As the weather gets colder in Colorado, many people find themselves cooped up inside. With shorter days and less sunlight, it can be hard to stay motivated and get outdoors. Winter is one of the best times to get outside and enjoy the beauty that Colorado has to offer. Here are some great, native-favorite activities to do outside in Colorado this winter with your family and friends that take you beyond the ski slopes.
If you already have your Colorado destination picked out, here is a list of great activities to do outside in three of the most popular travel destinations in Colorado.
Coloradans love their hot springs, and this beautiful state is home to the largest number of hot springs in the country. The best hot springs are located in the Rocky Mountains, and they make the perfect getaway during the long, cold winter.
Hot Sulphur Springs is located in—you guessed it—Hot Sulphur Springs, Colo., and offers private rooms for overnight stays. Strawberry Park Natural Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs boasts RV hookups and camping cabins, perfect for those looking for a family-friendly getaway. Glenwood Springs is the location of the hottest natural spring in the world and is loaded with fun water activities. You can even take a dive in their diving area or swim a few laps in their lap lane.
Many of the hot springs have restaurants and other amenities nearby, but there are also some that are remote enough to be a weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of a busy life.
If you are a wilderness enthusiast, snowshoeing is one of the best activities to do outside when you want to experience the true nature of Colorado.
The state has over 600 miles of maintained snowshoeing trails that offer a wide range of difficulty levels and diversity. If you are a newbie to snowshoeing, start out on a beginner trail such as Sprague Lake, which is a short, flat loop located near Estes Park. It offers beautiful views of the lake and is great for the whole family. More experienced snowshoers can check out The Loch via Glacier Gorge Trail, a 5.4 snowshoeing trail that is heavily trafficked and hosts breathtaking views of Alberta Falls as well as the frozen Loch Lake.
Before planning your snowshoeing adventure, make sure you find a reputable snowshoe rental shop near where you will be trekking. Dress warmly and consider bringing a pair of waterproof pants, gloves, thick socks, and a warm hat.
Colorado is home to some of the best snow tubing in the country. It is a great way to enjoy a day on the slopes and still have fun even if you cannot ski or snowboard. Coloradans can agree that this is one of the best activities to do outside in the winter.
You will find plenty of ski resorts with different slopes and trails for beginners and experts alike. Historic Fraser Tubing Hill is fun for the entire family and offers 60-90 minute tube rentals as well as group specials. Make your way up I-70 to Copper Mountain to discover a unique tubing hill full of turns and banks that will have you smiling and laughing with your family and friends from start to end before grabbing a hot chocolate and enjoying the beautiful Colorado scenery. Or head to the Frisco Adventure Park, just one mile north of Main Street in Frisco, Colo., to test your tubing skills on their multi-terrain tubing hill.
It is a good time to take advantage of this popular activity and get some good photos of your friends and family as they slide down the snow-covered hills of Colorado’s most popular destinations.
High country ice fishing is still a very popular sport in the Rocky Mountains. If you are itching to fish and want to enjoy the scenery in Colorado then try ice fishing.
There are several places to go ice fishing in Colorado, but the most popular is Shadow Mountain Lake. It is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, just 10 miles from downtown Denver. This lake is comprised of over 12,000 acres of water and houses four different species of fish that any fisherman would be proud to snap a picture with, some measuring up to 32-inches long!
The ice fishing season lasts from late November through March, so be sure to book your trip with a reputable ice fishing guide near the area who will get you your gear and make sure you stay safe if you are a beginner or if you are unfamiliar with the terrain in Colorado.
If you are an avid climber, ice climbing might be the best activity to do outside in Colorado that you can find. Ice climbing is a winter sport that is done on frozen waterfalls, rock cliffs, and manmade structures. This sport is done in the cold Colorado winter when the ice’s strength is strongest.
Climbing ice is not easy and it does take time to learn. However, if you are already an experienced climber, Ouray Ice Climbing Park is a great place to get the hang of this cold weather climbing activity. The man-made park is completely free to visit and is home to over 100 ice and rock/ice mixed climbs and a walking distance away from Ouray, Colo.
If you are completely new to climbing or would like to try ice climbing for the first time, hire an instructor! Reputable instructors can get you geared up and on your way to scaling your next waterfall in a few lessons.
Outdoor Ice Skating
Colorado is full of awe-inspiring natural beauty; snow-capped mountain peaks, sprawling plains, and pristine lakes. When the temperatures drop, Coloradans take to their favorite frozen ponds and lakes for some good old-fashioned winter fun.
Ice skating is a fantastic winter activity, but most cities don’t have ice rinks. If you’re looking to get out and see some beautiful scenery, visit one of the many outdoor frozen lakes the state has to offer. Head up to Keystone and strap on some skates at Keystone Lake, North America’s largest outdoor ice rink maintained by a Zamboni. This incredible venue offers day and night skating with available skate rentals.
If you’re looking to go skating in a more scenic area, Colorado State Parks host multiple ponds and reservoirs that you can skate on while in the midst of some of the most beautiful scenery Colorado has to offer. Check out Eleven Mile State Park outside Lake George, Colo., for some incredible activities to do outside. Make sure you have your own skates for these, as no rentals will be available.
Colorado is home to so many incredible activities to do outside in the winter. Whether you want to try a classic favorite, like ice skating, or take on a brand new challenge with ice climbing, there is something outside that will please every member of the family. There is an adventure around every corner. Which new adventure will you choose to embark on next?