How to get from Denver to Vail

Located in Colorado, Denver is the most populous city in the state. It lies to the east of the Rocky Mountains. It is an outdoorsy city known for its art, culture, food, music and sports. Denver’s nickname is The Mile High City, which references its altitude. Denver sits exactly 5,280 feet (1.6km) or one mile above sea level. Denver is located roughly 100 miles east of Vail,  a small town at the base of Vail Mountain, home of the massive Vail Ski Resort. Vail is even higher than Denver. It is at an elevation of 8149.6 feet. Today, more than 31 million people visit Denver annually, and almost 1.3 million visit Vail. Visitors often make the journey between both destinations. So, if you’d like to do the same, there are five ways to get from Denver to Vail.

How to get from Denver to Aspen


One of the most convenient ways to get from Denver to Vail is to take the Epic Mountain Express. The shuttle is shared-ride transport in small vans, which depart frequently from Denver airport. The shuttles make stops at most hotels and resorts around Vail. The trip takes a little over two hours. The vans are comfortable, and this option is cheaper than a private shuttle, but you will be travelling with other passengers, and you have to wait for them to board and to get dropped off.


Travelling from the two places along the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Bustang public bus route is another relaxing mode of transport as you don’t have to worry about driving the unfamiliar roads; you simply get to sit back, relax, and take in the sights from the large windows. The price is also another draw – this is one of the cheapest ways to travel from Denver to Vail.

From Union Station in downtown Denver, take the CDOT West Line bus to the Vail Transportation Center. This journey takes around two and a half hours, and buses run twice daily.

Then, from here you can catch the Vail bus to your accommodation. This bus is free. Or you may have to catch an Uber or Lyft to your hotel or resort from the bus stop.


The most convenient way to get to Aspen is by car. And this is one incredibly scenic road trip. There are many car hire firms around Denver, but finding the best deal is the first step. Taking the car means leaving whenever you like and making pit stops and detours along the way.

Getting from Denver to Vail by car is very straightforward. The 100-mile trip should take less than two hours, depending on traffic – during the weekends in the ski season, you are likely to encounter significant traffic. From Denver, you the I-70 west straight to Vail.

If renting a car in winter, check if it comes with 4WD, all-wheel drive, or winter driving tyres. Colorado has strict winter driving traction laws, and attempting to drive without the proper traction is both dangerous and illegal. If caught, the police will give you a hefty fine.


You can also fly between Denver International Airport (DEN) and Eagle Country Regional Airport. The flight from Denver takes just over one hour. Denver Airport is located 25 miles northeast of Downtown Denver. Eagle Country Regional Airport is located 35 minutes from Vail.

Private Shuttle

If you don’t want to drive, plan the route, or consider the logistics, then a private shuttle from Denver to Vail is the best option. You’ll get from the city to the mountains by a private, comfortable vehicle, and you’ll be able to sit back, relax and watch the scenery roll by. This is the most relaxing way to travel between the two places.

Melanie May

Melanie is an intrepid solo traveller, endlessly curious about people, places and food. She is a fan of slow travel and loves exploring the world by mouth, discovering a culture through its food. Having backpacked her way around the world she turned her wanderlust into a career and is now a full-time travel writer.

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