A little less than 100 miles away from Denver lies the beautiful mountain town of Vail. Home to some of the world’s best skiing terrain, world class restaurants and shopping, and tons of other fun outdoor activities for both winter and summer, it’s no wonder Vail is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the country. But how to get from Denver to Vail?
There is a local regional airport located by Gypsum, which is a 30 minute drive away from Vail. It is possible to fly into Eagle Regional Airport (EGE), but there are limited flight options, and most international travelers bound for Vail will be landing at Denver International, and then making their way from Denver to Vail by one of several means.
Traveling from Denver International to Vail is going to take 1 hour and 59 minutes (depending on weather and traffic conditions). The journey itself is 121.5 miles, and goes through the outskirts of the city of Denver, through the foothills of the Rockies, then through Summit County, over the Vail Pass, and finally arriving in Vail. It’s a beautiful drive through winding mountain roads, with plenty of breathtaking views along the way.
There are several option to consider when planning your journey from Denver to Vail. Your method of transit will depend on several factors such a budget, time constraints, number of passengers, and comfort.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the options you have when planning your trip from Denver to Vail, Colorado
1. Denver to Vail by Private Airport Shuttle
To fully splurge and relax on your journey from Denver to Vail, consider booking a private Vail shuttle service. Having your own exclusive chauffeured car means skipping waiting in line for other passengers, having to rent a car and drive yourself. It also means not having to worry about parking once you get to Vail (parking is hard to find and also expensive), and not having to drive yourself for over two hours through sometimes pretty hazardous road conditions.
You’ll also get to enjoy some pleasant conveniences such as fast Wi-Fi (to catch up on work or communications), built in entertainment options (cartoons for the kids), and roomy comfy seating in a large luxury SUV. After a long international flight, there’s nothing quite like sitting back, stretching out, and letting someone else do the driving.
There’s also the added benefit of having a Vail Valley local as your driver. They have the inside scoop on all the best places to eat, upcoming shows, current promotions and specials, not to mention the best powder runs to take.
2. Denver to Vail by Shared Shuttle Service
More budget conscious travelers coming to Vail from Denver Airport might also consider using one of the shared shuttle providers operating in the valley. There are several Vail transportation companies available, and they have fixed scheduled routes running all day long.
These are cheaper priced, but do come with some drawbacks. For one, the journey itself is longer in that you will have to wait for all the other passengers to get on and disembark. There will also be more scheduled stops along the way.
Another drawback is that unlike a private shuttle, with the shared service you might have to wait an hour or more for the next scheduled service. There’s also the limitation of personal space and comfort and sitting with many other people in rather cramped conditions.
3. Denver to Vail by Car
Driving yourself to Vail is definitely an option to consider. It does come with some strings attached. 1st of all parking is very expensive in Vail. The parking structures next to the slopes in Vail Village, Lionshead and Golden Peak, all fill up very quickly. If you are staying at one of the hotels, they also typically charge very high daily rates. Also, driving from Denver to Vail through hazardous road conditions, might not be suitable for all drivers, and you might consider using a shuttle service like Blue Sky Limo instead.
The main question you should ask yourself prior to going ahead with a car rental is “Do I really need a car in Vail?”
For most people the answer to this question will be “No, absolutely not!” There is an incredible and completely free public transportation service within Vail. The in-town busses operate from the early hours until late at night, and can get you to the slopes and restaurants and shopping areas quickly and conveniently. While it is possible to drive through Vail, it is highly discouraged, and again parking is extremely difficult.
Unless you are planning a trip to another resort, having a rented car in Vail (especially during the winter season) is more of a hindrance than a benefit. And even those planning trips to other resorts such as Beaver Creek, or Arrowhead, might consider simply booking a car service for that day. In the end, booking a chauffeured car will work out cheaper and more convenient than bringing a rented car to Vail, and will allow you to get the most out of your trip to Vail.
4. Denver to Vail by Bus
By far, the most budget friendly way of getting from Denver to Vail is by using the Bustang bus which is operated by the Colorado Department of Transportation. This is an option that great for budget conscious Denver residents or students coming from abroad, however will probably be a little too inconvenient for most tourists coming to Vail especially in the winter.
The busses depart from Union Station (downtown Denver) twice each day at 7:00am and 5:40pm. Vail bound visitors arriving at DIA (Denver International Airport), will first have to make their way to Union Station by either taxi or light rail.
The bus ride itself takes just over 2.5 hours due to many frequent stops along the way. While traveling by bus will save plenty of money, it will also add many more hours to the journey.
5. Denver to Vail by Air
It is also possible to fly from Denver to Vail. Flights between DIA and EGE are only 35 minutes, and then it’s just a quick car ride to Vail Village. There are plenty of private car service operators who can offer transportation to Vail from Eagle Airport. Some people refer to Eagle Airport as Vail Colorado Airport.
The flight option is worth considering for International travelers who are landing at Denver International; as well as domestic travelers who would rather land closer to Vail.
There are direct flights available throughout the year from many major cities across the country, and Eagle Regional Airport is adding new routes and destinations every year, making it an option well worth considering.
There are currently fewer flight available in the summer than winter; however this also is starting to change, and more flights are becoming available for the summer months.
Deciding on How to Get from Denver to Vail
In the end, it doesn’t matter how you get to Vail as long as you come. With so much fun and enjoyment to be had in Vail, the logistics of getting here are just the small details. Sure it’s important to plan your trip, but really all you have to do is make the choice to come visit. The rest will take care of itself. Enjoy your stay in Vail, it really is “Like no Place on Earth!”