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The Best Views in Vail

August 27, 2013

Because we clearly didn’t get enough knock-your-socks-off gorgeous views in Cordillera the day before, my family and I decided to take the gondola up to the top of Vail the next day and explore.

Gore Range

Now just because it’s summer unfortunately doesn’t mean that the gondola is free – they’ll still get you for about $30 for a lift ticket.  Usually my friends and I will just hike to the top of the gondola, but it’s a steep and unrelenting hike and I figured my family wouldn’t be speaking to me by the time we made it to the top if we took that route.

No matter how you get up, the views from the top are worth it.

No matter how you get up, the views from the top are worth it.

Adventure Ridge is at the top of the Lionshead gondola, and it’s basically heaven for kids over the summer.  There are brand new zip lines and ropes courses, a trampoline, a kids climbing wall, sand pits for the little guys and just about any other diversion you could imagine that would make kids squeal with delight and parents open up their wallets.  All adults in our group, some of us decided to hike one of the trails accessed from the area while others decided to lounge on the sunny patio and take in the views.

Ridge Route Vail

We hiked along Ridge Route, a pretty mellow trail that traverses the rim of Game Creek Bowl and ends with a view of Vail’s famous Back Bowls.

Ridge Route Vail

The views the whole way were spectacular.

View from Ridge Route Vail

And the wildflowers were out of control.

Vail Wildflowers

After traversing Game Creek Bowl, the trail spit us out at the top of Chair 3 with views down Sun Down Bowl and across to Blue Sky Basin.

The open area across the way is part of Blue Sky Basin, a favorite part of Vail during ski season.

The open area across the way is part of Blue Sky Basin, a favorite part of Vail during ski season.

You can connect to another trail at this point, but we didn’t want to keep the rest of our party waiting too long and decided to turn around right at the entrance to one of my favorite ski runs, Seldom.

Ridge Route Hike

We turned it into a loop by taking the service road back to Adventure Ridge to switch up the still-stellar views.

View from Ridge Route

The loop took us just over an hour round-trip, not the 1.5 – 2 hours one-way that Vail’s website indicates, so I’m guessing that all of their hike time estimates are very conservative.

Later that evening, we returned to Vail for a great view of a different sort.

Vail International Dance Festival

We were in the second row for the Dance TV performance of the Vail International Dance Festival at the Ford Amphitheater.  I love the dance festival and have attended many performances over the year, but Dance TV was my favorite yet.

Vail International Dance Festival

The show was incredibly high-energy, featuring performers from Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Best Dance Crew and more.  There were even a couple of internationally renowned ballerinas thrown in for good measure.  I’ve seen other shows at the festival that many would consider more high-brow, but this one was just plain fun and the dance capabilities were diverse and impressive.

Dance TV Vail International Dance Festival

Dance TV is a regular fixture in the festival and I hope to go again next year.  Even if you don’t watch any of those dance reality shows (what, like you’ve got something better to do?), you would totally enjoy this performance – even my dad loved it.

All in all it was a day of beauty, fun and energy in Vail!

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