Getting Around Vail

Vail offers breathtaking scenery and world-class amenities. One of the best things about Vail is its walkability and convenient transportation options, making it easy for visitors to explore without needing a car. Whether you’re strolling through the charming pedestrian-friendly streets of Vail Village, hopping on the free bus system, or cycling along scenic bike paths, getting around Vail is a breeze.

getting around Vail Colorado

Exploring Vail Village on Foot and Bike

One of the joys of visiting Vail is the opportunity to explore its charming pedestrian-friendly streets and scenic bike paths. Vail Village, in particular, is a haven for those who prefer to navigate on foot or by bike, with its heated, pedestrian-only streets winding through old-world Bavarian architecture.

Walking Around Vail

Walking around Vail, Colorado
Vail is Easy to Explore on Foot

As you stroll along Gore Creek, you’ll discover an array of boutiques, art galleries, and cafes, all easily accessible without a vehicle. The town has implemented several initiatives to enhance pedestrian safety and accessibility, such as curb ramps, audible pushbuttons, wide crosswalks with rapid-flashing beacon systems, and Advisory Bike Lanes (ABLs) that allow for shared use of the center lane by vehicles and bikes.

Vail Village has pedestrian-friendly streets and walkways, making it easy to wander leisurely at your own pace. Take your time as you explore the cobblestone streets, visit shops, dine at restaurants, and take in the beautiful mountain surroundings of this charming Alpine destination. Don’t be afraid to venture down side streets and alleys, where you’ll often find hidden gems like cozy cafes, unique boutiques, and stunning art galleries.

For a more structured walking experience, consider signing up for a guided tour. Many local companies offer tours that provide insider knowledge and take you to the village’s most iconic spots, such as the Covered Bridge and the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. If you’re visiting during the summer, check out the Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show, a weekly event featuring local produce, artisanal goods, live music, and a festive atmosphere perfect for strolling and people-watching.

Biking Around Vail

Biking Around Vail, Colorado
Biking in Vail is Fun for the Whole Family!

Vail offers an extensive network of paved bike paths that wind through the town and surrounding areas for those interested in exploring on two wheels. Renting a bike from one of the many local shops, such as Burton or Vail Sports, is a convenient way to navigate the village and beyond. The warm temperatures and dry trails make for ideal biking conditions in the summer, while fall offers cooler temperatures and stunning foliage. Winter may require fat bikes or other specialized equipment, but the scenic views along the bike paths and trails are well worth the effort.

Vail’s bike paths and trails offer something for every skill level, from easy cruises along Gore Creek to more challenging mountain bike routes. The Gore Creek Recreation Trail is a popular choice for a leisurely ride with stunning views, while more experienced riders might enjoy the Grand Traverse trail for its technical challenges and breathtaking vistas. Vail Mountain offers access to over 50 miles of mountain biking trails for those seeking even more adventure, with information on trails and gondola bike hauls on the resort website. When exploring Vail Village on foot or by bike, it’s important to be prepared for the high-altitude environment. Bring plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen, and dress in layers to account for changing weather conditions. If you’re biking, don’t forget a helmet and other necessary safety gear.

Whether you explore Vail Village on foot or by bike, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for this charming mountain town and all it offers. From admiring the Bavarian-inspired architecture to discovering hidden gems down side streets and taking in the stunning mountain views, you will surely create unforgettable memories in this pedestrian-friendly paradise.

Transportation Services in Vail

In addition to the joys of exploring Vail Village on foot or by bike, the town offers various convenient transportation services to help you navigate easily. Whether you’re looking to hop on a free bus, hail a taxi, or use a ride-sharing app like Uber or Lyft, Vail has you covered. These transportation options provide a hassle-free way to get around, especially when you’re carrying ski gear or luggage or simply want to give your feet a rest after a day of exploring. 

The Town of Vail Bus System

Vail intown bus service
Using the Vail Bus System is Easy and Free

The Town of Vail provides a complimentary year-round bus service that connects Vail Village, Lionshead Village, and other key areas. This convenient and reliable transportation option is perfect for those looking to save money and avoid the hassle of driving and parking in Vail.

The main bus routes include:

  1. In-Town Shuttle: This shuttle runs between Vail Village and Lionshead Village, stopping at Golden Peak and the Covered Bridge. During peak times, buses arrive every 7-10 minutes.
  2. West Vail Green: This bus serves the West Vail area, with stops at the Vail Transportation Center, Chamonix Lane, and North Frontage Road.
  3. West Vail Red: This bus also serves West Vail, with stops at the Vail Transportation Center, Intermountain, and Buffehr Creek.
  4. East Vail: Connecting the Vail Transportation Center to the East Vail neighborhood.
  5. Golf Course: Running between the Vail Transportation Center and the Vail Golf Club.
  6. Sandstone: Serving the Sandstone neighborhood with stops at the Vail Transportation Center and Vail Racquet Club.

Bus schedules change seasonally to accommodate fluctuations in ridership demand. During the winter season (mid-December to mid-April), service frequency is at its highest, with buses running every 7-10 minutes on the main routes to cater to the influx of skiers and snowboarders. The service is slightly reduced in the summer (mid-May to mid-November) but still offers frequent buses every 10-15 minutes. Spring (mid-April to mid-May) sees the lowest frequency, with buses running every 20-60 minutes on most routes.

SeasonDatesService Level
WinterMid-December – Mid-AprilHighest frequency, 7-10 minute intervals on main routes
SummerMid-May – Mid-NovemberSlightly reduced, 10-15 minute intervals on main routes
SpringMid-April – Mid-MayLowest frequency, 20-60 minute intervals on most routes

The following table provides a more detailed breakdown of the bus route frequencies:

West Vail GreenEvery 15-30 min (5:50 am-8:15 pm), Every 30 min (8:30 pm-2am)
West Vail RedEvery 30 min (6 am-8:30 pm), Every 40 min (9:10 pm-1:50 am)
East VailEvery 15-30 min (5:50 am-8:15 pm), Every 30 min (8:30 pm-2 am)
Golf CourseVaries from every 30 min to every hour
SandstoneVaries from every 30 minutes to every hour
In-Town ShuttleEvery 5-10 min

To access bus schedules and real-time information, you can:

  1. Visit the Town of Vail website, which provides detailed bus schedules for each season.
  2. Download the free Vail Transit app for real-time bus tracking, route maps, and schedules.
  3. Stop by the Vail Transportation Center, where you can find physical copies of bus schedules and digital displays showing real-time bus arrivals.
  4. Check the digital signs at many bus stops throughout Vail, which display real-time arrival information.

Vail’s buses are equipped with bike racks and can carry skis and snowboards, making them convenient for those looking to access the slopes or trailheads without driving. Additionally, many Vail hotels offer complimentary shuttle service to the village centers, providing yet another easy way to get around town.

To explore beyond Vail, ECO Transit offers daily regional bus service connecting the town to nearby destinations like Beaver Creek, Leadville, Minturn, Eagle-Vail, Avon, Edwards, Eagle, and Gypsum. Buses depart the Vail Transportation Center every 30 minutes from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., with fares ranging from $3-5 each way.

Taxi Services for Getting Around Vail

taxi service in Vail
A Taxi Service in Vail Can be Convenient, especially if you have bikes or ski gear to haul

For those who prefer the convenience of a taxi for local transportation, Vail offers several reliable taxi companies that operate 24/7, 365 days a year. Taxis provide a comfortable and efficient way to get around town, especially when carrying luggage or wanting a direct ride to your destination. Taxis might be ideal if you want to visit the nearby towns of Avon or Beaver Creek. You might also find that taxiing from the local Safeway or Citi Market in West Vail is the most convenient solution.

Two of the most prominent local taxi companies in Vail are:

  1. Ride Taxi Vail (970-949-1111): Established by locals, Ride Taxi Vail is a popular choice for residents and visitors. They offer on-demand calls, advance reservations, and special services for weddings, conferences, and corporate groups.
  2. High Mountain Taxi (970-524-5555): High Mountain Taxi provides local taxi service in Vail, Beaver Creek, and Eagle County. Their knowledgeable drivers operate a fleet of 6-passenger minivans, accommodating groups, luggage, and ski gear.

While it is possible to hail a taxi on the street in Vail, it is recommended that you call ahead or visit the taxi stand at the Vail Transportation Center for the most reliable service. Taxis can also be found at major hotels and popular destinations throughout town.

    Using Uber and Lyft in Vail

    Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft operate in Vail, providing on-demand transportation through mobile apps. While driver availability may be more limited compared to larger cities, these services offer a convenient way to get around, especially during off-peak hours or when traveling to areas not serviced by the bus system.

    Uber offers several ride options in Vail, including UberX, UberXL, Uber Black, and Uber Black SUV, as well as ski rack-equipped vehicles through UberSki. While available, Lyft may have fewer drivers than Uber. Pricing for both services varies based on demand and can be higher during peak times.

    Despite these challenges, ride-sharing remains a popular option for visitors to Vail. Many people who plan to visit the valley often don’t rent a car, relying instead on services like Uber and Lyft to get around. This is especially true after a long day of skiing when visitors may want to go out for a few drinks with friends and need a safe ride back to their hotel.

    To use Uber or Lyft in Vail, download the app, enter your pickup and drop-off locations, and request a ride. It’s important to note that while the apps always show a price, they don’t guarantee you’ll get a driver. Additionally, the Vail Eagle County Airport only recently began allowing Uber pickups, so availability may be more limited there.

    Car Rentals for Getting Around Vail

    If you absolutely need the flexibility of having your own vehicle, car rentals are available from several major companies, including Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, Sixt, and Thrifty. Vehicles can be rented at Eagle County Regional Airport or other locations in town. It’s recommended to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, to ensure availability.

    When renting a car in Vail, consider factors such as parking costs, winter driving conditions, and the potential need for an SUV or all-wheel-drive vehicle. Vail offers a variety of parking options, including free and paid parking lots and on-street parking in certain areas. However, parking can be limited and expensive, especially in the village core.

    If you plan to drive in the winter, be prepared for snowy and icy conditions. The Colorado Department of Transportation recommends that all vehicles have snow tires, all-wheel drive, or chains during winter. Many rental car companies offer vehicles equipped for winter driving, but it’s important to specify your needs when booking.

    Before renting a car, familiarize yourself with driving in the mountains. Vail is located at a high elevation, and the winding roads can be challenging for those not used to mountain driving. Take your time, use lower gears on steep grades, and be aware of wildlife, especially at dawn and dusk.

    Getting to and from Vail

    blue sky limo's denver to vail shuttle service
    Blue Sky Limo’s Denver to Vail Shuttle Service

    Blue Sky Limo provides door-to-door airport shuttle service with highly competitive rates for those flying into Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE), the closest airport to Vail, just 30 minutes away. Our luxury fleet of top-of-the-range 4WD SUVs is the most comfortable way to travel from Eagle Airport to Vail anytime.

    If you arrive at Denver International Airport (DEN), Blue Sky Limo also offers shuttle service from Denver to Vail. Our Vail airport transfer rates start at $595 for a large SUV accommodating 1-4 passengers, with service available 24/7. Blue Sky Limo is dedicated to providing the best Denver airport transportation service to Vail.

    Additional Resources

    To help you navigate Vail’s transportation options and plan your trip, here are some useful resources:

    • Town of Vail Bus Schedules: Find detailed routes, maps, and timetables for Vail’s free in-town bus service.
    • ECO Transit: Access schedules, fares, and route information for Eagle County’s regional bus system.
    • Vail Parking Information: Discover details on parking rates, locations, and regulations in Vail.
    • Vail Transit App: View real-time bus tracking and plan trips using Vail’s transit system.

    Final Thoughts About Getting Around Vail

    Getting around Vail is a breeze, thanks to its walkable layout, free bus system, and various transportation options. Whether you choose to explore on foot, by bike, via the convenient bus service, with ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft, or by renting your own car, you’ll find that navigating the town is easy and enjoyable. With a little planning and the help of the resources provided, you can make the most of your time in this stunning mountain destination.