Snowshoeing Near Denver: Winter Park, Grand Lake & Beyond
Only 90 minutes from Denver, Grand County is known for having some of the best snowshoeing in Colorado. From groomed Nordic Centers to untouched, high-elevation trails in our abundant wilderness areas, there are so many places to explore on a pair of sturdy snowshoes.
Best Snowshoeing Near DenverSnowshoe Rentals
Winter Park Snowshoeing
Fraser River Trail
Beginning in Winter Park and ending in Fraser, the Fraser River Trail is ideal for a snowshoe-clad stroll along the icy river. Running parallel to US 40, this route treats you to frosty views of the surrounding summits and maybe even deer, beaver or moose spottings. To make a whole day of your Fraser River snowshoe adventure, make some stops along the way. Pop into Cozens Ranch Museum & Stage Shop to learn a little bit about the region’s ranching history. Or snag a seat by the bar at Hideaway Park Brewery to sip a bubbly local pint. And if you’re looking for a shorter, one-way trip, grab your gear and hop on the shuttle bus at the Safeway in Fraser to get taxied back to where you began.
Jim Creek Trail
The Jim Creek Trail is a peaceful, 8-mile snowshoe route accessed right from Winter Park Resort. This hike boasts a gradual incline and 1,473 feet of elevation gain, winding through fluffy, snow-blanketed pine forests. While the trail is open year-round, in winter it’s the perfect path to take in the quiet beauty of the crystal-covered Rockies.
For a vertical challenge with a big payoff, head to Berthoud Pass. Any trek along this high-mountain pass is sure to amaze, with white-capped panoramic views of the Continental Divide. The Mount Flora Trail is approximately 6.3 miles out and back, so layer up and head out early to maximize your daylight. Be ready for some wind as you ascend this peak all the way to icy Ethel Lake. For an overnight adventure, take the Second Creek Trail up to The Broome Hut, a reservable backcountry shelter only accessed via snowshoe or ski in winter.
Note: Check Berthoud Pass snowpack conditions before you head out and always err on the side of caution when exploring the backcountry.
Grand Lake Snowshoeing
With an incredible Nordic Center, massive bodies of water that freeze over each winter and stunning views of Rocky Mountain National Park visible right from town, Grand Lake is a dazzling place to explore by snowshoe.
Grand Lake Nordic Center
Difficulty: Easy to Difficult
Surrounded by the snowcapped peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park and Arapaho National Forest, the Grand Lake Nordic Center is a true winter wonderland for snowshoers. Explore more than 35 kilometers of trails catering to all skill levels. Discover dedicated snowshoe paths, a dog loop and even a kid's tubing hill. Beginners can stop by, rent some snowshoes (or cross-country skis!) and spend the day traversing the sparkling snow. Afterward, sit in a cozy chair and unwind with a steaming hot cocoa at the lodge.
One of the most popular hikes on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park is Adams Falls. This easy trek to the towering waterfall begins right at the edge of Grand Lake, five minutes from downtown. In the winter, it turns into a quiet path, perfect for stepping in some snowshoes and crunching up to the viewpoint. Plus, with less tree coverage, the overlooks along the trail open up. That means you can spy on the frozen-over Grand Lake, where you’ll probably spot some ice skaters gliding across the surface.
Neighboring towns, Granby and Tabernash are home to two epic Nordic Centers and plenty of public trails worth exploring on your snowshoes. Whether you want to pair your trek with an overnight stay at a local dude ranch, or you’re looking for a quicker trip, this is a great area to check out.
Snow Mountain Ranch/YMCA of the Rockies Nordic Center
Difficulty: Easy to Difficult
At Snow Mountain Ranch/YMCA of the Rockies, the family-friendly Nordic Center will help you craft an unforgettable winter weekend. Featuring more than 80 kilometers of piney forest trails, wide-open snowy meadows and riverside routes, you will definitely need more than one day to see it all. Bringing a pup along for the fun? Nearly half the trails are pet friendly, so Fido can race alongside you as you pad through the crunchy snow.
Devil’s Thumb Ranch Nordic Center
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Discover the winter charm of Devil's Thumb Ranch Nordic Center in Tabernash. With more than 6,500 acres of frosty landscapes, this center is the perfect setting for a snowshoeing adventure. Their well-marked snowshoe trails have everything from leisurely strolls through open meadows to steep, energetic romps in the woods. Rentals are available, so you can easily gear up, breathe in the crisp mountain air and immerse yourself in the enchanting landscapes.
Monarch Lake Loop
In summer, Monarch Lake is a hub for boating and water sports, but when the weather cools down, it transforms into a serene, snowy destination. Explore the winter beauty of Monarch Lake Loop, ideal for an easy but stunning snowshoe excursion in Granby. This 4-mile, leashed-dog-friendly trail winds through shaded forests, crosses cool creeks and follows the lake's frozen shoreline.
Colorado Snowshoeing Safety
Learn about backcountry safety before embarking on your adventure. Check snowpack conditions ahead of time and always bring proper gear. See these resources for more information:
- Berthoud Pass Snowpack Conditions
- Backcountry Safety Guide
- Avalanche Safety Courses
- Avalanche Safety Resources
Get More Grand County Trip Inspiration
Looking for even more things to do this winter in Grand County? Check out these resources: