The Best Time to Visit Vail Like a Local

With so much to offer the best time to visit Vail really depends on what you’d like to do. If you’re interested in skiing, then you’ve got to check out Vail in the winter months. Want to hit the trails? Then summer and fall are nice. If you’re interested in experiencing fall in Colorado, then September in Vail is an excellent choice.

We’ll dive into the best time to visit Vail, Colorado for an epic adventure. I’ve lived in Colorado for over 12 years. Vail is something of a second home to me. I’m in the neighborhood at least once a month discovering something new! So if you’re looking to travel to Vail l like a local, not a tourist, then you’re in the right place!

About this Guide to the Best Time to Visit Vail, Colorado

Inside this local guide to when to visit Vail you’ll find:

  • Info on Vail weather
  • The overall best time to visit Vail, Colorado
  • Vail during each season
  • Snow in Vail
  • Additional Colorado travel resources

Weather in Vail, Colorado

Vail is nestled deep in the Rocky Mountains, along the I-70 Corridor. Therefore, Vail sees a typical mountain climate with varied temperatures and rather temperamental weather.

In the winter the highs are between 29 to 24 degrees Fahrenheit and the lows are between 7 and 9 degrees. Snowfall is relatively common with an average of about 30 inches of snow per month.

Springtime is still quite snowy, with around 20 inches of snow per month. Temperatures increase slightly with highs in the 40s to 40s and lows in the teens and twenties.

Summer is known for the monsoon season. Intense, but brief afternoon thunderstorms are common. Temperatures range from the lower to upper 70s and the lows vary from the mid-30s to the low 40s so you’ll still want some warm layers, especially if you’re camping or backpacking.

Fall is another beautiful time of year to visit Vail. Temps start to cool off with highs in the 40s to mid-60s and lows in the teens to low 30s. The first snow typically happens sometime in October.

best time to visit vail

The Best Time to Visit Vail

There are two primary times to visit Vail, Colorado. For hiking and wildflower viewing, late June through early August is the best time to visit Vail. Colorado’s fall colors vary by year, but the third weekend in September is still a great time to visit Vail for fall hikes.

If you’re a snow bunny and you want to hit the slopes, January through mid-March is the best time to visit Vail. The snow is still light and fluffy with plenty of powder.

These two seasons also mark the busy tourist season for Vail. If you want to avoid the crowds, consider visiting Vail in October or May. Keep in mind some of the dirt road access will be limited and some of Vail’s best hikes are inaccessible due to avalanche danger

Vail in the Winter

The snow starts to dust the high peaks in October with substantial snowfalls in vail starting in December. November can be snowy, but in recent years, the snow has pushed towards later in the winter. Winters in Vail are cold and with the ski resort nearby, lodging prices are at an all-time high.

January and February are the snowiest months, with over 30 inches of snowfall on average. These are great times to visit Vail if you’re interested in winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding.

Just remember, many people come to Vail from Denver over the weekends, especially in the winter. This means there will be tremendous amounts of traffic on I-70 and long lift lines. Visit during the week to avoid some of the crowds.

Springtime in Vail, Colorado

Spring in vail is typically mellow. Spring skiing in Vail runs throw mid-April on an average year. Sometimes if there is heavy spring snowfall (which has been the case for the past several years) it may be possible to ski until the end of April.

Snow sticks to the trails into mid-June, with many of the famous Colorado alpine lake hikes – like Gore Lake – holding snow into late June most years.

Late spring is one of the best times to visit Vail if you’re looking to avoid the crowds. With proper footwear like microspikes and snowshoes, you can enjoy several Vail hikes, but they will be more challenging with snow. Backcountry skiers and avid snow climbers will want to visit Vail during May when snow conditions start to stabilize.

Summers in Vail, Colorado

Summers in Vail are absolutely lovely. The warmer temperatures and lush wildflower blooms make it an ideal time to visit. With so many summer activities in Vail, there’s a lot to do from road biking to backpacking. July is prime for wildflower viewing. July and August are popular times for Vail, so definitely be prepared to share the trails. This is also the best season for golfing, camping, and backpacking.

best time to visit vail for hiking

Vail During the Fall

Vail offers up some of the best fall colors in Colorado. In fact, the hillsides come to life with vibrant colors and unique scenery. Fall may be the best time to visit Vail. Piney River Ranch is particularly popular and is home to one of the best fall hikes in Colorado.

However, the leaves change in flash. Typically the colors only last about 10 days, so timing is everything. Each year is different, but planning your visit around the third weekend in September usually coincides with beautiful fall color displays.

October in Vail is quiet and low-key. The scenery is typically brown, but if you’re lucky you may see a dusting of snow on the tops of the high, rocky peaks. November is another quiet season for Vail. It’s cold, but there isn’t quite enough snow for skiing. Hiking is still possible though.

Best Time to Ski Vail

If you want to ski and ride at Vail Resort, then you’ll want to visit Vail between January and early March. These are the snowiest months. The ski conditions are still absolutely prime, with plenty of sugary powder stashes to find. For backcountry skiing, you’ll want to wait until May or June, when conditions start to stabilize. Backcountry skiing in Colorado can be quite dangerous due to high avalanche hazards.

Best Time to Visit Vail to Hike

Hiking in Vail is a real treat. With plenty of wildflower blooms, stunning mountain scenery, and enough challenging hikes to keep even the fittest hiker on their toes, Vail delivers. The best time to visit Vail for hiking is between July and September.

July is the high season for wildflowers, but you’ll have to deal with typically monsoon thunderstorms in the afternoon. In August, the threat of storms subsides, making it an ideal time to tackle hikes above treeline or backpack near Vail. September is ideal for fall colors but is probably the most crowded time to hike in Vail.

Vail in the fall

When is the Best Month to See Snow in Colorado?

If you want to experience snow in Colorado, then you’ll want to time your visit in the winter. January and February are the snowiest months in Colorado. The peaks will definitely have plenty of the white stuff and you’ll get that iconic winter feel. Both months are certainly cold, so be sure to bundle up!

May and June can also be great times to experience snow. Although early May snowstorms are common, they aren’t guaranteed. However, when it does snow, the snowflakes are fat and big. But if you want to see the mountains capped in snow with clearer hiking trails down low, May and June are great times to visit.

What months does it snow in Vail, Colorado?

Vail sees more snow than you would think. The first snowfall typically happens sometime in October, but it’s usually just a light dusting that quickly melts away. Snow starts to stick in November. November through May (and sometimes even June) mark the months that it snows in Vail.

During the winter and fall months, snow tends to be light, fluffy, and powdery. Once spring hits, there is more moisture, making the snowfall heavier and wet.

The best times to visit Vail for snow are between December and March.

Additional Colorado Travel Resources

Ready to explore Colorado like a local, not a tourist? Check out these local Colorado guides:

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Meg aka Fox is a 30-something who's born to explore. Her mission is to get you out on your greatest adventure. She'd rather be dirty than done up.