Where to Find Free Parking in Vail?

Free and Affordable Parking Options in Vail

Are you planning on visiting Vail, Colorado for a ski trip or summer getaway? Don’t let expensive parking rates get you down. You’re about to discover insider tips on finding free and affordable parking options in Vail year-round. With careful planning, you can minimize expenses and focus on enjoying the slopes or summer activities. Get ready to experience the magic of Vail without worrying about those pesky high parking costs.

free parking in Vail illustration

Understanding Vail’s Official Parking Options and Rates

Before we explore the free parking options, let’s take a moment to understand the various parking locations offered by the resort and their current rates:

Winter Parking (Mid-November to Mid-April)

During the winter months, parking can be expensive, especially near the slopes if you’re driving into Vail. The Vail Village and Lionshead parking structures are the most convenient options for those looking to hit the ski slopes but be prepared to pay a premium. Here’s a breakdown of the winter parking rates for these structures:

official vail parking map

Vail Village and Lionshead Parking Structures

The Vail Village and Lionshead parking structures are ideal for those looking to park near the slopes. However, parking at these structures is pricy during the winter season.

Parking Rates for Vail Village and Lionshead Structures
0 to 1 hourFREEFREE
1 to 2 hours$5*$10*
2 to 3 hours$10*$20*
3 to 4 hours$20*$30*
4+ hours$30**$40**
Entry after 3 p.m. – 4 a.m.FREEFREE
Overnight Rate (4 a.m. – 5 a.m.) No top deck parking$60**$60**
Lionshead and Vail Village Parking Rates 2024

Summer Parking (Mid-May to Mid-October)

In the summer, parking in Vail is generally more affordable and accessible. The Vail Village and Lionshead parking structures offer mostly free parking, with a few exceptions for overnight stays. Additionally, the Red Sandstone parking garage provides another option for free daytime parking with lower overnight rates compared to the main structures. Let’s take a closer look at the summer parking details:

Vail Village and Lionshead Parking Structures

During the summer months, parking is mostly free in the Vail Village and Lionshead structures, with a few exceptions:

  • Daytime parking is free from 5 a.m. to 3 a.m. the next day
  • Overnight parking from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. is $35 per night
  • The summer parking program typically begins around Memorial Day weekend and runs through mid-October
  • In 2023, summer paid parking operations are scheduled to start on Friday, May 26

Red Sandstone Parking Garage

route from Red Sandstone parking garage to Vail Village

The Red Sandstone parking garage at 559 North Frontage Road offers additional free daytime parking. Overnight summer rates are lower than the Vail Village and Lionshead structures:

  • Daytime parking is free from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Overnight parking is $15 per night

Where to Find Free Parking in Vail Year-Round

While the Vail Village and Lionshead parking structures can be expensive, especially during the winter, there are several options for free parking in Vail throughout the year. These free parking areas may require a bit more planning and a short bus or shuttle ride to reach the slopes or villages, but they can help you save money on your trip. Here are some of the best places to find free parking in Vail:

South Frontage Road Overflow Parking

One of the best options for free parking in Vail is the South Frontage Road overflow parking. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Free parking is available on the South Frontage Road when both Vail Village and Lionshead parking structures are full
  • Look for variable message signs indicating when this option is available
  • Park on the I-70 (north) side of the road, leaving room on the shoulder and not blocking driveways
  • To access the slopes or town, take the free bus or shuttle from the overflow parking area

Donovan Park

route from Donovan Park parking to Vail Village

Another excellent option for free parking in Vail year-round is Donovan Park:

  • Offers 90 free parking spaces from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. when the pavilion is unused
  • Shuttle service from the nearby Matterhorn bus stop will take you to the slopes or village

North Frontage Road in West Vail

The North Frontage Road in West Vail provides additional free parking options:

  • Free parking is available across from the West Vail Mall and near Safeway from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • A free bus service runs from this location to the resort base areas and villages.

Red Sandstone Park and Garage

Red Sandstone Park and the Red Sandstone parking garage offer free daytime parking year-round:

  • Free parking is available from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • After parking, take the free bus service to access the slopes or villages

Trailhead Parking

Various trailhead parking areas offer free parking in Vail from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m:

  • Gore Creek
  • Pitkin Creek
  • Booth Falls
  • North Trail Spraddle Creek
  • Red Sandstone Creek
  • Buffer Creek
  • Davos

Some trailheads have 3-hour restrictions for trail use, so check the signs. To reach the ski slopes or villages, you’ll need to take the free bus service or shuttle from the trailhead parking.

Minturn: A Hidden Gem for Free Parking

The charming town of Minturn, located just minutes from Vail, offers free street parking and a public lot year-round[1]. After parking in Minturn, take the ECO Transit bus to Vail for just $4 per person. The bus journey takes about 11-12 minutes.

While these free parking options can save you money, they are limited in availability and may require additional transit time. Arrive early to secure a spot, especially on weekends and during peak seasons.

Tips for Finding Parking in Vail

  • Carpool with 4+ people: During winter, parking is free in the structures for vehicles with four or more occupants, even on peak days
  • Arrive early: Aim to arrive before 8:30 a.m. to increase your chances of finding parking
  • Check electronic signs: Look for signs indicating if overflow frontage road parking has been activated
  • Consider off-site parking: Some hotels offer paid parking and shuttle service for guests

Skip the Hassle of Parking in Vail Altogether!

parking on the north frontage road in Vail

If you want to avoid the stress of finding parking altogether, consider using Blue Sky Limo’s private Denver to Vail Airport shuttle service. Our luxurious, reliable Colorado airport transportation service allows you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenic drive to Vail without worrying about parking fees or availability. Plus, you’ll arrive at the slopes in style and ready to conquer the mountain.

Official Vail Parking Information

For the most up-to-date information on parking in Vail, visit the following official resources:

In conclusion, finding free parking in Vail requires some planning and insider knowledge, but it’s not impossible. By exploring the options outlined in this article, such as the South Frontage Road overflow parking, Donovan Park, and the town of Minturn, you can save money on parking and focus on what matters – enjoying Vail’s world-class skiing and snowboarding. Remember to arrive early, carpool when possible, and consider alternative transportation options like Blue Sky Limo’s private shuttle service. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to an unforgettable Vail experience without breaking the bank on parking fees.