Welcome to ThinkVail – we hope you find this article about snowmobile rentals in Vail, CO helpful.
After a few days of skiing and snowboarding Vail and Beaver Creek ski resorts, you may want to take a day off from the slopes, but what should you do? Snowmobiling is a great alternative to the busy slopes and an opportunity to do something different with your family.
Snowmobiling is a fast-growing sport and it’s easy to see why, you can cover miles and miles of breathtaking terrain and elevation without breaking a sweat, enjoy incredible scenery, and all while having the time of your life! Whether you’re a never-ever or a snowmobiling pro, the Vail area has tons of options for a good time.
Here is information about local guided snowmobile tours, self-guided snowmobile rentals, and local snowmobiling trails to explore. There are also links to local snowmobile outfitters’ websites and videos of where they snowmobile and what to expect.
See Also: Best Gifts for Snowmobilers
Types of Rentals
When it comes to snowmobiling you have three options; book a guided tour, rent a snowmobile and explore trails on your own, use your own snowmobile and trailer to any area where snowmobiling is allowed. In addition, guided tours are either 2-hour tours, a half-day tour or a full day tour. You can rent a snowmobile from 1-8 hours or for multiple days.
Guided Snowmobile Tours
If you are new to snowmobiling, have younger children in your group or are unfamiliar with the trails around Vail, then a guided tour is probably for you. Guided Tours are usually 2-Hours, Half Day (approx. 3 hours of riding) or Full-Day (approx 6-8 hours of riding) and can be either single or double riders. These tours are all led by a knowledgeable guide that is familiar with the trails, machines and weather that you will be riding in. This is the best choice for a fun, carefree day of snowmobiling. You can also up your game with a Performance Tour which is a tour on a faster, high performance machine that is more demanding and exciting. Lastly, you can make any of these types of guided tours a Private Tour.
Self-Guided Snowmobile Rentals
If you are experienced snowmobiling, you may want to head out on your own by renting a machine for the day. Plan on at least a 2-hour rental as you are usually just getting the hang of everything after the first hour. You can rent machines anywhere from one to eight hours, and both single and double rider rentals are usually available. Sometimes you can rent a trailer from these outfitters if you are looking to ride in another location. Self guided rentals usually include helmets, a tank of gas and trail maps.
If you’re unsure about whether to book a guided tour or a self-guided rental you can always opt to ride with a guide one day and book a self-guided rental on another day after you have some experience and know the lay of the land.
Length of Season
The snowmobiling season in Colorado is very weather-dependent but a good rule of thumb is December – April.
What To Wear
Some outfitters offer complimentary snowsuits, helmets, goggles and boots, other outfitters have these items available for rent, or available to buy, and some don’t offer anything other than a helmet. Find out what the outfitter offers before booking. Regardless, when snowmobiling, you should always dress like you are getting ready for a day of skiing, so wear your ski jacket, snow pants, gloves, a warm hat, fleece, neck gaiter, goggles or sunglasses and anything else that keeps you warm. Also don’t forget the sunscreen!
More to Know
- Reservations are required
- All participants whether tour or self guided rental must sign a waiver
- A credit card is required to reserve.
- There is always a cancellation policy, and they vary, make sure you understand it before you book.
- Some recreation areas require a fee of $6 (cash only)
- Keep in mind that most tours need a minimum number of participants so you will most likely, be riding with other people not of your group unless you book a private tour.
- If the minimum is not met, your tour may be canceled (for a refund) or rescheduled. Again check with the outfitter to get these details before you book.
- Whether on a tour or renting your own machines, you can expect top of the line, new machines that are perfect for Colorado snow and trail conditions.
- Many offer transportation from your hotel in Beaver Creek, Vail, or Avon, sometimes it is included in the price and sometimes it is an additional charge, check before booking.
- Minimum age to drive snowmobiles varies by outfitter’s policy but many allow kids as young as 14 to drive a trail snowmobile but they must be at least 16 years of age to drive a performance machine.
Snowmobiling is not cheap, however, for many, this is a bucket-list opportunity that they will never forget and Colorado is epic for snowmobiling. Here is a general guideline to costs, so you can know roughly, what to expect, but, keep in mind, each outfitter varies in price and the amenities that are included in the price.
- 2-Hour Tour – Averages around $175 per driver and an additional $65 for a passenger
- Half Day Tour – Averages $300 per driver and an additional $65 for a passenger
- Full Day Tour -Averages $380 for single and $65 for a passenger
- Performance Tours – Averages $200 for 2-Hour Tour/ $350 Half-Day Tour/ $475 Full-Day Tour
- Private Tours are an additional fee but plan on around an additional $150 per snowmobile.
- Self Guided Rentals – 1-8 hours – Starts around $110 for 1 hour up to approx. 375 for 8 hours
Snowmobile Tours & Rental Outfitters
Colorado Outdoor Fun
Colorado Outdoor Fun offers both guided tours and unguided snowmobile rentals to choose from. They operate in both Vail and Summit county.
2-Hour Guided Tour Enjoy nicely groomed trail riding, some powder riding, large open meadows and beautiful views! bring the camera, you will want plenty of pictures! You can ride single or double on this tour. Daily morning and afternoon departures are available.
High-Performance Tour A faster paced and more aggressive riding, this is the tour for you. This is an action-packed tour promises excitement! Previous experience is not required. Enjoy a combination of trail riding, off-trail riding, powder riding & play time. Single riders only these high performance machines. This tour offers a morning and afternoon departures or full day tours. Riding time is 3 to 3.5 hours for the ½ day and 6-hours for the full day.
Adventure Tour A great way to see all the breathtaking scenery of Colorado. Enjoy groomed trail riding, high alpine meadows, and scenic views of Colorado’s famous Rocky Mountain ranges and the continental divide! Full day tour is approximately 6 hours of riding time, and does include a hot lunch with many menu options. Half day Adventure Tour is also available
Private Guided Snowmobile Tours If you want to not ride with strangers and only ride with your group, then a privately guided snowmobile tours might be the ideal option. Private tours allow you to ride at your own pace, ans allows you to customize your tour to the type of adventure that suits you best! Advanced reservations are required and additional charges apply.
Unguided Snowmobile Rentals When you want to hit the backcountry all on your own, then rent a snowmobile and go off on your own excursion. Enjoy going at your own pace, which might be slower or a bit faster! Ride groomed trails for you to enjoy or explore the deep Colorado pow-pow. You are provided with trail maps and instructions.
visit their website at coloradosnowmobile.com
Nova Guides offers full day and half day trail and high performance adventures from Camp Hale and a 2-hour tour from their Tigawn location just outside Vail, Colorado. All guided snowmobiling tours include door-to-door transportation, a professional guide, new model snowmobiles, snowsuit, boots and helmet. The morning half-day tour and full-day snowmobile tours include lunch.
Half & Full Day Top of the Rockies Snowmobile Tour at Camp Hale These unforgettable tours originate from Camp Hale in Leadville, within the White River National Forest and is home to the largest commercial snowmobile trail system in the Vail and Beaver Creek area as well as a beautiful lodge that is perfect for warming up after your ride. Enjoy endless miles of open meadows and spectacular 360-degree panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains and the Continental Divide.
High Performance Snowmobile Tours at Camp Hale For experienced riders seeking more adventure. This full-day or half-day snowmobile tour at historic Camp Hale offers Ski Doo 600 cc high performance (HP) powder sleds. You will experience miles of terrain, powder fields and beautiful scenery at 12,500 feet. If you are looking for the ultimate ride, this is the one! Half Day with Lunch, Full day with Lunch.
Self Guided Snowmobile Rentals at Camp Hale Rent your own trail or high performance snowmobile and enjoy the freedom of the Colorado backcountry on your own. Our four-stroke trail sleds are suitable for up to two people and you can explore endless miles of pristine trails. The groomed trails are very straight-forward, fun and beautiful. Choose your own time frame as well as time of day to start and finish. Come for as little as one hour or up to eight-hours and enjoy over a 100 miles of trails to choose from! Groomed and maintained trails, open powder fields and pristine views make this area, a snowmobiler’s dream come true! Includes safety and operating instructions and trail maps.
2-Hour Tigawon Snowmobile Tours Located just minutes from Vail and boasting more than 50 miles of groomed trails in the White River National Forest, these daily tour starts at 8,000 feet and wind up to 10,500 feet in elevation. Enjoy a hot beverage along the way at their warming hut. Enjoy spectacular views of Vail’s Back Bowls, and majestic Notch Mountain. Machines are fully automatic and easy to operate. This tour is perfect for families as kids as young as two years old can ride as a passenger.
Sage Outdoor Adventures
Operating from a magnificent 5,000 acre private ranch that is only 30 minutes from Vail, Sage Outfitters Snowmobile tours boasts deep powder, magnificent views of the Rocky Mountains, and miles and miles of snowmobile trails combined with a knowledgeable snowmobile guide.
2-Hour Adventure Tours Explore by snowmobile for 2 hours on any section of their private mountain that is larger than Vail Ski Mountain. This is the ideal trip for families and anyone that wants to have a passenger on the snowmobile with them. Climb 2400 vertical feet to high alpine ridges with views of nearby 5 ski areas, 7 mountains ranges and towering 14,000 foot mountains, and of course, the continental divide.
2-Hour Performance Tours An exciting tour that covers more terrain and quickly climbs 2400 vertical feet to high alpine ridges with staggering views, where a whole mecca of trails and play areas are available to shred. Single riders only, on these high performance sleds, no passengers! Perfect for more experienced riders.
2-Hour Powder Tours Get ready to float in the deep, soft, powder snow of Colorado on a snowmobile specifically designed for the backcountry. Perfect for those wishing to enhance their deep snow riding skills. Riding a snowmobile off-piste is similar to skiing in powder…it’s a whole different feeling. Get ready for some fun!
2-Hour Private Tours When you prefer to not be a group setting with strangers, you can reserve a private tour, where it will be only your group out on snow with your guide!
Vail Backcountry Tours
Located just 5 minutes from the heart of Vail Village. You won’t waste any time getting to their front door. Their playground is Piney Lake and Red & White Mountain with views of Vail Ski Mountain. Their expansive terrain boasts open meadows, daily groomed trails, winding single track and stunning views.
2-Hour Tours Allows ample time to see our breathtaking terrain and stop at our private Yurt for a hot beverage and snack! Can ride single or double. Departure times are 9:30am 12pm 3:30pm
Private Tours All tours can made as a private tour with an additional fee.
Half Day Tour Offers 3- hours of riding for a more expansive tour of our terrain. Lunch at a private yurt in the White River National Forest is included in all Half-Day tours. Departure times noon and 3:30
Unguided Snowmobile Rentals
Rocky Mountain Adventure Rentals
Experienced snowmobilers can rent a snowmobile from RMAR’s Eagle-Vail location and access multiple snowmobile riding locations including the popular Vail Pass Recreation Area. You are provided with a trailer (and a truck if needed) and snowmobile along with safety instructions and directions. All snowmobile rentals are full-day and unguided. You can take the machines anywhere snowmobiles are permitted.
Buzz’s Backcountry Adventures
Buzz’s Backcountry Adventures offers unguided trail and performance snowmobile rentals. Their knowledgeable staff will instruct you where to go and how to have the best time while snowmobiling in the Vail area! They are based in west Vail and incredible riding is just a 10-minute drive away from their back door.
You will need a vehicle that can tow a trailer (max weight 4,000 lbs.) in order to rent snowmobiles. The snowmobile trailer is included in the cost of the snowmobile rental. Multiple day rentals are available.
Colorado Backcountry Rentals
Colorado Backcountry Rentals is another outfitter who only offers unguided snowmobile rentals, no tours. They have the perfect rental snow machines for you and your group’s riding abilities. Choose trail machines if you are looking to ride doubles or high performance machines if you prefer to go by yourself.
Their rental office is located conveniently at the trailhead, so once you get geared up you are just minutes from the Colorado backcountry in Red Cliff.
Snowmobile Trails Near Vail, Colorado
Visit the Colorado Snowmobile Association website for maps, complete details and directions regarding each of these snowmobile trails and find out if they are right for your type of riding.
The Vail valley boasts amazing snowmobile trail systems in the White River National Forest, the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area, Camp Hale, as well as areas in nearby Glenwood Springs, and Leadville. Whatever your skill level, you will find a variety of trails from scenic and groomed, to rugged, powder-clogged snow fields. If you are interested in renting a snowmobile and driving off on an unguided adventure, the following trails are the perfect place to start.
Red Cliff Trailhead/Parking Area – Trails accessed from this trailhead include Wearyman Creek Road, Turkey Creek Road, and Lime Creek Road. The trailhead is located just south of Red Cliff along Highway 24, parking will be on the east side and trails run through Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area and eventually connect to the Vail Pass Trailhead.
Vail Pass Trailhead – Beginner riders will love this area. Shrine Pass Road, Shrine Pass Bowl, and Wilder Gulch Trail are ideal for newbies. Access to the trail head is along I-70, take exit 190 and follow signs to the rest area. Check in at the visitors’ booth in the parking area, and expect a daily fee for trail use. Other Vail Pass snowmobile trails include Lime Creek Road and Resolution Creek Road
Pando Trailhead & Camp Hale Trailhead – Both of trail heads serve the Resolution Creek Road/4-Mile Road trail. This trail ranges in difficulty from beginner to moderate. The trail heads will be found along Highway 24 south of Red Cliff.
Red Sandstone Road Trailhead & Muddy Creek Road Trailhead – Both trail heads connect to the same main trail, 701. There are a few trails that spur off of this main one but nothing that loops back around or connects to anything else. The Red Sandstone Road Trailhead is located along I-70 just outside of Vail.
Muddy Creek Road Trailhead is north of Wolcott on Highway 131, turn east onto a dirt road, which will then turn into snowmobiling trails.
Turquoise Lake Road – A 14 -mile loop around scenic Turquoise Lake in Leadville. Beginner friendly. Parking lot at CR99 and 9 – plenty of room for trailers.
Mining District – Enjoy several connecting roads that are groomed in winter for easy access. Grooming starts where the county stops snowplowing on CR 1 (5th St) and CR 3 (7th St). CR 6A in Iowa Gulch is also groomed, depending upon user demand and snow conditions
Transfer Trail is located off Forest Service road 602, approximately 2.5 miles north of Glenwood Springs. For experienced riders only.
Coffee Pot Road in Dotsero, is about 17 miles east of Glenwood Springs on I-70. From the interstate, get on north County Road 301 for a mile and turn left at County Road 140. Two miles up the road, you’ll find the parking area for the trail. For experienced riders only
Sunlight to Powderhorn – Enjoy 120 miles of snowmobiling trails from Sunlight Ski Area to Powderhorn Ski Area with multiple access points.
Learn more about snowmobiling in Colorado at the Colorado Parks & Wildlife website
We hope you found this article about snowmobile rentals in Vail, CO helpful. Do you prefer to snowmobile with a guide or go off on a snowmobile adventure on your own? Have you gone snowmobiling with your family was it a once in a lifetime event or something you try to do every year. What are your favorite Colorado snowmobile trails and why? We would love to hear your thoughts, comments and snowmobiling stories, please share your experiences. Thanks for reading