Vail is the iconic ski area nested in the Rocky Mountains, but the town and mountain are not just for ski fanatics. Vail plays host to hundreds of events and has a plethora of boutiques and shops and restaurants to suit every palate. Vail Mountain has the most skiable acres in the United States, and come summer the hiking and biking trails in and around Vail provide a workout and spectacular scenic views. Vail is not a one-trick pony town – it welcomes millionaires alongside budget-conscious travelers.
The town of Vail is divided into several distinct neighborhoods that meld together nicely. While no one refers to downtown Vail as downtown Vail, the core business center is reminiscent of a Bavarian Village, complete with its clock tower. Head slightly west to walk through the charming village of Lionshead, where more shops dot the pedestrian village streets. Outlaying neighborhoods of East Vail and West Vail are home to many residents. Beyond shopping and dining, Vail has a bevy of activities, from mountain biking to hiking, trail running to road biking. There are golf courses galore, adventures on top of the mountain and world-class art galleries sprinkled throughout the town.
Historic Vail, CO
It’s official! The town of Vail is 50 years old. Of course, Vail wasn’t discovered a mere 50 years ago. It was the summer hunting grounds for the Ute Indians before Irishman George Gore (Lord Gore) and American explorer Jim Bridger ventured into the area in the 1850s. Not long after, Bridger returned and named the region after Gore (hence the Gore Range that never fails to stun).
Soon, the cry of gold and silver was heard ’round the county and prospectors swarmed the Gore Range near Vail, Colorado. The mining activity forced the Ute Indians out. But before they left, the Utes set fire to thousands of acres of trees, resulting in some of the best skiing anywhere in the world: Vail’s Back Bowls. Then mines went quiet. During WWII the Army’s 10th Mountain Division trained in the area. After the war, skiing was in the forefront of the veterans’ minds. Come 1962, construction on Vail Mountain began. The town of Vail, Colorado, was incorporated in 1966. The rest, as they say, is history. Oh, and where did the town get its name? It’s from the engineer on the project who helped build Highway 6 from Denver up Vail Pass and right through town.
So, whether you’re here for shopping, dining, running, biking, hiking or skiing or just to take in all the surrounding beauty, you’re in the middle of paradise!