Winter is synonymous with skiing around these parts, but just because you're in Colorado doesn't mean you have to ski. If you want to take a weekend powder break, try these fun winter activities to enjoy beyond skiing.
Bundle up and go ice fishing
If you’ve never tried ice fishing before, make this the season you cast into frigid waters. Ice fishing will give you an entirely new perspective into winter activities on the Western Slope.
The lakes atop the Grand Mesa offer ideal ice fishing when the weather cooperates, and you’ll have a variety of spots to choose from. Hopping around from lake to lake is the preferred tactic of many anglers.
Before you head to the ice, don’t forget to read these 5 Critical Tips for Safe Ice Fishing in Colorado. If you’re a novice, you might also consider joining a friend with ice fishing expertise or contacting a local outfitter to arrange for a guided fishing trip.
Explore one of Western Colorado’s state parks
First, give Our Guide to Western Colorado's State Parks a quick review to find a state park to visit. State parks tend to be slightly less crowded than their national park counterparts, and if you visit during winter there’s a chance you’ll have some spots all to yourself.
Many of our area’s parks even offer camping all year long — just read up on some helpful tips for camping in the snow if the weather will be snowy.
You can also ice fish on certain lakes, but checking the rules and conditions before heading out is a must-do. Mack Mesa Lake and Highline Lake in Highline Lake State Park have reputations for excellent ice fishing.
Lace up your ice skates
If you can ice fish on a lake, there’s a good chance you can also skate on that lake. The Grand Mesa lakes are popular options, and Mack Mesa is another local favorite. As soon as the conditions are prime, someone usually clears a portion of the lake off for skating and broom hockey.
If you’re unsure if a lake is frozen solid enough for skating, you can always call the park office (or the National Forest Service if you want to visit the Grand Mesa) to check on current conditions.
Get an adrenaline rush while snowmobiling
If you’re into high-adrenaline activities, snowmobiling is calling your name. There are tons of snowmobile trails to explore throughout the Western Slope, and the hardest part will be choosing where to go.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Grand Mesa offers miles of trails, and so do our state parks. If you venture out to Vega State Park, for example, you’ll have easy access to hundreds of miles of trails in and around the Mesa. At Pearl Lake State Park, near Clark, the park roads are even closed each winter due to over 300 inches of annual snowfall.
Whether you ice fish, snowmobile, snowshoe, or sip hot cocoa while admiring the landscape, one this is certain: You’ll have an amazing time enjoying a winter on the Western Slope.