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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Bypass the Crowds in Vail

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3. What to Do


Scale the city's craggy cliffs during rock-climbing lessons with Vail Rock & Ice Guides.  

Hike to Beaver Lake, a six-mile round-trip trek with a 1,500-foot elevation gain. (In October, temperatures climb to the mid-50s during the day, but drop below freezing at night; layers are crucial.) The well-cut trail winds through autumnal aspens, where you might see deer, foxes, and elk. Break at the sandy beach and trout-filled lake at the summit, which will be covered over with snow late next month.

Book a half-day walk-and-wade with Fly Fishing Outfitters, the area’s only Orvis-endorsed guide. Trips span one of four local rivers, where you’ll see blue-winged olives, streamers, and the occasional hopper in fall.

Scale a craggy, vertical patch near Red Cliff with Vail Rock & Ice Guides’ rock-climbing classes (from $95, including gear). Groups cover all skill levels: Beginners learn the basics of belaying and rappelling, while intermediate climbers can test out advanced hand and foot jamming techniques.

Ease into mountain biking—a local obsession—with the Village to Village trail, a wide, low-traffic path that runs three and a half miles from Beaver Creek to Arrowhead. Experienced riders can tackle Two Elk through the end of October, which offers some of the area’s most thrilling descents—6,000 feet down—and panoramic views for nearly the entire trip, particularly at the top of the Outer Mongolia Bowl. Reward yourself with post-ride margaritas at the Minturn Saloon.


Published on Oct 7, 2010 as a web exclusive.

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