Snowshoeing is a great way to enjoy the beauty of Colorado while staying active during the winter. There's no shortage of trails on the Western Slope, but some are far more challenging than others.
If you're looking for a laid-back, family-friendly snowshoeing adventure, the following beginner-friendly trails should be on your radar.
Following I-70 throughout the western part of the state, the Grand Mesa rises from the ground and spans the southern panorama between Palisade and Parachute. With a 10,000-foot elevation, the flat-topped mountain offers 53 square miles of lovely terrain and 300 inches of annual snowfall, making it a vast winter sports playground.
Situated near Grand Junction, the Grand Mesa offers easy snowshoeing terrain and spectacular views. The Ward trailhead and County Trail areas are great starting points for beginners. You can also kick off your snowshoeing expedition near Mesa Lake or Griffith Lake. If you decide to snowshoe along the manicured Nordic trails, be sure to walk next to, but not on, the groomed path to avoid causing damage.
Located near Glenwood Springs, Hanging Lake Trail provides a stunning journey across a pristine winter landscape. In addition to the beautiful landscape, the trail offers a good cardiovascular workout by traversing 1,000 feet.
You’ll see Hanging Lake frozen if the temperatures are cold enough, breathtaking falls, and beauty that will inspire you to take plenty of pictures. While the terrain is suitable for beginning snowshoers, the climb can get steep and slippery at times.
Additionally Sunlight Mountain Resort, just outside of the downtown area, offers an incredible winter trail system for snowshoers of every level. After your adventure, you can head into town and enjoy a rejuvenating soak in the hot springs pool.
Known for famous hot springs and picture-perfect powder, this area is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. That said, you can still enjoy the flawless snow without having to battle lift lines.
There are numerous un-groomed but thoroughly traveled snowshoeing trails in the area for all skill and exertion levels. Among the most famous are Rabbit Ears Pass, located east of Steamboat Springs on U.S. 40. You can also find some beginner-friendly trails at Emerald Mountain Quarry and Fish Creek Falls. For directions to these trails, contact the Steamboat Chamber of Commerce at (970) 879-0880.
Situated about 9 miles to the north of Ouray, Ironton Park offers scenic snowshoeing trails for all skill levels. Approximately 2 miles long, the Townsite Loop winds around old buildings in a fascinating ghost town.
This popular trail also provides access to several other trails, allowing you to choose your own adventure and explore the spots that capture your interest.
Ouray County offers a diverse collection of Nordic trails at Top of the Pines near Ridgway and just south of Ouray. As you gain experience, you can tackle some of the tougher treks. For more details about where and how to start, visit this resource.