Hiking Guides, Summer Guides

5 Great Winter Park Day Hikes

So you’re looking to hit the trails and take in the sights… Winter Park has 1,000 miles of trail—yeah, that seems like a lot to us, too. Don’t let that be intimidating! We have 5 great recommendations for all skill levels to enjoy mountain scenery and nature from the trail.

Easy does it

Fraser River Trail

Enjoy a leisurely bike ride or a walk along the Fraser River Trail. Leave right from the base of the resort, and take the paved trail all the way to downtown Winter Park. It is a gorgeous path that follows the Fraser River, giving you opportunities to dip your toes, watch the current, or if you bring your fishing gear, you can cast a line! Pack some food and  stop at one of the riverside picnic tables for lunch. The trail is about 2 miles each way from Winter Park Resort to downtown Winter Park. This paved portion of the trail is stroller-friendly, so you can feel confident about bringing the little tykes along. If you’re feeling up to a longer walk, you can continue on the trail to Fraser for a few more miles.

Heights without the climb

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

Want all the high-alpine sights without the climb? Take advantage of lift access up to the Roof of the Rockies to Fantasy Meadow loop for a walk through forest and meadow with sweeping views between the trees. Minimal elevation change makes this an easier hike to tackle, while still boasting panoramic views from an elevation of 10,700 feet and the potential for a moose sighting. Start on Lower Roof of the Rockies, winding through the woods and over a few streams. Connect to Fantasy Meadow—which is indeed quite dreamy—to admire a lush meadow, often filled with wildflowers. Take a break at the picnic table in the meadow to hydrate before hopping back on Lower Roof of the Rockies. The full loop is about 2.2 miles, making it ideal for just an hour or two of trail time.

Add a few more miles

Creekside/Flume Loop

This mellow hike through aspen and pine, following the meandering St. Louis Creek features great views of Byers Peak. The Creekside/Flume loop is about 5 miles total, making it a bit lengthier, but elevation change is minimal, so it’s still a relatively easy hike if you’d like to spend about three hours on the trek. *Bonus for bikers—this is an easy loop for XC riders looking to take it easy.

Going up…

Jim Creek Trail

Jim Creek is located directly across Highway 40 from the main entrance to Winter Park Resort, keeping your travel time to a minimum. You’ll experience a little more uphill and tack on more distance on this 7 mile out and back hike. Get warmed up on the gentle 1.5 mile Discovery Trail, then start your ascent on Jim Creek Trail, which continues on for about 2 miles. The trail follows the creek through the woods until reaching a secluded and picturesque waterfall.

Feelin’ the burn

Columbine Lake

This trail is about 7 miles round trip and has a steady incline, so you might be feelin’ the burn on this one. Impressive rocky peaks surround this large alpine lake, making the view from the top completely worth the sweat to get there. Columbine Lake Trail is accessed from the Junco Lake Trailhead, just beyond Meadow Creek Reservoir.

Looking for a mountain lake without the hike time? Drive to Monarch Lake. You’ll get great views, even without the trek.

*BONUS* Bring on the big one

Byers Peak 

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 round trip and takes you to the summit of one of the most prominent peaks in the area, offering impressive views of Grand County and beyond. From the trailhead, there is about 2 miles of closed road to cover before reaching the hiking trail. Many opt to bike the road, dropping bikes at the provided bike rack before ascending on foot. This hike 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.

Okay, so we couldn’t stick to just five hikes. There are honestly too many good ones to choose from. Check out our summer trail map for more options right here at the resort, or check in with the Winter Park and Fraser Chamber of Commerce for additional hiking resources. The Shed Adventure Concierge is also coming soon, so you’ll be able to chat with our savvy staff in-person to find the perfect hike.

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