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Vail Nature Center


2017 Summer Operating Hours (June 10–September 4)
Mon–Sat: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. | Sun: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

View all Nature Center Programs

The Vail Nature Center is operated by the Walking Mountains Science Center.

A farmhouse perched between a montane meadow and the forested bank of Gore Creek houses the Vail Nature Center. This seven-acre facility in the heart of Vail is a tranquil gem whose knowledgeable staff hosts informative bird, wildflower and beaver pond tours and backcountry hikes. Classes covering special topics such as nature, art, stargazing and fly fishing are available. The Nature Center is open seven days per week from Memorial Day weekend through September. Groups and special events may arrange for tours by calling 970-479-2291.

Backcountry Hikes

Join Certified Interpretive Guides on treks to some of the most beautiful destinations in the Vail area! Our expertise and local knowledge enable us to provide learning experiences on public lands like no other guide service can offer! Trail descriptions, pictures, and a full schedule of destinations are available here.

Full-Day Backcountry Hikes

Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Fridays (June 6-Aug. 31) | Tuesdays & Fridays (Sept. 2-Oct. 28)
Ages 16+, $80 or $75 for VRD taxpayers.

Family Hikes (June 8-Aug. 31)

Thursdays | 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Family hikes are at a more casual pace and are fun for the whole family!
Ages 8+, $30 or $25 for VRD taxpayers.

Fall Color Family Hikes (Sept. 6-Oct. 5)

Wednesdays & Thursdays | 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Observe the rainbow of changing trees throughout the fall season.
Ages 8+, $30 or $25 for VRD taxpayers.


Hiking Video from Walking Mountains Science Center on Vimeo.

Wildflower Walk
Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays (June 12-Aug. 11) | 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Join Vail Nature Center staff on a leisurely one-hour walk through the woods and meadows to
learn about the flora that carpet the mountains. All ages, $5 or $3 for VRD taxpayers.

Morning Bird Walk
Tuesdays & Thursdays (June 13-Aug. 10) | 9-10 a.m.

Discover and learn about a breathtaking variety of local birds on a morning walk through the meadows and woods along Gore Creek. All ages, $5 or $3 for VRD taxpayers.

Evening Beaver Pond Tour
Mondays & Wednesdays (June 14-Sept. 4) | 7-8:45 p.m.

Beavers are one of nature’s most industrious creatures. Join us for educational activities followed by a drive to a beaver pond to observe an active lodge. All ages, $10 per person.

Discovery at Dusk
Thursdays & Saturdays (June 15-Sept. 2) | 7-8:30 p.m.

Gather around an evening campfire as you and your family learn about the Rocky Mountains from a Walking Mountains naturalist. Specific topics change weekly. All ages, $10 per person.

Stories in the Sky: Stargazing
Fridays (June 16-Sept. 1) | 8:45-10 p.m.

From endless constellations, cascading shooting stars, and full moons almost as bright as the sun, these are the night features in the mountains of Vail that should be experienced by all. All ages, $10 per person.

Think Like a Trout: Fly Fishing for Kids
Mondays (June 19-Aug. 28) | 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

This unique fly-fishing program teaches young anglers about stream ecology and aquatic insects along with the basic skills of fly-fishing. Most importantly, we will have fun near the water! Ages 8-13, $45/child.

Art in Nature for Kids
Fridays (June 23-Aug. 18) | 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 

Art is all around us! These classes will engage young artists of all skill levels with the natural world while helping them appreciate art and nature in a whole new way. Activities change every week. See website for weekly details. Ages 6-13, $45/child.

Pulling Together - Volunteer Days
Saturdays (June 17-Aug. 26) | 10 a.m. to noon

Get your hands dirty and volunteer! See up-close why removing invasive species, planting native vegetation and maintaining trails is important to our ecological community. Light refreshments will be provided. Wear clothes to get dirty in and sturdy closed-toed shoes. Ages 12+, FREE.

Creekside Nature Tour
Sundays (June 18-Oct. 1) | 11 a.m. to noon & 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Join us for a casual stroll along Vail's streamside paths to the Vail Nature Center. Tours depart from the Walking Mountains Science Center booth at the Vail Farmers’ Market. All ages, free.