Top Snowshoeing Trails in Colorado
Posted by Danielle Maxey on Feb 14th 2020
There is a never ending list of things to do in Colorado, even in the winter. We have our favorite snowshoeing trails in Colorado so get your hiking boots, rent a pair of snowshoes, layer up and get out there!
Brainard Lake Recreation Area
"View from Brainard Lake Path" by Grisha Levit | CC2.0
Just outside Nederland, Brainard Lake recreation area is a great snowshoeing area for those looking to not venture too far out into the mountains. Those just starting out might enjoy Snowshoe Trail up to Brainard Lake itself. It you get there and are wanting more, you can add head up the Niwot Trail to Long Lake and loop around. Wanting more? Check out the Sourdough Trail for a truly long day in the backcountry.
Being so close to Denver and Boulder, Brainard Lake sees many snowshoers and cross country skiers throughout the day, so be sure to get here earlier to avoid the crowds.Some trails are skiers only too, so be sure to check the maps before heading out.
The Indian Peaks Wilderness area is large too, so if you've done everything in this area, head over to the East Portal or the Hessie Trailhead.
Snow Mountain Ranch
Located near Winter Park, Snow Mountain Ranch is popular among cross country skiers and snowshoers alike. Head up the Coyote Tooth Loop for a longer day. Or take the Totally Wired trail up to the Gold Mine to check out some of the local area's history.
There are designated trails for snowshoeing so make sure you are on the correct one before heading out. It's a great place for those looking to explore the area while others go ski at the Winter Park Resort. After you're done, head to the Winter Park village to partake in the after ski activities.
Rocky Mountain National Park
There's a reason Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the country. Hundreds of gorgeous alpine lakes, streams, meadows, and waterfalls surrounded by high peaks can be found throughout the park and are just as stunning in the winter as they are in the summer.
You can go up Bear Lake Loop or Nymph Lake for an easy introduction into snowshoeing. Both of these are just under a mile, making it a perfect half day get away. Been snowshoeing before? Head up to Cub Lake or Gem Lake for a little longer day. If you have got this snowshoeing thing down, and are looking for a true challenge, try Flattop Mountain, Deer Mountain, or Lake Haiyaha for some real elevation gain and mileage.
One you have to pay for to access via chairlift, McCoy Park is located at the Beaver Creek Ski Resort. With 30 miles of trails, there is plenty to explore in the park. Some trails are snowshoe only as well, for those wanting to avoid cross country skiers.
If you are unsure, McCoy park also has guided snowshoes tours and lessons for those wanting to start. It's a great option for those who don't want to ski while their family or friends do. Like the idea of snowshoeing at a ski resort? Check out Copper, Winter Park, Vail, and Steamboat as well for some fun, guided snowshoe tours.
Another popular snowshoeing and backcountry skiing area among Denverites, you can follow a packed road all the way to the top. There are plenty of trails that break off here, like Butler's Gulch, Herman's Gulch, and the CDT. There are so many options that you can keep the trail as mellow or as difficult as you want.
Follow the road all the way to the top for some good views with a mellow incline. Or explore around some the area. This is another one that sees a good amount of people on the weekends, so try to arrive earlier or later to avoid the crowds.
Mount Evans Wilderness
There are some great areas around the Mt. Evans Wilderness for snowshoeing. If you are looking for a hike with short mileage with a good amount of elevation gain and great views that rival the those of the high peaks of Colorado, check out Chief Mountain.
There are also plenty of other snowshoeing trails around too. Head to Echo Lake for more of a choose your own adventure type of snowshoeing. Or go up to Guanella pass to check out the Waldorf trail or the Silver Dollar trails.
If you are new to snowshoeing or winter hiking and aren't sure where to begin, check out our guide on How to Hike in Winter for some great tips. As many of these are popular among backcountry skiers, be sure to avoid the skin track on the way up.
Let us know what your favorite places to snowshoe in Colorado are! If you need snowshoes, stop into our Denver store to rent, or book in advanced at our online booking page.