Snow packed paths don’t have to mean the end of outdoor recreation at our Colorado state parks! As the snow falls in the high country, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing replace summer hikes and nature walks. And with many Colorado State Parks offering groomed trails and exciting terrain for snow sports, it’s time to check your gear and to make some plans to hit the trails.
While many Colorado’s state parks offer excellent winter recreation opportunities, we’ve compiled our list of the top six to get you started!
With abundant wildlife and over 5,000 gorgeous acres, Mueller State Park never fails to amaze. For a nice long trip, make use of the park’s excellent winter cabins and camping facilities. You’ll find trails for every level at Mueller; their variable terrain includes difficult hills, relaxing routes and short beginner trails. Beginners might start out on 2.2 mile Campground trail, while advanced skiers and snowshoers will love the challenge of 7 mile long Cheesman Ranch trail.
Just a short drive from Denver, Golden Gate Canyon offers the perfect starting point for beginners. Gorgeous views and abundant wildlife are excellent rewards for the moderate inclines. With more than 35 miles of trails, adventurers won’t get bored! Horseshoe Trail is a great place to start, with 1.7 miles of gradual trails each way. For even more stunning views and a more rigorous workout, try the 7.4 mile Mule Deer Loop Trail, which includes the famed Panorama Point overlook.
Take in the stunning snow-dusted pines and white-capped peaks at State Forest! Begin your trek right from the Moose Visitor Center, where there is a 6-mile groomed trail that runs along the banks of the Michigan River. Other trails in the park offer intermediate and strenuous routes, and Gould Loop, Grass Creek and The Loops Trails are groomed when conditions allow!
Vega is a high-mountain park at 8,000 feet in elevation, so there’s an excellent chance of abundant snow! The park offers a new 2.3- mile cross-country ski trail. Variable terrain makes these loops fun for the whole family. The trails are groomed when conditions allow.
For a short and serene trip on skis or snowshoes, head to Pearl Lake. Views of the snow-covered lake and nearby Farewell Mountain will put any mind at ease, and the secluded park offers a mile-long loop of quiet escape. For a longer trek, branch off to Forest Service Coulton Creek Trail, which spreads to about six miles each way.
Steamboat is a well-known hub for winter recreation, and for good reason! The park offers peaceful trails for those on cross-country skis and snowshoes. There are even ten camper cabins perfect for transforming a trek into a multi-day adventure! Placer Cove and the Sunrise Vista Campground are zoned “non-motorized” in winter and feature a network of groomed ski trails. For more information on Steamboat’s winter activities, download the Winter Recreation Guide.