Away from the hustle and bustle of busy ski resorts, noisy snowmobile tracks and well-trafficked winter sporting areas, snowshoe hikes in Colorado are having a resurgence as a tranquil winter activity. From wilderness excursions to guided hikes for the family, we bring you the top snowshoe hikes in Colorado.
Forest Service Road 260
Summit County, CO
The Montezuma area near Keystone is a popular snowshoe destination. With scenic views of Grays and Torreys, Lenawee Pass and abandoned mining towns, Peru Creek is a wonderful walk-in, walk-out snowshoeing adventure. The flat terrain and easy access are perfect for beginners or those who enjoy a leisurely snowshoe hike. While four-wheel drives do occasionally come down the road, hikers are usually left to snowy solitude and a parade of woodland creatures over the snow-blanketed landscape. Starting the hike by 10 a.m. is advised and packing a lunch for a mid-day meal while enjoying the surrounding landscape is an excellent way to spend a winter day.
Estes Park, CO
Home to Longs Peak, this snowshoe hike in Rocky Mountain National Forest provides a steady climb to the stunning Bear Lake. While snowmobilers are allowed access to the area, they are only permitted along the west side of the lake, making for undisturbed snowshoeing along the designated trail. Die-hard fishermen can also bring their poles to try their hand at ice fishing at nearby Emerald Lake: extreme caution and previous experience are advised for ice fishing. Local park regulations and licensing are required for fishing.
‘Tracing Tracks’ Snowshoe Tour
Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch
0130 Daybreak Ridge
Avon, CO 81620
Available December 15th, 2012 – April 1st, 2013.
Price: $20 per person, which include snowshoe rental and cup of hot chocolate or cider
Tours are available to hotel guests and members of the public.
Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch offers enlightening hikes of the spectacular Beaver Creek area. Especially of interest to nature enthusiasts, the “Tracing Tracks” program educates guests in local ecology and animal adaptations. The family-oriented program is suitable for all ages. A night snowshoe tour is also available from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. which includes star gazing, astrology and Bachelor Gulch history for a winter trip that everyone will be talking about for years to come.
Silver Dollar Lake
An easy commute from Denver, this snowshoe hike is set in a scenic mountain locale. Surrounded by cliff faces and in close proximity to quaint downtown Georgetown, Silver Dollar Lake is accessible via moderate snowshoe trekking. Guanella Pass does have a history of winter closures, so a backup plan is advised.
Sheraton Steamboat Springs
2200 Village Inn Court
Steamboat Springs, CO 80477
Sheraton Steamboat Springs’ Rollingstone River Ranch golf course is majestically transformed into the Steamboat Nordic Center every winter. The groomed snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails through aspen groves and along Fish Creek are prime during the brisk winter months in the Yampa Valley. With several retailers steps from the hotel for all snowshoe hiking needs, the concierge at the hotel is happy to show guests popular trails, provide Steamboat Nordic Center information and arrange for transportation to the nearby Strawberry Hot Springs for a relaxing warm soak after a long day of snowshoe hiking.
Chad Chisholm is an avid globetrotter and brings the best of travel secrets and expert insights to his readership. A Denver-based travel writer and photographer, Chad’s travels have taken him to five of the seven continents in a passionate love affair with the world of travel and the outdoors. His work can be found at Examiner.com.