Our History and Values

A Little About Paragon Guides Vail Colorado…

  • One of Colorado’s premier guide services providing Quality Outdoor Adventures Since 1978
  • Throughout the White River National Forest of the central Rocky Mountain region and along the now famous 10th Mountain Division Hut System.
  • Choose from a variety of backcountry adventures Summer and Winter
  • Our participatory approach to guiding provides individuals and families a true sense of personal involvement in their adventure experience.

Paragon Guides began in 1978 as a small guiding company prior to merging with two other companies in 1985. Buck Elliott, Paragon’s president and director, has designed the company to represent a consortium of guides who have a personal and professional commitment to the guiding profession.

Paragon’s guides are carefully chosen on the basis of their outdoor background, personalities, and genuine love of the wilderness.

A variety of backgrounds are represented that range from Outward Bound and NOLS instructors, National Park Rangers and local mountaineers; all sharing an appreciation for and a broad depth of experience in the outdoors. All guides have minimum certifications and training for medical emergencies in Wilderness First Responder or EMT, and CPR. Our Guide Training Programs cover everything from backcountry risk assessment, emergency management, annual avalanche training, local flora and fauna, outdoor cooking, personalities and group dynamics, leadership training and an ongoing evaluation and sharing of personal mountaineering skills.

We are well aware that the quality of your trip depends a great deal on the quality of your guides and we are constantly building our skills accordingly. Our philosophy is to share with you a quality outdoor experience while providing opportunities for you to discover the backcountry on your own.

Paragon Headquarters – “PHQ”

DSC_0017 Benedict 100 - Aspen to Vail Ski Tour
Located in the Business Park of Edwards, Colorado, our store front is the Vail Valley’s only Dynafit Test Center and also the meeting place for most of our trips and tours.  Stop by when you are in the area to try out some Dynafit Alpine Touring gear, or plan your next hut or camping trip.

Paragon’s Backcountry Center


Once a small homestead cabin sitting near the junction of McCoy Creek and the Eagle River, next a bunkhouse for ranch hands at the turn of the 20th century. In the late 1980’s Paragon reclaimed it’s original hand-hewn log character and moved it up the mountain creekside to create a cozy ‘first hut’ for our adventures. As the staging area for our trips, you will meet our guides here and be outfitted for your adventure. Whether trying on ski gear or meeting your llama sherpas, this little cabin in the woods is your first taste of hut life.>

So how do you get to our little cabin in the woods? Well, these days although tucked in a quiet, woodsy nook, this homestead cabin is surrounded by the Arrowhead Ski Area (part of Vail Resorts) and the Country Club of the Rockies community, off Hwy 6 between Avon and Edwards in the Vail Valley. Taking the exit at either Avon or Edwards off Interstate 70 will connect you with Hwy 6 and our location. See the attached map.

Our guides will meet you in the Day Skier Parking Lot and commence their ‘first guide’ with you taking you to our secluded spot. The cabin is located off a ski run as well, making it convenient for our Pre-trip Orientation Ski Lessons.

One writer described our Backcountry Center as a ‘fitting portal’ to the backcountry. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.