Denver’s surrounding areas are a winter paradise for the adventurous. The Mile High City is lovely in itself in the winter season, but venture a bit outside of city limits and you have access to multitudes of exciting outdoor, heart-pounding activities. Whether a seasoned adventurer or just starting to explore, there’s something for every skill level to enjoy. Make sure you layer up properly, grab your gear, slather on some sunscreen, and get out there! Here are a few of the best winter day trip activities from Denver:
Of course, if you’re in Denver during the winter, you’ll know to take advantage of some of the best skiing and boarding. For one of the most quintessential Colorado winter adventures, get your skis or board tuned up, and hit the slopes at the Arapahoe Basin. At just a 1.5 hour drive from Denver, A-Basin continues to keep its devoted fans happy. This place offers a frills-free experience focused on the sport itself and the absolutely stunning scenery and elevation of 13,050 feet. This height allows the mountain to stay open until June, and is therefore popular for spring skiing as well. What you won’t find here is a crowded, commercial resort, but instead, skiers who are immersed in the culture and come for the old-school, relaxed vibe. At a competitive value, you can pick up an adult day pass for $95.
One of the best winter hiking spots close to Denver is in Roxborough Park. At under an hour’s drive from the city, this hike is located at 4751 North Roxborough Drive in Littleton, CO. The park itself has some beautiful geological red rock formations to gaze at along the trails. This natural setting is the perfect place to stretch your legs and gain some elevation at your own pace. With trails to suite all levels, the most challenging path is Carpenter’s Peak. The wide trails offer views of downtown Denver as well as the stunning red rock cliffs. Keep your eyes peeled for some of the wildlife to be found here, including mule deer and red fox.
If you’re not quite up for a strenuous hike, strap on your snowshoes for a more leisurely walk on the Lost Lake Trail. Located at the edge of the Indian Peaks Wilderness near Nederland, you can get to the trailhead in about an hour and 15 minutes from Denver. By accessing this 4-mile loop trail from the Hessie Trailhead, you can get beautiful views of the northwest side of Eldora. There are also a couple of old mines and cabins to check out south of Lost Lake to make your snowshoeing adventure even more exciting.
After a day of exertion and adventures, it’s a godsend to soak in a mineral hot spring and soothe those aching muscles. Though there are many high-end hot springs closer to Denver, if you’re looking for a more natural experience, it’s worth the 3 hour drive to to Strawberry Park Hot Springs. Located in Steamboat Springs, you can explore their rustic mineral springs and relax and unwind from your day’s adventures. If you’re looking to treat yourself, sign up for their watsu treatment, a bodywork massage that takes place in their geothermal waters. Make a whole day of it in this area and take a hike at Fish Creek Falls in the Routt National Forest. There you can easily access the lower falls view in a .25 mile walk, or take the longer hike up to gorgeous views at Upper Fish Creek Falls and Long Lake.
It’s easy to stay hunkered down in the winter season and hibernate at home; but even when the snow is piling up, there are plenty of ways to get out and avoid cabin fever. Driving just a short distance from Denver can lead you to some of the best hidden gems just waiting to be explored.