What makes Vail, Colorado a community — and not just a resort town? It could be the access to the arts or the strong school systems. Maybe it’s the number of year-round residents (like us) who work and play together.
Or maybe it’s the number of public parks and open spaces that rounds out the small-town community feel.
The town of Vail has many well-maintained parks, gardens and open spaces. These public areas are perfect for everything from playground days to picnics. We built a map and wrote about some of our favorite local parks to help you plan the perfect Vail day — and really feel part of our community.
Read about Vail’s parks, in order from west to east, as they appear on the above map:
Stephens Park - 2470 S Frontage Road, Vail CO
Your dogs are well accommodated here in Vail! Stephens Park, in West Vail, is a public area where dogs are free to go off leash. There are great amenities for people, too, including a pavilion, grill area, playground, restrooms, and more.
Ellefson Park - 2485 Garmisch Drive, Vail CO
Located in West Vail, Ellefson Park is a year-round local favorite. In summer, Ellefson is a great picnic area. In winter, the park’s hill is perfect for sledding! Ellefson Park has a playground, pavilion, grilling area, and more.
Buffehr Creek Park - 1953 N Frontage Road, Vail CO
You might be familiar with the Buffehr Creek area in West Vail for its great hiking and mountain biking access. There’s also a public park located right where the I-70 Frontage Road crosses Buffehr Creek. The grassy park features a playground, grilling/picnic area, and restrooms.
Donovan Park and Pavilion - 1600 S Frontage Road W, Vail CO
Located in West Vail, Donovan Park is over 50 acres and offers spots to both play and relax. You’ll find a playground, athletic fields, basketball courts, picnic tables, grill area and more. The Donovan Pavilion, a stunning indoor facility, is a popular place for weddings and other events.
Red Sandstone Park - 725 N Frontage Road W, Vail CO
While Red Sandstone Park is small, it is fun! It features a redesigned playground and grassy, shaded areas, in addition to restrooms.
Roger Staub Park - 371 Gore Creek Drive, Vail CO
Sitting along the Gore Creek, Roger Staub Park might be one of the most peaceful places to relax in Vail. This shady spot is perfect for reading a book or having a picnic. Roger Staub Park is currently being renovated with improved landscaping and steps.
Betty Ford Alpine Garden - 522 S Frontage Road E, Vail CO
The Betty Ford Alpine Garden is a botanical garden located within walking distance of Vail Village. It’s free to enter and is open from sunup to sundown all year round. Walk around the nature trails, meditate in the gardens, or take a tour to learn about the wildflowers and other plants. Local schools groups frequent the alpine gardens for educational field trips.
Ford Park - 522 S Frontage Road E, Vail CO
Ford Park is one of the biggest public parks in Vail and is home to the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. Many tournaments take place at Ford Park because of its expansive athletic fields. In addition, there are three custom-designed playgrounds that kids, grandkids and the young at heart are sure to love.
Bighorn Park - 4825 Juniper Lane, Vail CO
Bring a picnic and your furry friends to Bighorn Park, just a few miles east of Vail. The park has a small lake, in which dogs are allowed to play, as well as a playground, pavilion, grill area, picnic area, and restrooms. Bighorn Park might be the most beautiful dog-friendly park you’ve ever visited!