Welcome to ThinkVail – we hope you find this article about airports near Vail, Colorado helpful.
There are many airports in the area that are dedicated to getting visitors to the mountains quickly and safely, but flying into Vail, Colorado is not always an easy feat.
Deep snow, ice, high elevation, mountainous terrain, regular air turbulence, decreased engine performance and complex high altitude flying conditions all lend themselves to making flying into western Colorado challenging. But with certified pilots and state-of-the-art facilities, these regional airports make sure you get here safely. So whether you are coming for skiing, rafting, hiking or golfing pack your bags and get ready to embark on an unforgettable Colorado adventure.
The Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE) is a small airport that hosts American Airlines, Delta and United Airlines.
This newly renovated airport is located in Gypsum, Colorado, approximately 4 miles from Eagle, CO and 37 miles from Vail, CO (approx. 45 minutes drive time). It serves Eagle County and is a great alternative to flying into Denver, Aspen or Grand Junction airports. It is nestled high in the mountains, has one, 9,000 foot runway and the History Channel has rated it #8 on its list of Most Extreme Airports due to the elevation, weather variability, mountainous terrain and challenging departure procedures.
Eagle County Regional Airport is seasonal, operating mostly during the winter and summer months. During the winter ski season, EGE is the second busiest airport in Colorado. Only Denver International Airport is more busy, at this time.
Eagle and Aspen airport are very comparable in size but the Eagle airport has lower minimums, thus allowing for better potential to land in bad weather. But keep in mind, that during snowstorms or bad weather the flight from Denver to Eagle is regularly canceled, so be prepared when traveling to this airport for that eventuality. Many times I have found myself staying the night in Denver or renting a car to get back up to the mountains. But if it’s clear weather, this is an easy flight that saves a lot of time.
This small airport boasts 4 TSA screening lanes, a dedicated de-icing pad for planes, three luggage carousels, and a special ski/snowboard slide to help with seasonal equipment. There is also a restaurant, coffee shop, gift shop, WIFI and bar once you clear the security gate. This airport is easy to navigate, takes very little time to clear security (usually) and is clean, comfortable and inviting. It serves approximately 350,000 passengers every year.
Seasonal direct routes to the following destinations:
Eagle County Regional Airport also boasts an amazing facility for general aviation and private aircraft. The Vail Valley Jet Center is one of the top rated fixed-base operators (FBO) in the country and provides the highest, most efficient level of service possible. It’s been named “The Ritz-Carlton of FBOs” by Aviation and Business Journal. This popular facility is also ranked as a top FBO by Pro Pilot and Aviation International News.
Ground Transportation at Eagle Airport
Parking – Short term and long term paid parking is available.
Rental Cars – There are a variety of rental car counters in the airport which makes renting a car very convenient. Make sure you reserve a 4-wheel drive vehicle especially for winter driving.
Scheduled Shuttle Services – There are also a number of scheduled shuttle services that will pick you and your luggage up at the airport and deliver you to the front door of your hotel, condo, VBRO or AirBnB. They are very easy and are usually the least expensive option for ground transportation.
Bus Service – During the season Eco Transit offers regularly scheduled bus service from the Eagle Airport to Vail with stops to other destinations like Edwards, Beaver Creek and Avon along the way.
Visit the Eagle County Regional website at: www.flyvail.com
The Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE) is also known as Sardy Field and sits at an elevation of 7,820 feet. It was created by Walter Paepcke and John Spachner way back in 1946 and has a long history of delivering passengers to the mountains. Due to the necessary swift descent at high elevation, all pilots flying into and out of Aspen must be certified, and makes this airport another “extreme airport”.
Aspen/Pitkin Co. Airport offers more regular service from major airlines than any other regional ski town airport in the country. During the height of the winter, it boasts more than 170 regular, weekly flights.
There is also a bar and restaurant once you pass through security and a coffee cart in the baggage claim area.
Throughout the terminal you will find areas equipped with standard power outlets, power Mat (wireless power) and USB power ports. Short term and long term paid parking is available.
This airport hosts United, Delta and American Airlines.
The Aspen Airport offers seasonal direct routes to the following destinations:
Ground Transportation at Aspen Airport
Parking – Short and long term on site paid parking is available.
Bus Service – There is Bus service from Aspen to Vail but you need to utilizes both RFTA, BUSTANG and sometimes ECO Transit. The Route starts at the Aspen Airport Business Center (a 3-5 minute walk from the Aspen Airport) and ends at the Vail Transportation Center.
Private Aircraft – The Aspen/Pitkin airport is home to Atlantic Aviation, a fixed-base operator (FBO) that boasts convenience, world-class service and a premium experience for private aircraft and general aviation. They offer an experienced staff, a log-cabin style facility, on-site cafe, concierge services and more.
Visit the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport website at: aspenairport.com
The county-owned Rifle Garfield County Airport (RIL) – is located in Rifle, Colorado, just 27 miles from Glenwood Springs, CO, 46 miles to Eagle, CO, 88 miles to Vail, CO, 61 miles to Aspen, and 65 miles to Grand Junction.
This is a small general aviation airport that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A general aviation airport is geared more towards civil (self-flown) aircraft operation not commercial air operation.
It boasts no noise restrictions.
Due to it’s generally moderate weather conditions it is the preferred alternate for Eagle and Aspen airports that sustain frequent weather delays due to storms and severe conditions. When many other area airports are delayed, Rifle is usually still flying. It is the third busiest general aviation airport in Colorado, after the Eagle County Regional Airport and the Denver International Airport.
Ground Transportation at Rifle Airport
Other Transportation – Chalet On Wheels offers RV rentals with a professional driver for your convenience.
Private Aircraft Only
This airport works with fixed-base operator (FBO), Atlantic Aviation to take care of private aircraft arriving or departing from it.
Visit the Rifle/Garfield Airport website at: rifleairport.com
Glenwood Springs Airport
Another popular, general aviation (non-commercial) airport in the area is the Glenwood Springs Airport, read more about their services on their website: glenwoodspringsairport.com
Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT) is a public airport located 3 miles northeast of Grand Junction, Colorado. It is the largest airport in western Colorado and third largest in the state, with only Denver International Airport and Colorado Springs Airport being larger.
This airport has been in operation since 1930 and has been a hub for delivering western Colorado visitors ever since.
The terminal boasts a gift shop, restaurant, bar, coffee shop, grab-and-go items, three gates with jet bridges for regional jets; an outdoor gate with air stairs.
The airport hosts Allegiant, American Eagle, Delta and United.
Serves 452,000 passengers annually
The airport hosts American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Allegiant and DenverAir
The Grand Junction Airport offers direct routes to the following destinations:
Ground Transportation at Grand Junction Airport
Parking – Paid long term and short term parking available.
Rental Cars – Rental cars are available at Grand Junction
Bus Service – Greyhound offers very affordable transportation from its station at Grand Junction to Vail, CO.
West Star Aviation is the fixed-base operator (FBO) for Grand Junction and offers complete, world-class fueling support services, aircraft maintenance, modifications, and refurbishment for private aircraft.
Visit Grand Juction Airport website at: www.gjairport.com
The Yampa Valley Regional Airport (HDN) services Steamboat Springs a world class ski area that is located 93 miles from Vail, CO. It is located in Hayden, CO about a 30 minute drive from Steamboat. Since 1966, it has been offering flights into Colorado’s northern Rockies and has continuously grown with the times.
It has a 10,000 foot long runway, full service restaurant, bar, coffee shop, souvenir store, ATMs, charging stations and WIFI.
This Airport boasts year round flights by United and seasonal flights by American Airlines, Delta, Alaska Air and Jet Blue.
Seasonally, direct flights are offered to
Ground Transportation at Yampa Airport
Parking – Free, short-term, on-site parking and paid, long-term on-site parking is available.
Rental Cars – If you’re trying to get to Vail, renting a car and driving is probably the easiest way to go.
Shuttle Service – These two shuttle service providers are both located onsite at the airport, making it very convenient to grab a shuttle to get to Steamboat Springs. They do scheduled share shuttles to the Eagle County Airport or you could hire them as a private charter to take you to Vail.
Bus Service – You can take a bus from the Steamboat Greyhound bus station to Vail, Colorado.
Denver International Airport (DEN), locally known as DIA, is located 25 miles (40 km) from downtown Denver and is accessed directly from Peña Boulevard. It is the largest airport in North America and the second largest in the world, and boasts the longest public-use runway in North America.
The airport has two covered and uncovered parking areas attached to the terminal on the east side and the west side. The main terminal is large with six floors, connected by elevators and escalators. There are three concourses, airline ticket counters and kiosks, an underground train system, baggage carousels, security checkpoints and tons of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shops and services throughout the airport.
DIA enjoys a unique, internationally recognized peaked roof design, which resembles snow-capped mountains and the early Native American tepees that use to be scattered across the Great Plains. It is memorable, to say the least.
Opened in 1995, this airport currently has non-stop service to 215 destinations by 23 different airlines throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. It boasts 189 U.S. destinations.
Denver International Airport is the 5th busiest in the U.S., serving more than 69,015,703 passengers in 2019 alone.
The airport hosts a variety of airlines but United Airlines, Frontier and Southwest make up the majority of flights in and out of Denver.
Ground Transportation at Denver Airport
Parking – Short term and long term paid parking is available in a variety of underground parking and large off site parking areas with free shuttle service to the airport
Rental Cars- Most major rental companies have cars available at Denver Airport.
Taxis to Vail – Taxis are available from DIA to Vail but they are very expensive and can be cost prohibitive.
Scheduled Shuttles to Vail – There are scheduled shuttle services that will pick you and your luggage up at DIA and deliver you to the front door of your hotel, condo, VBRO or AirBnB. They are very easy to book and are usually the least expensive option for ground transportation.
Bus service to Vail – Greyhound offers very affordable transportation from it’s station in Denver to Vail, CO. Grand Valley Transit – Bus Service offers transportation from the Airport into Grand Junction
Rail Lines –There is no light rail service to Vail, CO but the electric commuter rail line connects passengers between downtown Denver and Denver International Airport in about 37 minutes.
Visit the Denver International Airport at flydenver.com
We hope you found this article about airports near Vail, Colorado helpful. What is your favorite airport to fly into when visiting Colorado? Do you normally fly commercial or on your own private plane? Have you ever experienced a white-knuckle flight from one of these airports? We would love to hear your thoughts, comments and stories about your experiences with these airports or any airport, really. Share what you love… and hate about airports and airline travel in general. Thanks for reading