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Vail Neighborhoods

Vail refers to more than just the boundaries of the Town of Vail. The Vail Valley extends west from the base of Vail Pass, moving from higher mountain climes to lower, dryer areas such as Eagle. As Vail has grown in size, the “Vail” area has expanded from East Vail (mile marker 180) to approximately the Eagle exit off I-70 (mile marker 147) where the Eagle Airport is located. While East Vail is mostly residential, including the Vail Racquet Club and the Vail Golf Club, there are four different portals in which guests can access the mountain from town: Golden Peak, Vail Village, Lionshead and Cascade Village. Golden Peak is the eastern-most portal, where Lindsey Vonn trains pre-season. Vail Village is one of the two largest base areas, containing numerous shopping, dining and lodging options. Lionshead comprises the other major base area in Vail, with Cascade Village following to the west. West Vail encompasses residential and commercial properties, including restaurants and the major grocery store options. Minturn, a historic mining town located just west of Vail, retains its charm and local flavor, as does the quirky town of Red Cliff. A bit farther west on I-70, you’ll find the town of Avon, where Beaver Creek Resort is located. 

East Vail

East Vail is the area farthest east in the Vail Valley. During the winter, East Vail is home to several natural ice-climbing features and the East Vail Chutes, a favorite for hard-core back-country skiers (this area is not patrolled and the avalanche risk is usually quite high, so best leave these lines for the experts). During the summer, East Vail has several breathtaking (both literally and figuratively speaking) hikes; the bike path for Vail Pass is also located in East Vail. While it’s a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of the Village, the free bus system accesses East Vail regularly.

West Vail

The west Vail area is mostly residential, with many condos and larger houses. On the northern side of I-70, you’ll find the two major grocery stores (City Market and Safeway) as well as a liquor store, several restaurants (Gohan Ya is a favorite for inexpensive Japanese food; the West Side Café is a favorite breakfast spot) and other businesses. While most visitors don’t patronize West Vail, there are a few gems to be found. 

Minturn/Red Cliff

Just past Vail, the town of Minturn sits at the confluence of Gore Creek and the Eagle River. Settlers in the 1800s both farmed and mined for silver; the arrival of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad in 1887 turned Minturn into a thriving crossroads. Today, Minturn has retained its historic roots and small-town feel. Take the time to check out Main Street and have a beverage at the Minturn Saloon (a landmark in the Vail Valley). Following the road through Minturn, you’ll come to the town of Red Cliff, the oldest town in Eagle County. Though the brothels and bars of the mining boom town have closed, Red Cliff remains an idyllic refuge for a wide variety of people.

Avon/Beaver Creek

Home to Vail’s sister resort, the town of Avon is located about 15 minutes down I-70 from Vail. While Beaver Creek’s motto is “Not Exactly Roughing It,” the town of Avon is a bit more laid-back. You’ll find big-box stores such as Wal-Mart and Office Max interspersed with great local pubs like Finnegan’s Wake or Loaded Joe’s. Enter the gates at Beaver Creek and be prepared to gawk at massive houses and luxury properties, including Park Hyatt Beaver Creek and The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch. Beaver Creek is a well-known family resort; the enclosed nature of the village allows kids to run free (and wild, at times).  

The Portals to the Mountain

Golden Peak

On the eastern end of the “main drag”, you’ll find the smaller base area of Golden Peak. During the winter, Golden Peak is a great place to access the mountain without dealing with some of the crowds you’ll find in the other base areas. The Gerald Ford Amphitheater, the summer outdoor concert venue for Vail, is located near Golden Peak, as is the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, the highest botanical garden in the world at 8,250 feet above sea level.

Vail Village

The Village is the most iconic of areas in Vail with its Bavarian influences and was the original base area when the mountain opened in 1964. When you stroll the mostly pedestrian-only streets (which are heated so that the snow melts in the wintertime) you’ll find upscale clothing and jewelry shops, art galleries, a new bowling alley and movie theater, and a variety of restaurants.


Lionshead was originally built in the 1970s and, until a few years ago, maintained much of the original buildings. In January of 2008, the Arrabelle at Vail Square, a RockResort, were completed. This new construction gave Lionshead a much-needed face lift and recalls more of the Alpine influence of the founders. You’ll see people enjoying the ice rink in the winter and the various restaurant patios with mountain views in the summer. The Eagle Bahn gondola is located in Lionshead, which transports guests to Eagle’s Nest and Adventure Ridge year-round.

Cascade Village

Cascade Village is the smallest base area with just one lift located at the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa.