Baby, it’s cold outside — but it’s no reason to stay inside when the best winter hikes in Colorado are within reach. If you’re a typical Coloradan, you likely have a stockpile of winter hiking gear that will keep you warm in the great outdoors. And the stunning snowcapped views are always worth the trek, no matter the temperature.
Just be sure to research each website for trail info and closures, check on weather conditions and hike according to your skill level. Here are a few more tips for successful winter hikes:
- If possible, don’t go hiking alone, especially on more difficult hikes.
- Always tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to return.
- Wear proper footwear, preferably water-proof.
- Print a map and bring a compass in case you lose phone connection.
- Bring water to stay hydrated and food just in case you’re out longer.
- Pack rain gear and dress in fast-drying, moisture-wicking layers.
- Wear a warm hat and bring sun protection.
- Consider other items like a multi-tool, first aid kit and headlamp.
Best Winter Hikes in Colorado
U.S. Highway 6, Golden
Here, you can take everything from a short jaunt to a twelve-mile hike at Centennial Cone Park. There’s minimal shade in some spots, so you can soak up the sun even when it’s chilly out. There’s a set schedule for hiking, riding mountain bikes and horseback riding that you’ll need to plan for, so check out their website for details.
Off Castle Pines Parkway in Sedalia
Daniels Park is located in “deep Highlands Ranch” though it’s technically in Sedalia. Surrounded by a golf course, this 1,000-acre park features several trails as well as stunning views—not just of the mountains, but also of one of Denver’s bison herds. This one is definitely on our must-try list of best winter hikes in Colorado.
1375 West Plum Creek Parkway, Castle Rock
This 270-acre park in Castle Rock has a cool staircase with 150 steps, which can be slick in winter but is still doable; it’s like a more accessible version of the Manitou Springs Incline. Biking and dogs are allowed, and there’s even a zipline that launches from the top in warmer months.
7599 Fall River Road, Idaho Springs
This winter hiking spot in Arapaho National Forest is both well known and well worth the trek. People will often bring snowboarding gear, hike up the glacier, and then board down the glacial front. When it’s snowy or icy, make sure you have shoes with good traction. Otherwise, this is an easy hiking trail.
Rocky Mountain National Park
This hidden lake in Rocky Mountain National Park is an amazing sight to behold—but you’ll have to work to get there. The round-trip hike is 8.5 miles, taking you through steep terrain to Chasm Lake. The trail begins near the Longs Peak Ranger Station, and although it’s strenuous, it’s one of the best winter hikes in Colorado.
30299 Buffalo Park Road, Evergreen
A beautiful trail full of snowshoers, dog walkers, runners and hikers, Three Sisters is easily accessible in the winter—and beautiful, especially when there’s a new layer of snow. Make sure you walk around the rock structure to find the secret caves in the back.
12102 South Elk Creek Road, Pine
Located forty minutes up 285, Staunton State Park is relatively close to Denver and Boulder. It’s Colorado’s newest state park, with plenty of territory to explore on a winter hike. Despite its proximity to the city, the park is as quiet and peaceful as it is cold. Be prepared with snow boots and plenty of layers.
Rocky Mountain National Park
This hiking trail is great for beginners—flat, under a mile round-trip and absolutely gorgeous. Rocky Mountain National Park acquired the Lily Lake area over 20 years ago and constructed the trail with help from the Rocky Mountain Conservancy. The trail is hard-packed gravel and handicap-accessible.
4751 North Roxborough Drive, Littleton
Roxborough is the closest cool winter hike, but also one of the best winter hikes in Colorado. The park is just south of C-470 in the foothills, with stunning geological formations along the hiking trails. There’s a fee to enter, but it’s worth it.