Eagle County, Colorado: Premier Destination for Nature Lovers


Eagle County, Colorado, is a premier destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers, attracting over 1.4 million visitors annually. Spanning 1,692 square miles in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, this scenic region of the United States that boasts world-class ski resorts, endless hiking and biking trails, gold-medal fishing rivers, and charming mountain towns brimming with history and culture.


  • Eagle County is home to famous ski resorts like Vail and Beaver Creek that offer year-round outdoor recreation.
  • The county features scenic byways, mountain passes, hiking trails, and rivers for fishing and rafting.
  • Historic towns like Minturn and Red Cliff provide a glimpse into the area's mining and railroad heritage.

Destination Overview

Eagle County’s claim to fame is its collection of world-renowned ski resorts. Vail, the largest ski mountain in Colorado, put the county on the map when it opened in 1962. Today, Vail and neighboring Beaver Creek draw skiers and snowboarders from around the globe with over 7,000 acres of skiable terrain combined.

But the allure of Eagle County extends far beyond the slopes. In the summer, the resorts transform into havens for hiking, mountain biking, zip lining, disc golf, and more. Throughout the county, a network of scenic trails and byways showcase the rugged beauty of the Rockies. Highlights include the paved Eagle Valley Trail, Vail Pass bike path, and Shrine Pass Road.

For a dose of history and small-town charm, visitors can explore quaint communities like Minturn, a former railroad town, and Red Cliff, one of Colorado’s oldest mining settlements. The county seat of Eagle offers a bustling main street and a popular farmers market. No matter where you roam in Eagle County, jaw-dropping vistas of jagged peaks and alpine valleys provide a stunning backdrop.

Local Experiences and Culture

To truly immerse yourself in Eagle County’s local flavor, don’t miss signature events like the Vail Dance Festival, Beaver Creek Wine & Spirits Festival, and Eagle County Fair & Rodeo. Weekly farmers markets in Vail, Minturn, and Edwards brim with fresh produce, artisan goods, and live music.

The county is also a hot spot for art and culture. Galleries like the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum and Vail International Gallery showcase the area’s rich ski heritage and vibrant art scene. Frequent outdoor concerts and theater performances add to the cultural offerings.

Foodies will delight in Eagle County’s dynamic culinary landscape, from casual brewpubs to fine dining restaurants with award-winning wine lists. Must-try local specialties include elk, trout, and seasonal produce from the county’s farms and ranches.

Scenic Routes and Outdoor Adventures

With seven scenic and historic byways winding through Eagle County, there’s no shortage of stunning drives to take your breath away. The Top of the Rockies byway crosses the Continental Divide and traces the historic routes of miners and railroaders.

For the ultimate high-alpine drive, cruise up Mount Evans Scenic Byway, the highest paved road in North America, climbing to 14,130 feet. Independence Pass and Vail Pass also deliver heart-stopping vistas around every hairpin turn.

Hikers and backpackers can tackle hundreds of miles of trails through wildflower-filled meadows, aspen groves, and evergreen forests. Popular routes include Booth Falls, Shrine Ridge, and the epic 45-mile Eagle-Vail Trail. Meanwhile, adrenaline junkies can get their fix rafting the Colorado River or rock climbing the craggy cliffs of the Sawatch Range.

Here are some other scenic areas to visit in Eagle County:

  • White River National Forest
  • Vail Valley
  • Sylvan Lake State Park
  • Eagle River

Seasonal Attractions and Events

Each season in Eagle County brings its own unique charms and adventures. In the winter, hit the slopes at Vail, Beaver Creek, Ski Cooper, or Sunlight for world-class skiing and cozy ski town vibes. Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sleigh rides, and dog sledding round out the snowy fun.

As the weather warms, locals and visitors alike flock to the county’s many golf courses like Eagle Ranch Golf Club, disc golf parks, and trails. Don’t miss the colorful wildflower hikes in late June and early July. Come fall, the aspen trees put on a dazzling display of gold – prime leaf peeping season.

Signature events include the GoPro Mountain Games, Vail Oktoberfest, Beaver Creek Rodeo Series, and Minturn Market. From ice carving competitions to beer festivals to outdoor concerts, there’s always something happening in Eagle County.

Family and Group Travel

With its wealth of kid-friendly activities and group-sized accommodations, Eagle County is a perfect pick for multigenerational vacations. Ski resorts offer lessons and programs for all ages and abilities. Come summer, families can ride the alpine coaster and ropes courses, pan for gold in Breckenridge, or spot wildlife on a jeep tour.

The county is also a popular destination for weddings, reunions, and corporate retreats, with dozens of ranches, lodges, and resorts that can host events of all sizes. Many properties offer on-site catering, event planning, and group activities like horseback riding, whitewater rafting, and team-building challenges.

Historical and Cultural Landmarks

Eagle County’s rich history comes alive at sites like Camp Hale, where the 10th Mountain Division trained for mountain warfare during World War II. The Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum in Vail traces the evolution of skiing in the state, while the Minturn Schoolhouse documents the area’s mining and railroad heritage.

For a deep dive into the county’s past, visit the Eagle County Historical Museum or take a walking tour of the Red Cliff or Minturn historic districts. Ghost towns like Gilman and Holy Cross City offer eerie glimpses into the boom and bust of the mining era.

On the cultural front, Eagle County boasts a thriving arts scene anchored by the Vilar Performing Arts Center, which hosts dance, music, comedy, and theater. Numerous galleries showcase the work of local artists and host frequent art walks and workshops.

Culinary Scene and Local Delicacies

From farm-to-table bistros to classic steakhouses to craft breweries, Eagle County’s food and drink scene has something for every palate. Vail Village and Lionshead are packed with award-winning restaurants, while Edwards and Eagle boast more low-key local favorites.

Must-try dishes include elk tenderloin, smoked trout, and seasonal salads featuring produce from farms like Knapp Ranch and Eaton Ranch. Wash it down with a beer from Vail Brewing Company, or sip cocktails with a view at the Remedy Bar in the Four Seasons.

For a hands-on culinary experience, visit one of the many farmers markets or sign up for a cooking class at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards. Food and wine festivals throughout the year showcase the best of the county’s bounty.

Relaxation and Wellness

After a long day of play in the great outdoors, treat yourself to some well-deserved pampering at one of Eagle County’s many spas and wellness centers. The Sonnenalp Spa in Vail and the Allegria Spa in Beaver Creek are known for their luxurious treatments featuring locally sourced ingredients.

Yoga studios and fitness centers abound, offering everything from hot yoga to pilates to spin classes. Many resorts also have on-site wellness facilities with state-of-the-art gyms, pools, and saunas.

For a more immersive wellness experience, book a stay at the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon, which offers a full slate of fitness classes, nutrition consultations, and spa treatments. Or unplug completely at one of the county’s backcountry huts or yurts, accessible only by foot or snowshoe.

From its world-class ski slopes to its pristine wilderness areas to its vibrant arts and culture scene, Eagle County offers a multitude of adventures and attractions for every type of traveler. Whether you’re seeking heart-pumping thrills or serene beauty, this Rocky Mountain gem delivers in spades. Start planning your Eagle County getaway today, and get ready to be wowed by the majesty of the Colorado Rockies.


What is the best time of year to visit Eagle County?

It depends on your interests. Winter is ideal for skiing and snowboarding, while summer is perfect for hiking, biking, and festivals. Fall brings stunning foliage, and spring is a quieter time with fewer crowds.

How do I get to Eagle County?

Eagle County is served by the Eagle County Regional Airport, with direct flights from major cities like Denver, Chicago, and Los Angeles. You can also drive from Denver in about 2 hours.

What are the must-see attractions in Eagle County?

Top sights include Vail and Beaver Creek ski resorts, the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum, and the many scenic drives and hiking trails throughout the county.

Are there any hot springs in Eagle County?

While there are no natural hot springs in Eagle County itself, the nearby towns of Glenwood Springs and Hot Sulphur Springs offer several options for soaking in mineral-rich waters.

What is the altitude of Eagle County?

The elevation of Eagle County ranges from around 6,000 feet in the valleys to over 14,000 feet atop Mount of the Holy Cross. Visitors coming from lower elevations should take time to acclimate and stay hydrated.


About the author

Shannon Persad

As a seasoned journalist and Colorado native, I bring a deep-rooted connection and comprehensive understanding of Colorado to my work at ReadyColorado.com. My appreciation for the state’s rich history, vibrant culture, and pressing environmental issues drives my commitment to exploring its evolving landscape—from the bustling urban centers to the tranquil mountain towns.