DENVER (CBS4) – While the word road trip typically invokes images of driving in sunglasses and tank tops, Colorado is breathtaking in every season. And our state’s winters aren’t your average winters. Sure, we have the occasional four-day snowstorm, but compared to the rest of the country, we sure are lucky.

It doesn’t need to be summer to enjoy the mountains and scenic drives, so don’t let a little chill stop you from exploring this majestic state.

While ski resorts are at the top of most people’s list of winter fun in Colorado, there are a few places in particular that are at their peak during the cold months. Here are a handful of trips you don’t want to miss in winter!

Ouray Ice Park

Not only is this one of Colorado’s most spectacular wintry scenes, but it is a world-renowned ice park visited by ice climbers from across the globe. The sight is truly unique and a winter-only treat. After clinging to the icy walls, head into town to steam at one of Ouray’s many hot spring spas. The town is heated by geothermal waters, and it’s easy to find a hot pool.

Ice climbing in Ouray (credit: CBS)

Ice climbing in Ouray (credit: CBS)

Estes Park

If you’re from Colorado, you can guess what we’re going to say: snowshoeing. Estes Park is the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, meaning you can spend time in the lovely lake town while also venturing into the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains. Snowshoeing is probably the most popular winter activity in Estes Park and they can easily be rented in town. Winter bird watching is also popular, and the famed Stanley Hotel resides in Estes, a historic albeit creepy place to stay.

Blaze A Trail In Snowshoes

Fresh tracks on snowshoes.

Steamboat Springs

This town thrives in winter with its picturesque houses and ski mountain for a backdrop. You’ll definitely want to hit the slopes here, or at least cross-country ski. Go in February for the traditional Winter Carnival, which has been around for over 100 years! Also while you’re there, check out Strawberry Park Hot Springs. There are few things better than a natural hot tub in winter.

Image by Shannon Lukens. She wrote, "Here are the horses and riders, with Sleeping Giant in the background. They each pull a skier down the street. When they are all at the very end, they walk back to the start together."

Image by Shannon Lukens. The 2015 Winter Carnival of Steamboat Springs, it’s 102nd annual.


This is another town made for winter. Tucked snuggly into a long, narrow canyon of the San Juan Mountains, Telluride is a postcard. Its history is evident from Main Street, and the mountain resort boasts world class skiing. It definitely qualifies as a road trip at 6 hours from Denver, but the drive passes through all the quintessential landscapes of Colorado.

(credit: Heather Sadusky)

A snowy hike in Telluride (credit: Heather Sadusky)

Crested Butte

This tiny town rests in a bowl between mountains and is known for its skiing. The historic buildings never looked better covered in snow, and great restaurants are plentiful.

Crested Butte Mountain Resort (credit:

Crested Butte Mountain Resort (credit:

If you don’t feel like road tripping at all, Denver has its own holiday attractions.

CBS4 social media and website producer Heather Sadusky writes about trending topics on social media and across the Internet on her What’s Trending Blog. Share a story idea with Heather by clicking here.


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