8 Best Colorado Winter Weekend Getaways

Zion National Park
August 4, 2015
5 Best Colorado Winter Hikes
January 20, 2016

Happy New Year to all!! Now that we have officially turned the calendar over to 2016, it is time to start the year off right…..with a winter adventure!!  Although Colorado is known for her plethora of summertime activities, she is something that you won’t want to miss in the winter, even if you aren’t a skier!

 

Any Colorado Native will tell you that January and February can be some of the best winter months to go do some exploring.  The mountains have had a decent amount of snowfall, but it isn’t mud season yet.  While most Colorado Campers envision summer trails laced with wildflowers and a campsite by a steady flowing river, or crystal lake, those who are in the know, will tell you that the snow covered vistas, and practically empty campgrounds, make Colorado winter camping something that you need to add to your list!  What better way to see the Rocky Mountain in all their splendor than by doing some off-season camping or exploring.  We’ve rounded up some of our favorite campgrounds for winter camping, as well as fun winter activities in the our State and National Parks!

 

  • Gem Lake–Rocky Mountain National Park

    Ok, it had to be obvious that we were first going to suggest a snowshoeing trip right? That shouldn’t have been a surprise, seeing as Colorado is known for her hiking, why wouldn’t you want to see your favorite spots on snowshoes?  Don’t let the idea of snowshoeing scare you off either if you haven’t done it yet! Gem Lake is a hard one to pass up in any season, but especially in winter.  With snowshoe rentals readily available in Estes Park, this lake tucked away in Rocky Mountain National Park, measuring only 1.6 miles it is a fairly easy excursion on snowshoes.  Your reward isn’t just met at the end…you are treated with your own passport to the past in the winter wonderland; surrounded by 1.8 billion year old granite walls and views of the Continental Divide, Gem Lake is a must do.

    Don’t feel too comfortable ‘shoeing into the wilderness yourself yet? Rocky Mountain National Park offers some of THE BEST (voted by my personal experience!) ranger-led excursions at either entrance from January through March.

  • Cheyenne Mountain State Park and Mueller State Park

    Looking for winter adventures to tickle every fancy in your family? Cheyenne Mountain State Park (15 South of Colorado Springs) and Mueller State Park (40 minutes outside of Colorado Springs) offer anything from snowshoeing and sledding, to cross-country skiing trails and endless beauty to discover.  Want to stay the night after a long day of frolicking in the snow? Have no worries! Cheyenne Mountain State Park’s Swift Puma loop is available through the winter months (October 16th-April 14th) and consists of full hook up sites; while Mueller State Park’s entire campground is open through the winter with hook ups at all sites!    Who wouldn’t want to live in a snow globe for a day when your campsite is situated in a picturesque forest with views of the Continental Divide? That’s what I thought.

  • State Forest State Park
    More interested in seeing some of Colorado’s wildlife in their natural winter habitat? Cruise on over to State Forest State Park, just East of Walden, and feast your eyes on the more than 600 moose that call the park’s 71,000 acres home! Stretched along the West side of the Medicine Bow Mountains and into the north end of the Never Summer Range, State Forest State Park is a hidden gem in Colorado and known as the Moose Viewing Capital of Colorado!

    Looking for a little more kick in your giddy up? Snowmobiling is allowed through the park in the winter months!

  • Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
    Okay.  So you’re right, it is *technically* a desert.  Which, most would assume means that in the winter there isn’t much to offer.  I hate to break it to you, but that’s where you would be wrong.  Although there are dunes that encompass about 30-square miles, some reaching up to 750 feet high, it is SUCH an experience in the winter.  With significantly less visitors in the winter, you feel like you were dropped back into another time and it is very literally, awe-inspiring.  Looking for something that will really send a shiver down your spine? Swing through to Zapata Falls, 11 miles outside of the park, which will freeze in the winter to a 25-foot tall monument of ice that would make Jon Snow jealous.
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
    Have you ever been to the San Juan Mountains? If you haven’t, you need to add it to your list RIGHT NOW! Aside from providing *exactly* the type of small-mountain-town-ambiance that you are yearning for, it is a playground for adults in the winter.  If you are a cross-country skier then the National Parks during winter are your ticket, seeing as most vehicles are prohibited from driving on, and screwing up, trails for cross-country chasers.  South Rim Driver offers 12 miles of groomed and packed snow ideal for Nordic skiers and snowshoers.

    Looking for something “off the beaten path”? Check out the ranger-led full moon trips.  If you think the Canyon is breathtaking during the day, you will be floored when you see it lit by the light of the moon.

  • Mesa Verde National Park

    If you haven’t picked up on it yet….Colorado’s national parks are the place to BE in the winter. Forget the lines and crowds and all the mental pictures of these parks you have in your head, because seeing them in Winter is almost mind-boggling.  Mesa Verde is no different.  Ranger led tours to the Spruce Tree House are offered three times a day and the views of the Mesa from a freshly snow-shoed trail are hard to forget.

  • Sylvan Lake State Park
    Skiers….this one is for you! This is one of Colorado’s best kept winter secrets and once you visit, you’ll understand why.  Located in the Vail Valley, Sylvan Lake will give you a skiing experience like no other…sans chairlifts and gobs of people.  This is the mecca for any winter activity from backcountry skiing (which may require a permit), snowshoeing, snow mobiling, ice fishing, sledding, wildlife watching, etc.  And while you’re there, check out White River National Forest for more adventure!
  • Strawberry Park Hot Springs
    You’ve been cross country or downhill skiing all day at Steamboat and all you want is to melt into the restorative 104 degree mineral water, while being surrounded by the infamous Champagne Powder, that is Strawberry Park Hot Springs. Nestled in the thick of the forest, Strawberry Park is one of the go-to spots for experiencing Colorado.  And honestly, how cool to sit outside under fresh, falling, Colorado Powder, while staying perfectly comfortable in a natural hot spring?

Do we have you feigning to go on a Winter Colorado Getaway yet? Find yourself in one of our new Viking Ultra Light Travel Trailers that come with all the amenities (yes, including a furnace!) and hit the road to one of our favorite Colorado Getaway spots.  Not into winter camping? Make sure you can get your entire crew up in one of our 12 or 15 Passenger Vans.

 

See you out there

#Let’sCamp

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