Nate Kohut snowmobiling through deep powder, photo courtesy Don Dressler

This area covers 55,000 acres and offers 119 miles of motorized and non-motorized trails. This winter recreation area is managed by the USDA Forest Service as part of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act (FLREA) of 2004. The purpose of this program is to collect fees that help maintain and manage recreational areas and enhance visitor services and experiences on some public lands that receive high visitor numbers and use. Ninety-five percent of the fees collected remain at the site for these purposes instead of returning to the Federal Treasury.

* For the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area map and more information about the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area, click here.

* For current groomed trail conditions at Vail Pass, check out the website (and click on the snowflake at Vail Pass).

VPWRA Fee Proposal Summary

VPWRA Current Operations

VPWRA Talking Points

At a Glance

Fees $6.00 per person for day or $40.00 per person for season pass.
Permit Info: see Fee Description
Open Season: Usually open late November (depending on conditions)
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Restrictions: Designated motorized and non-motorized areas: See map
Closest Towns: Vail, Red Cliff

General Information


The are parking areas with fee stations at Vail Pass, CO; Red Cliff, CO and at three different locations off Highway 24 at Camp Hale. View map. (PDF)

General Notes:

Winter Safety

Safety Cross SymbolThe leading cause of death during winter storms is transportation accidents. Preparing your vehicle for the winter season and knowing how to react if stranded or lost on the road are the keys to surviving an accident. Experts agree that preparedness is vital to making it through a winter emergency... " -FEMA

Backcountry Winter Safety Tips:

Here are some basic backcountry tips that could help prevent an accident, or increase the chance of a live rescue should an avalanche occur:

  • Call your local avalanche hotline.
  • Travel with experienced partners.
  • Carry and know how to use avalanche rescue gear.
  • Expose only one person at a time to potential avalanche danger.
  • Plan an escape route.
  • Never cut above anyone below you when crossing steep terrain.
  • Be aware that avalanches can be triggered from the bottom of a slope.
  • Look for recent avalanche activity and cracking and collapsing snow that signal an unstable snowpack.
  • Take an avalanche course from a qualified instructor.

Colorado Avalanche Information Center


Winter Sports

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XC Skiing/Snowshoeing

See Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area map for more detailed route information


See Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area map for more detailed route information
Areas & Activities
picture of different recreation quicksheets

Recreation Quicksheets

Hiker on some rocks.

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