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Vail Pass winter rec fees start Nov. 26

Day use fees at Vail Pass are $6 per person.

Courtesy and consideration needed in the high-use area

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — If you’re headed to Vail Pass to play in the snow this weekend, be aware that the annual seasonal fee program takes effect beginning Nov. 26, with day-use passes selling for $6 per person, while season passes are available for $40. Children 15 and under are free.

Season passes can be purchased at the Vail Pass trailhead on Saturdays and Sundays, at the Dillon Ranger District office in Silverthorne and at the Holy Cross Ranger District office in Minturn. Fee stations with self pay envelops are located at all VPWRA trailheads.

The Vail Pass Winter Recreation Fee Area encompasses over 50,000 acres and extends from Copper Mountain on the east, Vail Mountain on the west, Camp Hale on the south, and the I-70 corridor on the north.  The program is the result of many years of collaborative efforts between the Vail Pass Task Force, a citizen’s advisory group, and the Forest Service to provide effective management of the area.

The fees collected at this area go towards free visitor maps, signage of motorized and non-motorized trails, trail grooming, parking lot management and snow removal, visitor information services, and back-country monitoring and enforcement by uniformed Forest Service rangers. Trail grooming operations will occur six nights a week on a rotating cycle of trails.

Vehicle parking can be at a premium at the more popular trailheads serving the Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area. The Forest Service reminds the public that vehicles with trailers are to park on the Black Lakes Road, and that skiers and snowshoers are to use the day use lot.  To allow for snow removal, camping on the Black Lakes Road and in the day lot is prohibited.

Hut users please park at the top of the Black Lakes Road starting below the Forest Service Fee Station.  Remove all valuables from your vehicle when you leave vehicles unattended at the Vail Pass. Please conserve space when parking at the Vail Pass trailhead. Parking is available on a first come first serve basis; those arriving after the parking lot is full must wait for the first available parking space or try another trailhead. Parking on the east side of Interstate 70 at Exit 190 and at the CDOT sand shed is prohibited.

The Forest Service would like to encourage all users to practice safe trail etiquette. Please have avalanche gear and know how to use it, carry a map and know where you are at all times, respect trail signage and non-motorized areas, and practice conservation of terrain when skiing and riding in the back-country.  Rubber tired or wheeled vehicles are prohibited from Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area trails from November 15 to April 15.  The Forest Service appreciates your cooperation to keep Vail Pass an enjoyable experience for all user groups.

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