Is Vail Village Walkable?

With its relatively small footprint and free local bus system, the mountain resort town of Vail, Colorado is super easy to navigate. Vail has two main villages, Lionshead and Vail Village, connected by a 10-15 walk or an easy bus ride with beautiful mountain views. East Vail, West Vail, and Cascade Village are also closeby. Located along the banks of Gore Creek in the Rocky Mountains, with both summer and winter activities and amenities close at hand, many visitors simply park at their hotel or vacation rental and walk, bike or take the bus everywhere.


Vail Mountain has two main villages: the renowned Vail Village and Lionshead. Vail Village is the main area to stay in Vail due to its central location to the mountain, ski lifts, restaurants, bars and rental shops. Vail Village was the first base area established in 1962, followed by Lionshead Village in 1969. A scenic bike path that follows Gore Creek connects the two villages, which are approximately a mile apart. Both are charming Bavarian-style alpine villages that are lined with heated cobblestone streets exclusively for pedestrians, except for the complimentary bus service.

Lionshead Village is completely closed off to cars and buses and nestled at the base of the Eagle Bahn Gondola. Built in 1969 to reflect Vail Village‘s European alpine style, and majorly renovated in the early 2000s, Lionshead derived its name from a nearby mountain rock outcropping that resembles the head of a lion. Lionshead is smaller than Vail Village but still contains several restaurants, bars, rental shops and access to the mountain. It’s about a 10-15 minute walk from Vail Village and there’s also a complimentary in-town bus if you’re not up for walking. 

Located west of Vail Village and Lionshead along the banks of Gore Creek is Cascade Village. Hop on the Cascade Lift (#20) for world-class skiing and snowboarding or hike and bike the many nearby trails. From the top of the lift you can traverse your way across the mountain to Lionshead and eventually end up at Vail Village. This part of the mountain is usually less crowded than Vail Village or Lionshead.

East Vail is located just east of the Vail golf course nestled beneath the breathtaking East Vail Chutes, this area is the most remote of all the Vail neighborhoods and features cross-country skiing at the Vail nordic center and ice-climbing are right at your fingertips. In West Vail, you’ll find a variety of shopping including grocery stores, hardware stores, more casual restaurants and access to hiking and biking trails. Meander along West Vail’s Davos North Trail and you’ll land in the heart of Vail Village or hop on the free bus. 


While many ski resorts in the western U.S. started as mining towns, Vail was built from the ground up to be a ski resort. During World War II the U.S. Army established a training center at Camp Hale located just 14 miles south of what would later become Vail Mountain. The U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division trained at Camp Hale and produced excellent skiers and mountaineers that fought in the mountains of northern Italy during WWII. Pete Seibert returned to Colorado and teamed up with friend Earl Eaton after the war to search for a perfect location to build a ski area in the Rocky Mountain region. Founded by the two in 1962, Vail was modeled after the fairytale ski resorts they saw in Europe during their time in the war. 

Vail is definitely a pedestrian-friendly destination, thanks to the car-free streets of both Lionshead and Vail Villages. Walking paths connect shops, restaurants and hotels in town, and Vail's extensive recreation trails make it easy and enjoyable to walk from village to village and beyond. Whether you’re heading out for a day of mountain biking, or just cruising from place to place, exploring Vail on two wheels is also a breeze. The town has more than 15 miles of paved, multi-use recreation paths with bike racks conveniently located all over town, and mountain biking enthusiasts can explore 343 miles of trails around the mountains near Vail.

Vail’s free bus system is another convenient way to get around while you’re vacationing in the mountains. The service is free all year long and there are routes and stops all over town, making it quick and easy to get just about everywhere. Buses that serve outlying routes are equipped with bike racks which is handy if you’re planning to hit some mountain bike trails or do some road cycling. Passengers can also bring skis and snowboards on board. Riding the bus removes the hassle of trying to find parking, and the town encourages visitors to take the bus rather than driving as part of the Bus It to Hike It Initiative.

Planning your next vacation? Whether you’re looking for a summer or winter getaway, we offer the best luxury vacation rentals in Vail, Colorado. Call us at 888.598.6353 or email for help planning your next trip.