11 BEAUTIFUL WINTER HIKES

11 BEAUTIFUL WINTER HIKES

There's a chance that you are from a sunny state where a low of 65 degrees is freezing, or maybe maneuvering front wheel drive around on black icy roads of death freaks you out a little.

Winter is and while you love bundling up in a snuggly hat and mittens, sipping cocoa and watching the flakes fall through your foggy breath like a Michael Bublé song, your uber fit friends are not going to convince you to hike a fourteener anytime soon.

Let it snow because you can take a hike this winter with a trail that won't have you heavily gasping for breath or remembering Discovery Channel facts about frostbite warning signs in subzero temperatures.

 

11. Lily Lake

Where: Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park. Length: 1.1 mile loop trail Highlights: This beautiful lakeside loop trail is simple enough for a daytime stroll, but offers the same stunning backdrop of mountains you might find on a more challenging hike. On a clear day from Lily, you can see Lily Mountain, Estes Cone, Mt. Meeker and Longs Peak.

Where: Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park.
Length: 1.1 mile loop trail
Highlights: This beautiful lakeside loop trail is simple enough for a daytime stroll, but offers the same stunning backdrop of mountains you might find on a more challenging hike. On a clear day from Lily, you can see Lily Mountain, Estes Cone, Mt. Meeker and Longs Peak.

10. Kenosha Pass

Where: Pike National Forest. Exit off Highway 285 at Kenosha Pass Campground.
Length: 29.3 miles (this is for the whole loop, but you can opt to take a shorter route) 
Highlights: Everyone can’t stop talking about Kenosha Pass in the fall, but those aspens are just as gorgeous in the winter. With a slow, easy climb from the campground, hiking a section of Kenosha boasts snowy aspen tunnels, rolling hills and amazing views of the flat plains and the Rockies.

9. Lair O’ the Bear

Where: Lair O’ the Bear Park near Idledale. Exit off Highway 74.
Length: 14.5 miles
Highlights: Hiking a stretch of the Lair O’ the Bear Trail through this popular park is definitely year-round fun for the whole family. You’ll see lots of attractions along the way: a beautiful creek, a flowing river with scenic bridges, mountain views and a real-life castle hidden in the woods. Lair O’ the Bear never gets boring.

8. Sallie Barber Mine

Where: White River National Forest near Breckenridge. Length: 2.8 mile out and back trail Highlights: The old Sallie Barber Mine is the pit stop for this hike which includes ruins of the wooden building dating back to the 1800s. Sallie Barber also offers striking views of the French Gulch and beautiful stretches through snowy forests.

Where: White River National Forest near Breckenridge.
Length: 2.8 mile out and back trail
Highlights: The old Sallie Barber Mine is the pit stop for this hike which includes ruins of the wooden building dating back to the 1800s. Sallie Barber also offers striking views of the French Gulch and beautiful stretches through snowy forests.

7. Lake Isabelle

Where: Indian Peaks Wilderness near Nederland. Length: 4.5 mile loop trail Highlights: Lake Isabelle is the perfect moderately easy hike on our list that’s long enough for a good workout, but won’t have you worried about dangerous terrain. This winter hike features a waterfall and stunning mountain views of a frozen lake in an alpine valley.

Where: Indian Peaks Wilderness near Nederland.
Length: 4.5 mile loop trail
Highlights: Lake Isabelle is the perfect moderately easy hike on our list that’s long enough for a good workout, but won’t have you worried about dangerous terrain. This winter hike features a waterfall and stunning mountain views of a frozen lake in an alpine valley.

6. Willow Creek

Where: Roxborough State Park near Littleton.
Length: 1.5 mile loop trail
Highlights: If you don’t want to drive all the way to Garden of the Gods and want a hike that’s not Red Rocks, but want to see some colorful rock formations all covered in snow, Roxborough State Park has got you covered. Relatively short and easy, the Willow Creek hike features protruding red rock formations along this little loop trail that’s so easy babies could do it.

5. Alberta Falls

Where: Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park. Length: 1.7 mile out and back trail Highlights: Another gorgeous and popular winter hike in Rocky Mountain National Park offers stunning views of the most scenic waterfall in the park with only a steady incline. Frozen Alberta Falls is absolutely picturesque, and you won’t have to hike long to reach it.

Where: Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park.
Length: 1.7 mile out and back trail
Highlights: Another gorgeous and popular winter hike in Rocky Mountain National Park offers stunning views of the most scenic waterfall in the park with only a steady incline. Frozen Alberta Falls is absolutely picturesque, and you won’t have to hike long to reach it.

4. Alderfer Three Sisters

Where: Alderfer/Three Sisters Park near Evergreen.
Length: 6.9 mile loop trail
Highlights: If you love walking through the woods, the Alderfer Three Sisters Trail features gorgeous Ponderosa pines blanketed in snow. As one of the less commonly used trails on our list, Alderfer Three Sisters is a great hike for clearing your head and enjoying some peace and quiet in the winterized wilderness.

3. Waterton Canyon

Where: Chatfield State Park near Littleton.
Length: 12.4 miles
Highlights: If you don’t want to travel far from Denver or exert yourself physically, hiking a section of the Waterton Canyon Trail offers the perfect winter stroll. Frequent bikers and joggers use Waterton Canyon due to its flat path surrounded by beautiful rock formations and the flowing South Platte River. In the winter, you’ll see the massive canyon all frosted over and even catch a glimpse of wildlife such as bighorn sheep, mule deer and even wild turkeys in their natural rocky habitat. 

2. Nymph/Dream/Emerald Lakes

Where: Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park. Length: 1 mile, 2.4 mile, 3.2 mile out and back trail Highlights: epending on how much time you want to spend hiking, these three majestic lakes are interspaced on the same trail, but all feature the same breathtaking view of icy waters and snowcapped mountains. With a nice moderate incline, this trail is well-crowded year-round and for good reason since the views can’t be rivaled elsewhere.

Where: Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park.
Length: 1 mile, 2.4 mile, 3.2 mile out and back trail
Highlights: epending on how much time you want to spend hiking, these three majestic lakes are interspaced on the same trail, but all feature the same breathtaking view of icy waters and snowcapped mountains. With a nice moderate incline, this trail is well-crowded year-round and for good reason since the views can’t be rivaled elsewhere.

1. St. Mary’s Glacier

Where: Arapaho National Forest near Idaho Springs. Length: 1.4 mile out and back trail Highlights: With an ascension through the trees ending with an amazing panoramic view of the Rockies, this trail caps our list since it features a year-round glacier (rather a large snowfield) that is typically used for sledding, skiing and hiking. Use caution when walking on the glacier, or if you’re feeling less adventurous, simply enjoy the beautiful lake it feeds below. 

Where: Arapaho National Forest near Idaho Springs.
Length: 1.4 mile out and back trail
Highlights: With an ascension through the trees ending with an amazing panoramic view of the Rockies, this trail caps our list since it features a year-round glacier (rather a large snowfield) that is typically used for sledding, skiing and hiking. Use caution when walking on the glacier, or if you’re feeling less adventurous, simply enjoy the beautiful lake it feeds below. 

A Hiker's Bucket List

A Hiker's Bucket List

Winter Camping Tips and Tricks

Winter Camping Tips and Tricks