Vail Pass Colorado

Timbersled's, Snowmobile's, RZR ATV's, and more

Where is Vail Pass?

Vail Pass is located on I-70 between Summit County and Eagle County Colorado. The pass can be accessed by three public locations: I-70 rest area at the summit of Vail Pass (Mile Marker 190), Red Cliff, and the Camp Hale pull-off along highway 24.


When Does Vail Pass Open?

The Vail Pass Recreational Area does experience seasonal closures. From late April - Early June, the pass will usually be closed to animal migration patterns. During this time of year, no motorized vehicles are allowed to access the trails. Along with animal migrations, the pass will also open/close based on how much snow there is or how little there is. To avoid trail damage, the access gates will remain closed until the majority of the snow has melted off. This helps protect the trails and the local water supply to Red Cliff, Minturn, and Eagle County. The pass will also close when too many users disrepect the land causing the forest service to close the gates. To help avoid these closures, always follow the rules of Leave No Trace and Colorado Trail Etiquette.


What is Vail Pass?

Managed by the US Forest Service, the Vail Pass Recreation area is a 65,000 acre backcountry paradise. There are over 65 miles of motorized trails, over 45 miles of groomed trails and just over 3,000 acres of motorized-assisted (tow-in) ski terrain. Elk Mountain at 12,693 feet is the tallest mountain in the recreation area while the historic Camp Hale is the lowest elevation at 9,100 feet. If you're wondering where to go on Vail Pass, you can check out the trails down by Camp Hale and even stop in the town of Red Cliff for lunch at Mangos Mountain Grill. If you're looking for open powder fields, the Shrine Bowl region offers a popular open field to explore and is easily accessed from the parking spaces at the top of Vail Pass.


Where can you Snowmobile on Vail Pass?

The Vail Pass Snowmobile Map above outlines all of the available areas for Snowmobile Renters and Timbersled Renters to explore as set by the US Forest Service. You are in the Colorado Backcountry as soon as you leave the parking locations so you must be prepared for the unexpected. Avalanche shovels, probes, and beacons should always be in your pack and keep in mind that you will not have cell phone service. You should also carry a GPS device and a topographic map of the area. Vail Pass Colorado offers motorized, non motorized, and backcountry skiing locations, and it is your responsibility to know where you are at all times.


When is the best time to visit Vail Pass?

Weekends on Vail Pass are always the busiest due to heavy "weekend warrior" traffic from Denver, Colorado. With the traffic comes a rush for parking as parking on the pass is limited. We recommend that you arrive early. There is limited parking available at the I-70 Vail Pass Exit and there is a $10 per person fee to park your vehicle so be sure to have some extra cash on hand.

Vail Pass Location Details

Parking Available

Over 65,000 Acres

Located in White River National Forest

Seasonal Activities

Snowmobiling / Timbersleds

Back Country Skiing / Snowboarding

Snowshoeing / XC Skiing

RZR's / 4x4 / Dirt Biking

Hiking / Backpacking

Choose your Vail Pass Rental

Timbersled Snow Bike Rentals

Vail Pass has been our proving grounds for perfecting our Timbersled Snow Bike kits. With a mix of tight trees, open bowls, a variety of terrain, the Timbersleds are the most versatile way to explore Vail Pass. Learn more about Timbersled Snow Bike Rentals

Snowmobile Rentals

Our Polaris PRO RMK850 Patriots are the locals choice for high-performance snowmobiles on Vail Pass. We are the only outfitter that rents these machines in the region. Learn more about Snowmobile Rentals

RZR ATV Rentals

Explore Shrine Pass to Machine Gun Ridge. Vail Pass is home to some of the best trails in the state for RZR Side-by-Sides.  Learn more about RZR Side-by-Side Rentals

Dirt Bike Rentals

Dirt bikes have been gaining in popularity on Vail Pass over the years. Our KTM 450s are available throughout the summer for those of you who prefer to explore on two wheels. Learn more about Dirt Bike Rentals

Vail Pass Map


  1. Alway have Avalanche rescue gear and know how to use it.
  2. Uphill traffic and snowcats have the right of way.
  3. Ride single file. Pass on the left.
  4. Use designated pick-up/drop-off spots.
  5. Stay in control.
  6. Always ride the fall line.
  7. NEVER ride above groups.

These maps are for reference only. Always carry certified U.S. Forest Maps and GPS devices while in the back country. It is your responsibility to know the hazards involved in back country travel and to use proper safety gear and procedures to minimize risks and hazards.