There’s a lot to love about high alpine hiking in Winter Park. Since we’re situated in the Rocky Mountains, the abundance of wildflower meadows, wildlife, and endless views will have you literally feeling on top of the world! With all that beauty comes a few additional considerations to make when hiking at a higher elevation (especially if you’re coming from sea level). Read on for a few tips for successful summer hiking adventures in the Rocky Mountains:
Take it easy.
If you’re not used to higher altitudes, you might find it’s more comfortable to start with shorter-distance hikes, or ones with less elevation gain. Taking the Gondola up to our on-resort hiking trails is a great way to get the views with ease while still stretching your legs. Looking for trail recommendations? Fantasy Meadow is one of our favorites at the resort. You can also see our full hiking trail map here.
Pro Tip: Pair your day hiking with Mountaintop Happy Hour on Fridays and Saturdays for live music and a “cheers” to cap off your adventure– the ultimate combination of summer vibes!
Hike with a guide.
Whenever possible, it’s a great idea to hike with a partner or a group (plus, it makes for some fun trail conversations!). If you like learning extra details on your hikes such as mountain names and local flora and fauna, signing up to hike with a guide is an especially good idea! Our expert guides know the trails well and will take you to the ultimate summer photo vistas. Plus—some of our guided tours come with extra experiences to elevate your adventure, like an outdoor painting class or an entire snack board at the turnaround point. (Not many people can say they got to do that while out on the trail!)
Water intake is key when hiking at high elevations. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your hike to stay hydrated.
Pro Tip: you can find re-useable water bottles in the Village at any of our shops!
Pack some essentials.
You’ll want to make sure you have what you need out on the trail so you’re ready for the possibility of changing conditions. It can be cooler higher up on the mountain than at the base, so packing layers, a hat, sunglasses, a First Aid Kit, sunscreen, water, and snacks is a good way to know you have the basics. (We also highly recommend packing a camera!)
Pro Tip: Need a map? Make sure to download our mobile app!
Check the weather forecast.
Before heading out, check the weather forecast to get a good read on what you can expect. Our favorite app for weather forecasts is OpenSnow (even in the summer!).
Take breaks to enjoy the view.
At higher elevation, it’s possible you may feel tired more often. That’s okay! Pace yourself and take regular breaks during your hike to drink water, smell flowers, and take in the views. There’s plenty to see and experience, and taking your time will help you get the most out of your high alpine hiking adventure!
With these tips, you’re one step closer to summertime hiking in the Rocky Mountains. We’ll see you on the trail!