’ll see two of Colorado’s highest peaks — Mount Elbert and Mount Massive (bring binoculars for a zoomed-in look). Each two-hour tour pairs an adrenaline-filled activity with history and farewell views to close out your amazing week in Vail!Nova Guides