Summer, Summer Guides

High Elevation Hiking Tips For Beginners

There’s a lot to love about high alpine hiking in Winter Park, and the jaw-dropping views are just the start! At 67 miles away from Denver, Winter Park Resort is nestled away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and we have an abundance of Rocky Mountain wildflowers, wildlife, and breathtaking scenery. However, all that beauty does come with a few additional considerations for high elevation adventures. Check out our recommendations for successful summer hikes.

Pack the Essentials

, High Elevation Hiking Tips For Beginners

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 pack layers, a hat, sunglasses, a First Aid Kit, sunscreen, water, and snacks. Don’t forget your phone or camera for pictures!

Forgot something at home? Head to the Village to stock up on snacks and supplies at Trail’s End Mercantile, or grab some new gear at James & Parry’s.

Pro Tip: Need a map? Make sure to download our mobile app! 

Take It Easy

If you’re not used to higher altitudes, it can be a good idea to start with shorter-distance hikes or ones with less elevation gain. One of our favorite ways to start our day hikes is by taking the Gondola up to our network of trails at the resort. Enjoy a smooth ride up with views of Parry Peak, and then head out to stretch your legs on some of our shorter hikes with less elevation gain. The Lower Roof of the Rockies to Fantasy Meadow is a 2.2-mile classic!

Pro Tip: After your hike, celebrate at Mountaintop Happy Hour on Fridays and Saturdays starting at 4pm for incredible scenery, tasty food and drinks, live music (Saturdays only), and good vibes.

, High Elevation Hiking Tips For Beginners

Hike With A Crew

Whenever possible, hike with a partner or a group. You’ll have extra support if you need it, plus lots of fun conversations on the trail. At Winter Park, we also have several guided experiences to help you get the most out of your time on the mountain! From leisurely hikes with charcuterie to rewarding treks above treeline, our guided hikes are a great way to see the mountain in a new light and learn a few new things along the way.

Stay Hydrated

Water is key when hiking at high elevations. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your hike to stay hydrated. Be mindful of alcohol intake!

Pro Tip: you can find re-useable water bottles in the Village at any of our shops! 

Check the Weather Forecast

Before heading out, check the weather forecast to get a good read on what you can expect and pack accordingly. Our favorite app for weather forecasts is OpenSnow (even in the summer!). 

Take Breaks to Enjoy the Views

At higher elevation, you could feel tired more often, and that’s completely normal! Listen to your body and go at your own pace on the trails. Build in regular breaks along the way to drink water, rest, smell the flowers, and take in the views.

, High Elevation Hiking Tips For Beginners

Leave No Trace

We can all agree that the great outdoors are great, and we want to keep them that way! So, here are a few tips for responsible hiking:

  • Make sure no trash is left behind. Keep wrappers, water bottles, etc. with you until you find a trash bin.
  • If you’re hiking with your pup, bring plenty of bags to pick up after them.
  • Stay on the path. While it’s tempting to blaze your own trail, stepping off the path can disrupt natural habits and cause damage to local ecosystems.
  • The best souvenirs are photos! Please don’t pick wildflowers or take other natural items with you. (Plus, you can pick up Winter Park gear and gifts in the Village.)
  • Give wildlife their space. We hope you get a chance to see the amazing animals up here in the high country, but remember, they are wild and this is their home. Keep a respectful distance and don’t mimic animal calls.

Let’s Hit the Trails!

With these tips under your belt, you’re ready to get out there and experience summertime hikes in the Rocky Mountains. Want to start planning? Take a peek at our summer trail map for some inspo!

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

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