Summer Escapes: Vail
Match your muscles to a mountain, test your 4-wheeling skills, gorge on seafood
You know you've escaped to Vail when your quads start to burn on Vail Pass. It's one of the best conditioning rides for road or mountain bikers in the state -- you start at 8,772 feet and summit at 10,603 -- and it's hard to beat the views. Not to mention linking to other bike paths to turn it into an epic ride.
- Produced By:
- Anya Semenoff
- May 18th 2010 at 05:35 p.m.
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Holy Cross trail is one of those ridiculous routes that you see in photos and think, "Seriously? A vehicle made it over that?" Boulders almost as big as, well, a Jeep present themselves at seemingly the worst times -- just as you need to round a corner, or right where the water under the rocks has made things particularly slick. But that's what 4-by-4 fun is all about. This run is right-on in terms of making you work to find the good lines. Some winching may be required (there are well-placed anchors), but overall this trail is intermediate in terms of difficulty. A weekday visit is recommended if you don't want to wait in line on the rough patches.
Kids can learn how to fly-fish -- with an eye toward the behavior of insects -- at the Vail Nature Center, which also offers nature-oriented programs on photography and art, as well as stargazing and raptor events. Prices for programs vary.
C. Tivoli Lodge
Since its extensive remodel the Tivoli Lodge has become one of the area's most inviting properties, with soaking tubs and fireplaces in the rooms, some with mountain views, flat-screen TVs with DVD players, and "tower" rooms that make you feel as though you're in a castle. Breakfast is included. Rates start at $179.
D. Nova Guides
There's something for everyone on the Eagle River, which flows for 60 miles and has Class I to IV whitewater fun. Check out Nova Guides, which runs Dowd's Chute (an adventurous Class IV, best in early season, for 16 and over), Upper Eagle (Class III-IV, age 14 and over) and Lower Eagle (closest to Vail, Class II-IV, ideal for families with young kids). Rates start at $70 adult, $60 kids.
Montauk Seafood Grill is friendly and romantic, as well as the right combination of upscale and relaxed. The menu is, of course, all about the fish and the shellfish, although veal and steak make an appearance, but someone at the table should get the succulent signature dish: ahi and shrimp stir fry with a ginger-soy vinaigrette. Want to swing by for a casual drink and appetizer instead? The welcoming bar is a good place for that, and the trio of ahi and the calamari make nice snacks.
The dramatic Gore Range is your hiking companion as you navigate the Eagle Next Wilderness. There are 50 peaks to take a stab at (17 are thirteeners), but if none of them grab you, the wilderness area also features 180 miles of constructed trails too numerous to name for skill levels from moderately easy on up. The Piney River runs through it, and the Piney Lake Trail is a personal favorite. Get a good topo map and have at it.