Guess who’s back, back again! That’s right, your favorite year-round getaway has once again been crowned Colorado’s Top Adventure Town. While the authentic vibe of this Rocky Mountain gem has remained unchanged, some exciting new activities are sure to give you and your crew more reasons to come out and see what the hype is all about!
Sit back, daydream a bit, and let these 10 inspirational ideas fill your head with wonder – we have a feeling we’ll see you here soon!
1. Skiing and snowboarding in Mary Jane Territory:
Skiing Mary Jane. Need we say more? This iconic Territory at Winter Park practically speaks for itself, but we can tell you why it’s the best skiing in Colorado.
Long, bumpy, and unabashedly challenging terrain leaves something for every skier. Push your limits, chill out on the blues, or test your skills in the trees. Whichever way you choose to get down, you’ll end the day feeling accomplished. And if you take a spill or two remember, no pain, no Jane.
And with trail names like Drunken Frenchman and Galloping Goose, it’s hard not to love the playful spirit of Mary Jane. Where did those names come from you ask? The Drunken Frenchman is named after good ol’ Frenchy who worked for the logging company in charge of clearing the MJ trails. He was known for slinging back beers and downing a bottle of wine as he worked. The least we could do was honor him with his own trail. The Galloping Goose isn’t some new, strange animal. It’s named after the 1930’s automobiles built to ride rails in Southwestern Colorado.
No matter where you’re from, you can feel like a local with a little mountain-style tailgating. Make sure to park at C-Lot for some true MJ tailgating and easy access to the Challenger lift. Or, grab a Mary Jane ale right at the base of its namesake to get the full experience.
Whether you are a seasoned water-warrior or a first-time floater, the Winter Park area is chock-full of excellent rafting options sure to keep the entire spectrum of adventurers happy.
An excellent option for families and rookies alike, the tame but stunning waters of the Upper Colorado River, outside of Kremmling, offer unique views of Colorado. From its famed wildflowers to its towering granite walls, you’ll get an authentic Colorado experience.
But if the thrill of whitewater is what you’re after, we’ve got your back. Strap on those helmets, ratchet down your dry bags, and let it rip down the famously fun class III and IV rapids on Clear Creek near Idaho Springs, only about an hour west of Denver.
From half-day floats to full-day voyages, or even the overnight trip for the most adventurous, MAD Adventures Rafting will ensure you and your crew have a memorable experience. Check out their website or visit them in the village during the summer they’ll have you on the water in no time!
3. Catch a Sunset at 11,000 Feet:
Mountain life is all about catching that first chair, and riding your day out until last call. That’s why après is a staple in the ski community. And if the thought of last call on a mountaintop with a beer in your hand excites you, celebrate your ski day in style at almost 11,000 feet at Winter Park’s Sunspot Mountaintop Lodge.
After a day of riding, hop onboard the gondola and gaze out over the mountain you just conquered as you ride up to Sunspot. Once you get to the top you can kick back by the fire, pop a bottle of bubbly and soak in the show stopping mountain sunset.
If you can’t seem to escape the après wave, stay for dinner! Sunspot’s vaulted ceilings with windows to match give you the opportunity to stargaze once the sun goes down. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the Milky Way. Talk about dinner and a show!
4. Trestle Bike Park:
Attention all adrenaline junkies! Trestle Bike Park at Winter Park Resort is one of Colorado’s premier downhill bike parks. At Trestle, everyone from the novice rider to the seasoned bomber will find their favorite trails in the stunning Rocky Mountain setting.
Featuring a slew of options for every rider, Trestle’s three bike lifts provide riders access to over 40 miles of expertly-crafted trails. Gauge your skills as you progress from the freeride sections of the park to the technical trails, tackling new challenges and scoping out your next lines along the way.
If sightseeing is more your style, try a Mountain E-Bike Tour. Enjoy a leisurely tour through the heart of Mountain Bike Capital, USA, on an electric-powered Specialized Turbo Levo bike, one of the latest additions to the nation’s largest rental fleet.
Need a few pointers? Want the kiddos to be able to keep up on the trails? Trestle offers camps, classes, and resources for the entire crew, so stop in and chat with one of the reps behind the counter to learn more!
5. Over the Divide Hike (Nederland):
“I hiked over the Continental Divide.” Sounds awesome, right? Well, here in Winter Park you can make that fantasy a reality with this invigorating excursion. Connecting two of Colorado’s most unique mountain towns, Nederland and Winter Park, this 12 mile trek will expose you to some of the state’s most picturesque natural settings.
Ditch the cumbersome gear and pack light as Winter Park Resort will hook you up with a free lift back to your cozy “basecamp” at the Vintage Hotel of Winter Park Resort. And after your memorable Divide crossing you’ll be craving a cold one and some company. You’ll find all of that at the hiker happy hour. Note that this package is only offered during select times, so mark your calendars in advance and book your trip here!
A day of hiking through the backcountry followed by a round of cold ones, what could be more Colorado than that?!
You don’t have to be an adrenaline junkie to be an adventurer. Anyone can enjoy the breathtaking scenery, while also experiencing the solitude of the mountains. All you have to do is strap on a pair of snowshoes and venture off the beaten path!
Once you bundle up in your coziest gear, you can simply walk to some of the best views in town. Our experienced Snowshoe tour guides will take you on trails with gorgeous panoramas of the Continental Divide.
If you’d rather go alone, blaze a trail of your own. If this is the route you chose, we have self-guided trail recommendations and maps to lead you to some of the most spectacular vistas in the Valley.
Looking for those mountaintop vistas, but hoping to get there with a little more horsepower? We’ve got you covered. Reach 12,000 feet with ease on a Grand Adventure snowmobile tour.
Trained backcountry experts will safely take you up the Continental Divide for a customized tour that will maximize your snowmobile experience, with options for beginners to advanced riders.
Take a slow cruise through groomers, slash powder on varied terrain, or take a private tour through the backcountry to explore secret spots. Whatever you’re looking for, Grand Adventures has the tour for you.
Did we mention Grand Adventures is the only snowmobile tour in the country to reach 12,000 feet in elevation? Once you’re up that high, we promise you’ll get postcard-worthy views of Winter Park Ski Resort and Fraser Valley.
8. Trail Ridge Road (RMNP):
Want in on a secret? You can access one of Colorado’s most iconic places, Rocky Mountain National Park, by driving through the mountain communities of Winter Park and Grand Lake. In doing so, you’ll bypass the infamous traffic to the highest continuous motorway in the U.S., Trail Ridge Road.
Directions couldn’t be easier! Hop on Highway 34 in Granby, which will take you through the town of Grand Lake. Stop for a quick bite or brew in town before completing the final leg to the park where your adventure awaits.
Combining scenic views with the likely possibility of encountering critters ranging from elk to marmots to Bighorn sheep, Trail Ridge Road in RMNP is a Colorado experience through and through. Plus, you’ll get some great pictures along the way. Note that the road closes in the winter, so plan ahead!
9. Explore the Cirque in Winter or Summer:
The impressive Cirque Territory. Not many ski resorts have terrain that is equally fun and challenging in both winter and summer. But that’s what makes the Cirque so great.
If steeps, cliffs, and butterflies are your cup of tea, grab some sugar and join us. With 399 acres of double-black diamond terrain, The Cirque offers the excitement of un-groomed, backcountry skiing, all within patrolled ski boundaries.
And the Cirque isn’t a “descending only” area. Once the snow melts, take a guided hike and make your way to the top for magnificent, colorful mountain views in every direction.
10. Hot Air Balloon Rides:
Want to experience new heights? Need a new perspective? We’re willing to bet that a hot air balloon ride over Grand County will help with that! While everyone else can rave all they want about that “sick hike” they took, your photos, stories, and unforgettable memories of floating over the Rockies will surely take the cake.
Available to book in any season, the Rockies will reveal their secrets beneath you. Whether it be wildlife, impressive peaks, or panoramic views you’re after, Grand Adventures in Fraser is your go-to for getting you the views during this unique sunrise experience.
There are few vantage points that can provide the magisterial views of a balloon ride, but you’ll just have to see for yourself!
Sure, we covered a few adventures you can have at Winter Park, but there’s so much more. Come visit, and see for yourself!