With temperatures reaching into the 60s, planning a winter adventure may not be at the top of your “to do” list. But, with 2018 zipping by, February is the perfect time to strap on some snowshoes or cross-country skis and head out into a snow-filled state park. Whether you’re looking to try something new or merely squeeze in a few more days of your favorite winter activities, these four state parks offer everything a winter adventurer could desire.
1. Stagecoach State Park
If you’re a quick planner, head out to Stagecoach this weekend, Saturday, February 17, for Debunk the Winter Funk. The winter celebration invites visitors to try activities ranging from fat tire and ski biking to archery and ice fishing. It’s a full day event that provides great opportunities to try something new!
If you’re booked this weekend, no problem. Just stop by the park office any day of the week and take advantage of the FREE rentals, which include lake and fly fishing supplies, ice fishing equipment, snowshoe rentals and more. Stagecoach makes it easy to try a number of new outdoor activities. For more information, please visit the Stagecoach website.
2. State Forest State Park
With more than 71,000 acres of forest, jagged peaks, alpine lakes, abundant wildlife and miles of trails, State Forest State Park is truly a winter wonderland. Alpine bowls and ridges provide backcountry options for both novice and advanced skiers and riders. There are also a number of great ice fishing options, including the popular Michigan Reservoir. State Forest State Park’s unique and fantastic lodging options include winter camping sites, yurts, cabins and huts that were recently featured in Backpacker Magazine’s article on America’s Best Huts. Check out State Forest State Park’s Facebook page for the latest info on snow conditions, wildlife sightings and upcoming winter events.
3. Steamboat Lake State Park
When winter arrives, Steamboat Lake State Park takes on a whole new personality. Winter recreationists flock to the park for snowmobiling, snowshoeing, classic Nordic and skate skiing, ice fishing and more. Snowmobilers can ride in the park or access the Routt National Forest and more than 100 miles of groomed trails and backcountry. For grooming reports and trail maps, visit the Steamboat Lake Snow Club’s website. The lake also offers excellent ice fishing opportunities for anyone interested in or new to ice fishing. Colorado Parks and Wildlife will be hosting a FREE ice fishing clinic on March 3, 2018. Participants will learn the basics of ice fishing and all equipment will be provided! For more information, please visit the Ice Fishing Clinic event page on Facebook.
4. Pearl Lake State Park
Located at the base of the Farwell Mountain, Pearl Lake is the perfect destination for cross-country skiers and snowshoers looking for a backcountry powder experience. Located a short drive from the vibrant town of Steamboat Springs, the park provides a great setting for a variety of activities, including the quiet beauty of snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and ice fishing. Visitors will find outdoor diversions that are uncomplicated and low-tech. With yurts that are accessible only by snowshoe, ski or snowmobile trek of approximately half of a mile, Pearl Lake State Park is an ideal option for anyone looking to get out in nature and escape the daily hustle and bustle.
Although the temperatures have been mild, it still is winter in Colorado! So be sure to check conditions before you head out. A quick phone call to the parks will provide you with an updated condition report and all of the answers you need. If you are planning to head into the backcountry, the following resources may be helpful:
- Colorado Snowmobile Association – Snowmobilers will find current trail conditions and trail maps.
- Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) – Backcountry avalanche danger
- CPW’s Ice Safety Tips
Challenge yourself with an outdoor adventure and try something new this winter, such as skijoring, backcountry skiing or fat tire snow biking. With so many great options, it’s time to head outdoors and make the most of your winter!
Written by Doug Skinner. Skinner is an editor for Colorado Outdoors Online and is a media specialist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.