Here’s to looking forward to being able to Venture Out again in the future. When the time comes, here are the trails we’ll be taking. From easy strolls to challenging summits, we can’t wait to welcome you back to the wilderness. Winter Park’s 1,000 miles of trails will still be here, so in the meantime, let’s day dream about these 5 great recommendations close to Denver for all skill levels to enjoy mountain scenery and nature from the trail.
Please review current health and safety regulations here and refrain from traveling to the mountains until government and health officials have deemed it acceptable to do so.
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.
Looking for lakeside views? This is the perfect hike for you. Not only is this trail relatively flat and easy to get to, it also features an incredibly scenic drive along Lake Granby. The full loop is about 4 miles, making it ideal for two or three hours of trail time. Along the route you’re likely to spot wildflowers, great views of the Indian Peaks, and lots of places to stop along the shoreline to enjoy a little mountain serenity. Monarch Lake is a great hike for individuals of all ability levels, as you’ll get great views no matter how far you go!
Add An Extra Mile
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.
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
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.
*BONUS* Bring on the Big One
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 this summer trail map for other hiking options in the area. With 1,000 miles of trails, you’re bound to find a few hikes to love.