Few cold-weather activities rival the thrill of ice skating over a frozen lake on a brisk winter day. Evergreen Lake, just half an hour from Denver, measures 40 acres, and each winter seven and a half are roped off to create a skating rink by the Lake House—where families can pay for admission, rent skates, and warm up with hot cider. Take a few leisurely laps around the main public rink, or rent sticks and pucks for a game of broomball on one of the site’s 11 hockey courts.
For young newbies, “skate helpers”—those big plastic ice walkers—are available on a first come, first served basis, and parents are welcome to bring a sled, too, to pull babies and toddlers across the ice. There’s even a designated path where non-skaters are permitted to get some time on the ice walking.
Because we’re parents, too, we know the first question on your mind is about safety. “We wouldn’t let anybody out there if it wasn’t safe,” says recreation supervisor Lorna Bleck, explaining that the ice rink must be frozen to at least 12.5 inches to be operational.
Group skating lessons are offered Saturday mornings for beginner and intermediate skaters ages three and up; purchase lessons a la carte online in advance. Book a semi-private lesson for the whole family by calling the Lake House, at 720-880-1300. The rink at Evergreen Lake will be open until March, weather permitting. Speaking of weather, always call the ice skating hotline (720-880-1391) before you head out. Warm weather and frozen lakes obviously don’t mix.
With so much to do in and around Evergreen, it’s easy to make a day of it. Post-skating, adventurous families can drive to Three Sisters Park. There are two trailheads off Buffalo Park Road; park at the second lot, nestled in a stunning meadow past a yellow farmhouse. With more than 15 miles of paths weaving through rock formations, this foothills park is the perfect spot for hiking or snowshoeing.
Got younger kids? Evergreen Golf Course abuts the Lake House parking lot, and is a prime spot for sledding. Families can also walk the flat, 1.3-mile paved loop circling Evergreen Lake, watching ice fishers while taking in majestic mountain views.
The loop leads to downtown Evergreen, a historic shopping district chock full of Rocky Mountain charm. On Main Street—aka Highway 74—drink hot cocoa at Muddy Buck Café, then eat at Beau Jo’s, where your food purchase will be 15 percent off with a skating receipt. Revival Brews is another solid choice; bring Spot It Jr. for the kids, and load up on chicken fried pickles and house-made potato chips before heading home.
- Check it Out:
- 29612 Upper Bear Creek Rd., Evergreen
- Need to Know:
- Hours are weather permitting. Call the ice skating hotline, 720-880-1391, on the day of your trip to confirm that the rink is open for business.
- $7 for adults, $6 for children, free for age 4 and under. Bring your own skates, or rent a pair for $7.
- Insider Secret:
- The Evergreen Lake House parking lot gets congested during peak hours. Avoid the chaos by parking at Stagecoach Park, at the intersection of Stagecoach Boulevard and Highway 74, and riding the free shuttle to the rink at Evergreen Lake. For directions to this overflow lot, check in with the parking attendants at the Lake House.