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10 Best Snowshoeing and Cross-country Skiing Trails in Colorado

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Explorations in the mountains shouldn’t be limited to summertime and snowshoeing is one of our favorite ways to explore while socially distancing! Many of Colorado’s backcountry and State and National Parks offer groomed trails and exciting terrain for snow sports, so pack your gear and go. Don’t own your own snowshoes? Kids snowshoes are a great ROI; I was able to sell ours after my kids outgrew them for almost the same price I bought them! Yukon Snow-Bash makes a great kids snowshoe and these affordable SNO Stompers make darling bear and dinosaur tracks in the snow. 

All parks with level hiking trails are usually suitable for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing as long as there’s adequate snow coverage. Some parks, like Sylvan Lake​, even rent out snowshoes to visitors!​​ Before you go, layer up, bring water and always check before for any avalanche danger in the area. 

Best Snowshoeing Trails in Colorado

Brainard Lake Recreation Area

This recreation is one of the most popular destinations in the Boulder Ranger District…that no one outside of Boulder has heard about. Because of its high elevation, the white stuff is plentiful for snowshoeing.  The gate is closed in the winter so park at the Brainard Gateway Trailhead and snowshoe 2 miles to the lake. There is a warming hut in the parking area and plenty of moose as well. 

 Mueller State Park

With abundant wildlife and over 5,000 gorgeous acres, Mueller never fails to amaze​. ​For a nice long trip, make use of their excellent winter camping facilities. There are ideal trails for each 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​. 

Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Not far 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.

State Forest State Park​

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!  (Featured image.)

Nederland, Arapahoe Glacier Trail

Just west of Boulder, snowshoeing fanatics find nirvana in Nederland. Consider the Arapaho Glacier Trail if you’re ready for a challenge and the trail to Lost Lake for anyone looking for a manageable elevation shift with a stunning mountain lake at the pinnacle of your route. 

 Vega State Park 

​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.

Pearl Lake State Park

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 a quiet escape. For a longer trek, branch off to Forest Service Coulton Creek Trail, which spreads to about six miles each way.  

Echo Lake, Mount Evans

If you’re looking for a great beginner snowshoe experience, park at Echo Lake Park at the base of Mount Evans along Hwy 103. Trek on over to the Echo Lake Lodge and check-out the gift shop or have a bite of their tasty pies.  There are lots of trails in the area to explore so you’re not limited to those around the frozen lake and the snow-capped peaks are stunning.

Snow Mountain Ranch near Fraser

The Nordic Center and Snow Mountain Ranch, operated by YMCA of the Rockies, offers more than 120 km of terrain for Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and even fat biking for everyone from first-time recreational participants to elite racers. The many trails will allow for a safe long day on the trails. The rates are on par with what you’d find at a Nordic Center: $25 for adults for a day pass, but drop significantly for kids, and rentals are available as well.

Steamboat Lake State Park

​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. 

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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