Hiking Guides, Summer Guides

5 Jaw-Dropping Day Hikes in Winter Park

So, you’re looking to hit the trails and take in the sights. Well, you’ve come to the right place! Winter Park has over 1,000 miles of hiking trails full of scenic views, wildflowers, and plenty of discoveries to be made. We have to say, it wasn’t easy to narrow our list down, but here are our top five recommendations for day hikes in Winter Park, ranging from leisurely sightseeing to high-elevation endeavors.

Want to stick around and tackle every hike? Check out our Deals & Packages page to save on trailside stays and even more adventures!

Fraser River Trail

Easy Does It

Fraser River Trail is great for all members of the family!

Take a leisurely stroll along the Fraser River Trail. The trail is about 2 miles each way from Winter Park Resort to downtown Winter Park. Leave right from the base and enjoy plenty of opportunities to dip your toes, watch the current, or cast a line. You can also pack some food and stop at one of the riverside picnic tables for lunch. If you’re feeling up to a longer walk, you can continue on the trail toward Fraser for a few more miles.

Want to explore on two wheels? Join a guide on our brand-new Riverside E-Bike Tour to learn all about the area from the comfort of a pedal-assist electric bike. (P.S. The tour also includes all-day gondola access and a free drink at Doc’s. Just saying.)

Lower Roof of the Rockies to Fantasy Meadow – High Alpine Hiking

Heights Without the Climb

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Want all the views without the climb? The Roof of the Rockies and Fantasy Meadow loop has your name on it! Start by taking the scenic Gondola up to Sunspot (The lift access will give you a quick elevation boost, plus wide-open views of the Fraser Valley.) Once at the top, follow signs to the Lower Roof of the Rockies trailhead and wind your way through the woods and over a few streams. Then, connect to Fantasy Meadow and admire the scenic landscape and wildflowers. After you’ve gotten your fill of the scenery, hop back on the Lower Roof of the Rockies trail and head back to Sunspot. The full loop is about 2.2 miles, making it ideal for just an hour or two of trail time.

Creekside/Flume Loop

Add A Few More Miles

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Meander alongside St. Louis Creek on this mellow hike that takes you through lush aspen and pine groves. You’ll enjoy the relaxing sounds of the river along the way, plus stunning views of Byers Peak. The Creekside/Flume loop is about 5 miles total, but with minimal elevation change, it’s still considered a relatively easy hike that takes around three hours to complete.

Biker Bonus! This trail is bike-friendly and makes for an easy, cross-country loop.

Jim Creek Trail

Going Up …

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Located right across Highway 40 from the main entrance to Winter Park, Jim Creek Trail is easy to get to and immerses you in authentic Rocky Mountain beauty. This hike is about 7 miles roundtrip and is considered moderately challenging due to the distance and vertical incline. So, we’d recommend you stock up on snacks and gear in the Village. Try out Treeline Treats for some fuel, and visit James & Parry’s or The North Face for extra gear, sunscreen, and more.

Then, head across the street to the trailhead. You’ll begin your hike on the gentle 1.5-mile Discovery Trail and then work your way uphill on Jim Creek Trail, which continues for about 2 miles to the top. This trail follows a sparkling creek through the woods and passes a gorgeous waterfall, so don’t forget your camera!

Columbine Lake

Feeling the Burn

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If you like to earn your views (and get away from the hustle and bustle of town), this hike is for you! This trail is about 7 miles round trip and has a steady incline, so you can expect to break a sweat while soaking in all the breathtaking scenery. You’ll start down near Tabernash at the Junco Lake Trailhead, just behind Meadow Creek Reservoir. From there, you’ll follow the trail as it winds its way up to a serene alpine lake surrounded by rocky peaks and vibrant summer flora. Keep your eye out for wildlife as well!

Looking for a mountain lake without the hike time? We’ve got you! Hop in the car and cruise to Monarch Lake. You’ll get great views minus the trek.

*BONUS* Bring On The Big One

Byers Peak

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So, you want to bag the big one. Kudos! Byers Peak is an iconic mountain just west of Winter Park and Fraser that climbs to 12,804 feet. This out-and-back trail is about 9 miles roundtrip and takes you to the summit of one of the most prominent peaks in the area, offering impressive views of Grand County and beyond. You’ll start by walking along 2 miles of closed road before you reach the hiking trail. (Some folks like to ride their bikes along this stretch, leave their bikes at the base of the trail, and then ride back.) Then, you’ll tighten your boots and head up the mountain.

This hike is challenging and typically takes 4-6 hours to complete, so you should plan on making your way down from the peak before noon to avoid any afternoon thunderstorms. Don’t forget to pack plenty of water, sunscreen, and other essentials.

Take A Hike

Or five. Or, well, six, because we couldn’t narrow it down. Whichever trail you choose to trek on this list, you’re bound to experience stunning Rocky Mountain views and time to recharge out in nature. If you’re still looking for more options, check out our summer trail map at the resort, or check in with the Winter Park and Fraser Chamber of Commerce for additional hiking resources.

And finally, don’t forget to follow us on social to stay in the loop on all things Winter Park!

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