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Best Things To Do In Minturn Colorado

Minturn Colorado

Minturn Colorado is a small town in the rocky mountains that beautifully captures the spirit of a mountain town.  It’s a laid-back town with great restaurants and impressive mountain views. Sandwiched between two upscale ski resort towns, Vail and Beaver Creek, Minturn offers a nice change of pace.  The Eagle River passes right through town, and it’s constant babbling sets the scene for some great adventures in the mountains.

Restaurants In Minturn

Three tacos from Rocky Mountain Taco.
Three tacos from Rocky Mountain Taco.

For such a small town, Minturn is blessed with so many great restaurants.  Stopping by one of our favorites is a must before or after some fun in the Rockies.

Rocky Mountain Taco – Super tasty and affordable Mexican food.  What began as a humble food truck, has blossomed into a Vail Valley institution, with multiple mobile food trucks and their first brick & mortar restaurant in Minturn.

Thai Kitchen – An awesomely authentic Thai restaurant, with fresh and flavorful Thai classics.

The Mexican Bar & Grill – A truly authentic Mexican restaurant with a big menu.  They serve all the classics, like tacos, burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, etc.  But also can really expand your Mexican cuisine horizons with ceviche, oysters, chili rellenos, fried ice cream, and more.

Sunrise Minturn – Our favorite brunch spot in Minturn.  From healthy bites, to hearty breakfast classics, Minturn Sunrise has something to please everyone.  And their cocktails are delicious (our fave is the fresh-squeezed OJ Mimosas).

The Agora – Not like any “restaurant” you’ve ever been to before.  A unique community gathering place for eating, drinking, socializing, and even free concerts.  This outdoor courtyard is open during summers, serving brick oven pizza and ice cream.  But visitors are also welcome to bring to-go food and drinks from any of Minturn’s restaurants.  (There is no open container law in Minturn).

The Minturn Market

Emily getting some fresh produce at the Minturn Market.
Emily getting some fresh produce at the Minturn Market.

The Minturn Market is a farmer’s market held every Saturday between July and early September.  This market features a variety of vendors each week including food trucks, fresh produce, baked goods, local art, clothing, jewelry, pottery, home decor, pet products, and more.

Summer Concert Series

Minturn Summer Concert Series
Minturn Summer Concert Series

Minturn has its very own free concert series in the summer, hosted by the Minturn Community Fund.  Every Thursday in July and August, head down to the Little Beach Park Amphitheater for a free show by the river.  Guests can bring their own food and drinks, but please no glass.  Low chairs and picnic blankets are also a nice addition. This family-friendly event is a great way to spend a summer evening. Dogs are allowed on leash.

Fly Fishing Trips With Minturn Anglers

Minturn Anglers in Minturn Colorado.
Minturn Anglers in Minturn Colorado.

Minturn is home to one of the best Fly Fishing Outfitters/Guides in all of Colorado.  Minturn Anglers occupies probably the most iconic building in town.  Their cute wooden fly shop stands as the first thing you see when coming into town.  Whether you need to purchase some gear or tackle for your next fishing outing, or have no fishing experience, their guided trips and fly shop have what you need.  Going fishing on the rivers and lakes is one of the best ways to enjoy the mountains of Colorado.

Minturn Bike Park

Minturn Bike Park
Minturn Bike Park – photo:

The Minturn Bike Park is a bikers paradise that’s free and open to the public.  There are jumps, bridges, and other technical features to challenge and expand your skills.  Or if you are more of a trail rider, there are plenty of mountain biking trails near Minturn, Colorado.

Watch A Movie At The Blue Starlite Drive-In

Minturn has it’s own drive-in movie theater during the summer months.  Come enjoy an outdoor movie with a mountain backdrop.  They always play a good mix of new titles and old classics.  For showtimes and schedules, check here.  Concessions are offered. (Seems to be on hold for the 2022 summer)

Two Elk Shooting Range

Two Elk shooting range in Minturn, CO.
Two Elk shooting range in Minturn, CO.

Need to practice your marksmanship? Minturn has one of the most picturesque shooting ranges towards the south end of town.  And despite the somewhat confusing name, NO, you are not shooting Elk.  It’s strictly for target practice.  BYO everything, but no glass, and pack out whatever you bring.  Open from April 15th – November 30th (to accommodate winter elk migrations).  More info can be found from the USFS.

Winter Activites In Minturn

Meadow Mountain is one of the best alpine ski touring spots in Vail Colorado.
Emily ski-touring on Meadow Mountain in Minturn

Winter brings a whole new set of activities to the mountains. Minturn is an awesome homebase for some winter adventures in the mountains. From world-class resort skiing and backcountry skiing, to snowmobiling and snowshoeing.

Minturn is 10 minutes from Vail and 15 minutes from Beaver Creek. You can pay to park near either resort. Or you can take the bus and save some money and parking stress. Or for much more affordable resort skiing near Minturn, check out Ski Cooper.

For even more winter activities in the area, read What To Do In Vail In The Winter Besides Skiing.

Drive The “Top Of The Rockies”, Colorado Scenic Byway

Minturn is the beginning of this beautiful scenic drive. Here are some of the highlights.

Gilman Ghost Town – This ghost town is the site of a former silver and lead mining town that operated for nearly 100 years.  It was closed due to toxic drinking water.  The town is on private property and trespassing is forbidden.  But there are several pullouts along the highway to catch a glimpse of this unique piece of Colorado mining history.

Gilman Colorado, ghost town
Gilman Colorado, ghost town

The Green Bridge (or Red Cliff Bridge) – This impressive steel arch bridge that carries Hwy 24 over the Eagle River and former Union Pacific railroad tracks.  You can’t miss the bridge as you come around the corner.  The highway is notched into the side of the cliff and shoots over the bridge.

The Green Bridge in Red Cliff Colorado.
The Green Bridge in Red Cliff Colorado.

Town Of Red Cliff – If you take the first right after the bridge, you can drive into Red Cliff to explore this sleepy mountain town.  Red Cliff was actually the first town in Eagle County.  It doesn’t have much in the way of amenities or even cell phone service.  There’s one hotel and one restaurant in town, the Green Bridge Inn, and Mango’s Mountain Grill, respectively. Stop by Mango’s for fish tacos, and sit on the roof deck if the weather is nice.

If you want to explore the deep history of this mining boom town, pick up a walking trail map at the Green Bridge Inn.

Camp Hale National Historic Site – While it may not look like much to the casual passerby.  Located at 9,200 feet elevation, Camp Hale is the location where the 10th Mountain Division trained.  This high-alpine military unit was uniquely prepared for action in harsh mountain environments.  They played an important role in mountain engagements during WWII.

Many of the local ski resorts were founded thanks to the knowledge and passion of 10th Mountain veterans.  Pete Seibert, one member enlisted with the 10th Mnt Division, went on to become one of the founders of Vail Ski Resort.

Ski Cooper – At the top of Tennessee Pass lies Ski Cooper, another ski resort that was founded thanks to 10th Mountain Division veterans.  It offers short lift lines and very affordable lift tickets.

Continue On To Leadville and Independence Pass – If you are up for a longer drive, past Ski Cooper lies Leadville, the highest city in North America (45 minutes from Minturn).  And Independence Pass (open summers) is an epic mountain pass that connects the beautiful Twin Lakes to Aspen, CO (2.5 hours from Minturn).

Hiking Trails Near Minturn Colorado

Missouri Lakes Trail
Missouri Lakes Trail

Missouri Lakes (6.3mi, 1545ft) – A personal favorite. This moderate hike brings you up to three gorgeous lakes situated in alpine meadows.  If you are feeling more adventurous, complete the 8.5 mile loop with Fancy Pass and Fancy Lake. Getting to the trailhead requires about a 30-mile drive on dirt roads, and high-clearance is recommended for the last couple miles.

Whitney Lake is one of the best hikes near Minturn Colorado
Whitney Lake is one of the best hikes near Minturn Colorado

Whitney Lake (5.7mi, 1,840ft) – Another awesome alpine lake surrounded by mountains and pine trees. A little bit of an easier trail, and offers more solitude compared to Missouri Lakes. The trailhead is also easily accessible with any car.

Views from the top of Lionshead Rock In Minturn, Colorado.
Views from the top of Lionshead Rock In Minturn, Colorado.

Lionshead Rock (4mi, 1,386ft) – If you want to keep it real close to town, this hike brings you right to the top of Lionshead Rock overlooking the town of Minturn. It’s only 4 miles to Lionshead Rock, which makes a good place to take a snack break and turn around. The trail continues on to Vail if you want to make it longer. Or you could even hike point-to-point and then shuttle back on the Minturn bus.

Summit Mt Of The Holy Cross – A ultra challenging hike to reach the top of Eagle county’s only 14er.  Best completed by experienced hikers as a 2-day backpacking excursion.

For more great hikes in the area, check out the Best Hikes In Vail, Colorado.

Where To Stay?

Hotel Minturn
Hotel Minturn

There’s a variety of places to stay right in Minturn, such as: The Minturn Inn, The Bunkhouse, Hotel Minturn, and the Eagle River Inn.

If you are on a tight budget, check out The Bunkhouse, it’s a clean and friendly hostel.

Or you can book a VRBO for your stay.


Parking in Minturn

Minturn offers free street parking all along Main St, with some restrictions in the winter for snow removal.  You can usually find a parking space with little trouble on Main St.  Otherwise, there is a free parking lot at the north end of town just past the Minturn Saloon.

Takeaway | Best Things To Do In Minturn Colorado

Minturn Colorado is an awesome and unique little mountain town. Emily and I have lived here for the past year, and have found so many fun things to do in Minturn. We love this little town with big character. It’s located close enough to all the action in Vail and Beaver Creek, but nestled away from the endless stream of cars on Interstate-70. With an infectious laid-back vibe, many great restaurants, and awesome access to the outdoors you probably won’t even want to leave.

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Best things to do in Minturn Colorado
Top Things To Do In Minturn Colorado