Eagle County, named after the Eagle River, hosts 52,727 residents and encompasses several breathtaking towns, of which Vail is the most popular and Edwards has the highest population. Aside from the renowned ski resorts, Eagle County has a rich history, housing 45 different historic sites, museums, and attractions encircled by four rivers: Eagle, Colorado, Roaring Fork, and Crystal River. The county has numerous areas to explore for all skills and levels, including outdoor activities and leisurely picturesque mountain views from any angle. Below are some popular towns offering their unique history and wonders to see.
If you are looking for ski and snowboard rental in Eagle and Summit counties, don’t hesitate to visit one of Charter Sports’ 14 locations in the area. Charter Sports has proudly provided affordable ski and snowboard rental equipment since 1988.
Avon is about 10 miles down the highway west of Vail and offers plenty of recreation, seasonal events, and outdoor activities. It also hosts Beaver Creek Resort, just 2 miles south, considered one of the most iconic ski resorts in Colorado.
You must get your outdoor fix in if you visit Avon during the summer. Some of our favorite outdoor summer activities include golf at Eagle Vail Golf Course, Vail Valley Anglers fly fishing at Gore Creek, rock climbing at Apex Mountain School, and river rafting and tubing on the Colorado River. Make sure to note their Art Around Avon, an art exhibit scattered throughout the town within walking locations. Lastly, Walking Mountains Science Center offers kids and adults opportunities to learn and discover unique mountain habitats.
You can’t visit Eagle County without skiing at the world-renowned Beaver Creek Resort, just two miles south of Avon. Home to an array of runs for all skier levels, there is something for the whole family at this luxury mountain resort. When the weather outside is not so delightful, Avon Recreation Center has an inside swimming pool and many fun activities for all ages. Vail Valley Escape Room is a fun choice for any time of the year, offering games, puzzles, and entertainment for the whole family.
Eagle county is named after the Eagle River, running directly through the town of Eagle. With a population of 7,511, this quaint mountain town is just 30 miles down the highway west of Vail. Here, you can explore various excellent single-track trails for hiking, biking, trail running, and horseback riding, but check for seasonal closuresbefore you head out.
A stroll along Eagle River is an excellent treat in any season, and you may find anglers and fishermen along the way. Rafting and kayaking at the river are undoubtedly popular among visitors and locals alike. Sylvan Lake State Park is a perfect escape to admire nature. If you want to go on an active adventure, the park is an excellent place for hiking, camping, mountain biking, and wildlife watching while marveling at the surrounding mountain nature. The lake is also home to various fish species.
Edwards hosts the largest community in the Vail Valley, with a population of 11,246 as of the last 2020 census. This quiet, family town might be the true hidden gem of Eagle County. Edwards is where people working in nearby Vail and Avon live because pricing is more affordable and less touristy. But where Edwards loses Boujee points, it makes up for authenticity. Nothing says mountain town more than sipping your favorite beverage underneath the sparkling mountain stars along the Edwards Riverwalk. Enjoy fine dining, shopping, and live entertainment year-round, especially on those warm summer nights.
Some of our favorite entertainment include grabbing a beer at Crazy Mountain Brewery, planning a picnic at Edwards Freedom Park, or taking the little ones horseback riding at Bearcat Stables. You can also lace up your hiking boots with endless trails in White River National Forest, a world-renowned outdoor destination covering 2.3 million acres.
Lastly, if you are visiting Edwards, don’t miss the weekly summer farmer market, where you can purchase local produce and mingle with Colorado artists. Each Friday evening, there is live music on the Riverwalk. And during October, Edwards hosts an excellent pumpkin patch that is fun for the whole family.
Minturn is one of the smallest towns in Eagle County, with only 1,004 residents. Like Red Cliff and other less popular towns of Eagle County, the population in Minturn had drastically declined since the 1990s when the mining industry closed. However, if timed appropriately, you can still tour Eagle Mine. Every two years, Eagle River Watershed Council leads a guided tour of the old mine where attendees can walk among the remaining structures and learn about their history.
Minturn is only a ten-minute drive from Vail, so even if you don’t stay overnight in this tiny Colorado town, it’s still worth visiting if you are in the area. Main Street is home to several fantastic restaurants, including Minturn Country Club, a local favorite! If you are looking for a day trip, the scenic byway from Minturn to Leadville is a picturesque, high-altitude beauty.
Just 20 minutes southwest of Vail by Highway 24, Red Cliff is the oldest town in Eagle County, first emerging with the surge of the Colorado Silver Boom. Like other small mining towns, the population eventually declined to a meager 256 residents. Despite the tiny community, Red Cliff offers unique attractions often overshadowed by more popular resort towns in the county.
Red Cliff Bridge is an enormous steel arch bridge, one of only two in Colorado. The bridge hovers over the old Union Pacific Railroad track and Eagle River, with views of the town of Redcliff on the north side. You can also tour the abandoned Eagle Mine, once a profitable mining operation that led to an ecological disaster still in the works.
Vail is the most famous of all Eagle County towns, given its quaint Bavarian style. Once known for being the largest ski resort in North America, and home to the 10th Mountain US Army Division, there is no shortage of trails and slopes to suit every fitness level. Vail’s population has quickly grown since the early 2,000s and is currently at 4,735 residents. There are also an additional 5,000 residents who seasonally reside in Vail. Architecturally, Vail was influenced by western Europeans of German, Swiss, Austrian, and Italian descent.
Vail’s most famous attraction is its beautiful resort, no matter the season. The massive ski slopes during winter turn into beautiful hiking and biking trails in summer. Regardless, Vail is picturesque any time of year, but during certain months the town dies down, and many shops and restaurants close for the season intermission. There are pros to the down months, though, especially pricing on hotels and accommodations.
Outside its famous ski resorts, you can wander into the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, catch a concert at the Ford Amphitheater, or enjoy Vail’s “Must-Do” summer Vail Pass Bike tour with Charter Sports. We also recommend passing through Vail recreation path, hiking Booth Falls Trail, or enjoying the mountain overview in the comfort of a Gondola ride. One thing you are not going to want to miss is stand-up paddleboarding, canoeing, and fishing at Piney River Ranch.
Vail is also home to the historic wartime camp training site at Camp Hale, the only one this size in the US where soldiers participate in intense mountains and arctic training. We also recommend hiking Missouri Lake Trail, stretching 4.4 miles, and leading up to Cross Creek Trail and Fancy Pass Trail, with glacial lakes and streams.
Other Towns in Eagle County