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Parking in Breckenridge, Vail & More

Many who visit ski towns in Summit County and Vail Valley don’t understand the issues behind parking in these areas.  Usually renting a car is the preferred way to get around while on vacation, but in these mountain towns in Colorado that’s not the case.  Anywhere you go, you’ll most likely have to pay for parking… especially if you’re leaving your car there overnight.  Lots fill up quickly, particularly during the holiday season and when the ski slopes are open.  Taking advantage of Breckenridge and Vail’s free bus systems are a great way to get around town when visiting.  The 15 degree weather outside will make hopping onto a warm bus much more inviting than your cold car blocks away in a parking lot, and you won’t have to worry about fighting traffic or driving around in inclement weather.


Breckenridge Parking

There are over ten parking lots across the town of Breckenridge, as well as paid parking spaces along Main Street, Park Avenue, and Ridge Street downtown.  With the number of people who visit the mountain town every year (nearly 1.5 million every ski season), you can only imagine how fast parking spots run out.  Powder day?  Get to the skier lots early, otherwise you’ll be happily walking all the way across town or packing onto a bus with 20+ other skiers trying to get to the slopes.  Summer’s in Breckenridge have gradually gotten much busier over the past years as well, so during the weekends or any festivities that are going on in town, having a car is much more of a hassle than it is a benefit.

Ski Parking Options

There are multiple parking lot options for skier parking in Breckenridge, but you’ll just be paying more as you get closer to the gondola and ski resort.  You also have to keep in mind that especially during peak season and good snow days, you’ll have to get to the lots early to claim a parking spot.

North Gondola Lot, South Gondola Lot, & Gold Rush Lot

The closest lots to the base of the gondola and downtown are the North and South Gondola Lots as well as Gold Rush Lot.

  • Monday through Thursday = $5/day
  • Friday through Sunday + Holidays = $12/day

Beaver Run Lot

Hop out of your car right onto the chair lifts at the base of Peak 9 at the Beaver Run Lot, but you’ll definitely be paying for your spot.

  • Monday through Thursday = $15/day
  • Friday through Sunday + Peak Days = $20/day

There are a few more lots throughout downtown with parking, such as the Wellington or Dredge lots, but there just a bit longer of a hike to the gondola.  From 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM, paid parking spaces in town have a three hour limit for your parking spot, so it’s not advised to park along the street while you’re skiing otherwise you can expect a ticket or a tow by the time you get back to your car.

Free Parking Options

During the day, there are a few parking lots in Breckenridge that offer free spots.  The Ice Rink Lot off of Boreas Pass Road on the south side of town is one of them, as well as the Satellite Lot off on Airport Road on the north side of town.  Both of these lots have a bus that comes by every 15 minutes to take you to the gondola, but expect to be crammed in tight quarters with all your ski gear.

Navigating Town without a Rental Car

A trip to Breckenridge without a rental car is a better option for those who don’t want to be stressed out about parking their whole vacation.  Breckenridge’s Free Ride bus system runs routes across town from 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM, and there are other options like Uber and Lyft in town.  If you’re staying at a hotel, check into the potential free shuttle many offer around town.  On the other hand, you can pick and choose where you head out for dinner or drinks based on free buses offered by some establishments in town.  If you decide on Breckenridge Distillery or Broken Compass Brewery, you can hitch a ride home after a few drinks and not worry about driving or parking.  Just don’t forget to tip your driver!

Vail Parking

Though Vail, Colorado is a bit more easygoing than Breckenridge, there are still many limitations on parking that may make you reconsider your decision to rent a car for your trip.  Free parking is much more of a frequent occurrence in Vail, but watch out for everybody heading to the mountain on a busy snow day in the valley.

Ski Parking Options

Though there are parking structures as well as lots all around Vail, expect them to fill up almost immediately during peak season.  Both parking structures in the Vail Village offer free short-term parking, but 90 minutes is only enough time for a few quick laps before you get penalized.  In the last few years, Vail has doubled their overnight parking fee bringing it all the way up to $50 a night.  This was to encourage the use of lodging and public transportation instead of renting a car.  Possibly the only true positive on the topic of parking in Vail is the fact that they have a Live Parking Counts Status web page, giving you a head up on exactly how many spots are left in the lots around the ski resort.

Free Parking Options

With even more limited free parking options than Breckenridge, Vail makes it a little difficult to avoid spending $10+ on just parking your car for your day on the slopes.  When in town visiting, this can add up quickly when you have a rental or personal vehicle with you.

Red Sandstone Park

Only 15 spots are available at this location off of Frontage Road.

North Frontage Road

Between the two locations across from West Vail Mall, and west of the west Vail roundabout, there are 150 parking spaces available here.

South Frontage Road

Free overflow parking is offered once both structures are full.

Donovan Park

With only 90 spaces available here and limitations of when you are even allowed to park, this should be the last option on your list.

A bus system runs from all of these locations to the ski area every 15 minutes during peak season, leaving you packed like sardines on the way to and from the mountain.

Navigating Town without a Rental Car

Much like Breckenridge, the town of Vail offers a free bus system year round to get you where you need to go.  Be sure to know your routes during the time you visit, as the stops become less frequent and run time much shorter during the off seasons.  Though Uber and taxi services do exist in Vail, they are minimal and very unreliable.  If you’re staying in Vail’s Village, you won’t need to travel around much due to a plethora of restaurants, bars, and shops all in that area.  If you’re worried about transporting your ski gear, Vail offers lockers at Gondola One to rent for all your equipment.  You’ll pay a hefty price for storage, but it would be nice to not have to lug all your stuff around everywhere you go.


Keystone Parking

Keystone is thankfully much less harsh on parking than other ski resorts in Summit County and Vail Valley.  Both the Mountain Base Area and River Run Base Area at Keystone offer one free parking lot and a few paid parking lots.  The free lots typically are full between 9:00 AM to noon every morning, but for afternoon or night skiing here they make a perfect parking destination.  Keystone is also incredibly family and carpool friendly, with premiere spots in the free Montezuma Lot for large groups of 4 or more as well as families with small children.

Ski Parking Options

River Run Base Area

The Montezuma Lot is the only free option for parking at the River Run Village and offers a good amount of spaces, just be sure to get there before or close to 9:00 AM because it fills up fast.  The Hunki Dori and Gold Bug Lot both require payment here.

Mountain House Base Area

The Pika Lot at the Mountain House Base Area is free parking, and this location also offers paid parking at the Porcupine and Marmot Lots.

At Keystone Ski Resort, there are red wagons available to borrow real quick to hold your ski gear from the slopes to your car, or for the little kids who are burnt out from skiing all day.

Free Parking Options

The Montezuma Lot at the River Run Base area and Pika Lot at Mountain House Base Area are both free parking options at Keystone.  Both of these lots are only a short distance to the chair lifts, so they are incredibly convenient but are sure to fill up quickly on busy days.  There are also a few free overflow lots that include shuttle service to and from the ski area.  The Tenderfoot Lot off of Highway 6 and the Powerline Lot off of Montezuma Road are good options for those not wanting to shovel out a few bucks for parking after Montezuma Lot and Pika Lot are full.

Navigating Town without a Rental Car

Free shuttles are offered all around Keystone depending on your lodging or where you are located.  As mentioned above, there are free shuttles from the Tenderfoot Lot and Powerline Lot, as well as plenty of free shuttles with different hotels in the area.  With ski storage options at the base of Keystone offered for an affordable price as well, you can rent lockers to leave your ski gear there and not worry about carrying all of your equipment around.

Beaver Creek Parking

Beaver Creek is yet another ski resort with limited options on affordable or free parking.  At the beginning of the 2016-2017 season, Beaver Creek began to charge for the Elk and Big Bear parking lots that were previously free.  Fortunately, these lots become free at 1:00 PM, but that doesn’t accommodate anyone who’s trying to catch first chair and fresh powder.  Though the transportation around town has some pretty decent options to shuttle you from point A to point B, those with rental cars are bound to come across some headaches during their stay at Beaver Creek.

Ski Parking Options

The Elk Lot is going to be the closest parking lot option in Avon to head to the ski resort.  The Beaver Creek Bear Lot is an alternative, but is a bit further from the ski base.  The reason Beaver Creek decided to start charging for parking spots is that they wanted to keep the lots open for visitors who were wanting to enjoy the ski slopes.  There’s a free shuttle that services these lots, so it’s not too much of a trek to the chair lifts.

Free Parking Options

The Arrowhead Parking Lot offers 246 parking spots for those who are venturing to Beaver Creek to ski.  It’s a bit of a distance away from the slopes, but is a great option for those not looking to spend money on their parking or if the Elk and Bear lots are full.

Navigating Town without a Rental Car

Having no rental car is the way to go in Beaver Creek.  A free shuttle is offered in town, as well as transportation by a majority of lodging places in the area.  Beaver Creek’s Village is also full of fun activities, delicious cuisine, shopping, and snow sports.  If you’re staying at the Beaver Creek Village, the likelihood of you having to travel far is very slim.  There is also the Bachelor Gulch Village and Arrowhead Village.  If you’re lodged in any of these three locations, Beaver Creek offers free shuttles for guests through Dial-A-Ride.  If you do need to get around Vail Valley, Avon and Eco Transit offer bus services between Beaver Creek, Vail, Avon, Edwards, and Eagle.

If you decide to step away from the rental car and hitch a ride up to your destination, Peak 1 Express offers plenty of different transportation to get you there.  Our shared shuttle service to discount locations are the most affordable option, but sometimes private SUVs or our charter services are the way to go for you and your group.  If you’re flying into Eagle Airport to vacation in the Vail Valley, check out our newest shared shuttle options!

Call Peak 1 Express today to book your reliable transportation to the Rockies.