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Grooming begins on Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area trails

Vail Pass Rec area
Posted at 12:19 PM, Dec 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 14:19:42-05

VAIL, Colo. — Thanks to snowstorms this week, crews have started to groom the trails around the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area.

The 55,000-acre area shows off stunning views of the nearby mountains, and is a popular place to recreate in the winter with almost 120 miles of motorized and non-motorized trails. It is managed by the USDA Forest Service.

Vail Pass Rangers 2021.jpg
Snow rangers prepare for the 2021-2022 winter season on Vail Pass.

You can download a map of the area via Avenza Maps on your phone for no-service mapping. For current winter trail conditions, check The map is available by clicking here as a PDF and below.

USFS Vail Pass Rec Map

Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area is a very popular winter recreation area for hikers, snowshoers, backcountry skiers, snowboarders, and snowmobilers, so visitors should plan ahead and arrive early. Visitor parking lots are typically full by 9:30 a.m. on Fridays, weekends and holidays. If the parking lots are full, you will need to return later or access the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area from trailheads at Camp Hale or Redcliff. Click here for more details on parking.

Some trails are open to motorized travel and some are not. Maps are available at the fee stations showing which routes are open to vehicles.

Vail Pass Rec Area_ U.S. Forest Service

The White River National Forest has partnered with the Vail Pass Task Force to groom the trails. Day passes cost $10 and are available to buy at the trailheads. Season passes are $65 and can be purchased at the automated fee machine via credit card at Vail Pass or at the Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District in Minturn and the Dillon Ranger District in Silverthorne. Ninety-five percent of these fees fund trail grooming, plowing, ranger patrols and visitor information services at this specific rec area.

The area is typically open for winter recreation until May.

Always check the avalanche forecast before heading into the backcountry in wintry months.