September 10, 2020 3 min read

Top 5 Things to Do in Colorado Winter

by Becca Stewart

Colorado winters create a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Even during the coldest months, you’re sure to enjoy plenty of sunshine. Whether you’re a Colorado native or a visitor who’s just passing through, we are here to help you discover the best winter activities in Colorado.

  1. Skiing and Snowboarding.
    Winter sports are at the heart of Colorado’s tourism industry. Snowsport enthusiasts around the world dream of skiing and snowboarding in Colorado, and for good reason. Dryer Rocky Mountain air produces light, fluffy snow – affectionately known as “champagne powder” – that is incomparable to any other snow on earth. Nothing beats a Colorado powder day.

heated ski jacket
However, dryer air sometimes means brutally cold temperatures. It’s vital you have the right gear: winter jackets, gloves, hats and eye protection, and warm, water-resistant pants. Heated jackets and heated gloves will keep you toasty warm even on the most frigid days skiing and snowboarding in Colorado’s high country.

Sunscreen is also essential. Colorado sees up to 300 days of sunshine each year. The sun’s rays are more intense at altitude, and many unassuming skiers have gone home with severe sunburns. Protect your skin and reapply sunscreen regularly.

  1. Snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.
    If going downhill at a breakneck pace isn’t your idea of a great time, Colorado offers many other options for outdoor fun. The Colorado Rockies are home to thousands of miles of trails designated for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. State and National Forest services monitor and maintain these trails even in winter months, so you can experience the Centennial State’s massive peaks, hidden lakes, and meandering forests in a new light.

    The Colorado high country has something for everyone. Whether you’re a beginner who prefers to stay on relatively flat trails or a more experienced outdoor adventurer who wants a challenge, you’re sure to find the trail that meets your needs.

 heated clothing for snow shoeing

  1. State Parks
    Looking for a winter activity that doesn’t require skis or snowshoes? Lower elevation areas closer to Denver receive significantly less snowfall than the mountains. Therefore, you can typically find completely dry hiking trails, even in the middle of winter. If you’re looking for winter hikes close to the Mile High City, lace up your boots and check out these nearby areas:

 

Each of these parks features beautiful scenery and miles of trails. Some even offer wintertime camping, which typically isn’t a popular pastime in the winter and spring. If you can brave the cold Colorado nights, you’ll enjoy a largely empty campground and some much-needed peace and quiet.
colorado state park

  1. Colorado Hot Springs
    Winter is the ideal season for taking a dip in one of Colorado’s many hot springs. There are some 30 hot spring attractions in the state, from small, unaltered natural springs to larger, Olympic-size swimming pools fed by hot water nearby. Want to know more? Check out the list of Colorado’s hot springs here.
    colorado hot spring
  2. Ice Climbing

Maybe you’re not a fan of skiing in Colorado. Perhaps going downhill isn’t your thing; you’d prefer to go up. Straight up, in fact. Hundreds of feet up a frozen cliffside. You’re in luck: Colorado features some of the best ice climbing in the nation. The imposing San Juan mountains tower over southwest Colorado, providing outdoor adrenaline seekers ample opportunities to conquer new challenges.

The biggest challenge? Trying to stay warm next to all that ice. You’ll need the right gear – from winter clothing to professional-grade climbing gear – so be sure to check with an expert or ice climbing tour company who can point you in the right direction.

 heated jacket, heated gloves and heated insoles for ice climbing

Ready to get started? Throw on your cold-weather gear and go enjoy the very best winter activities in Colorado.

 

Becca is a freelance writer, Colorado native, and outdoor enthusiast. You can learn more about her at writebecca.com.


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