Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area’s snowy season begins Tuesday, Nov. 15 |

Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area’s snowy season begins Tuesday, Nov. 15

Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area, pictured here, will open to the public on Tuesday Nov. 15.
U.S. National Forest Service/Courtesy photo

With the transition from summer to winter recreation management at Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area occurring on Tuesday, Nov. 15, U.S. Forest Service officials are warning the public that parking will be extremely limited this year because of the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Vail Pass Rest Area reconstruction.

“Limited parking is available at both Vail Pass and Camp Hale to access the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area this year,” said Dillon District Ranger Adam Bianchi. “Please carpool and have a Plan B in place as lots will fill quickly, especially on weekends.”

Beginning Tuesday, the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area opens to over-the-snow-vehicle travel in motorized travel zones. The Shrine Pass Road (FSR #709) will be closed to wheeled vehicles at Vail Pass and Red Cliff, and the Resolution Road (FSR #702) and McAllister Road (FSR #708) will be closed to wheeled vehicles at Camp Hale.

“We typically make this transition in mid-November so we can prepare the area for regular winter grooming,” Bianchi said.

Vail Pass is an extremely popular winter recreation area for backcountry skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling. Fee collections will begin on Nov. 27. Day passes are $10 and season passes are $65.

“These user fees fund trail grooming, plowing, ranger patrols and visitor information services, which we provide in partnership with the Vail Pass Task Force,” Bianchi said. “Forest Service rangers will be staffing the entrances at Vail Pass and at Camp Hale seven days a week this season.”

Day passes can be purchased with cash or credit cards at Vail Pass and the main Camp Hale entrance. Season passes will also be available beginning Tuesday, Nov. 22, at the Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District in Minturn, 970-827-5715, and the Dillon Ranger District in Silverthorne, 970-468-5400.  

Additional information on the winter recreation area, including georeferenced Avenza trail maps for mobile devices, is available at

Recreate responsibly, be respectful of other users and get the avalanche forecast: Avalanche.State.CO.US/education

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