With as little as six inches this winter season, families can blaze a trail on one of these beginner-friendly routes.
Winter is a beautiful time to explore the scenic trail network inside Horsetooth Mountain Open Space. For a flat, easy trek, tackle the 2.25-mile out-and-back hike to Horsetooth Falls. The waterfall itself isn’t jaw dropping, but the wintry landscape leading up to it is oh-so-satisfying. After a morning snowshoe, head north to Old Town Fort Collins for an outdoor lunch in the tent at The Exchange.
6550 West County Rd. 38 E., Fort Collins
Jenny Creek Snowshoe Trail
Even though this USDA Forest Service trail is free to access, you’ll need to reserve a parking spot online and check in at the Eldora Nordic Center. Grab a free trail pass to use at the entry gate to the left of Tenderfoot, the bunny slope for alpine skiers. Climb straight uphill then bear right at the top of the ski slope, staying as close to the trees as possible. In a few more feet, go left at the sign for Jenny Creek Trail to enter into a serene pine forest. The 10-mile out-and-back route—you don’t have to do the whole trek—is blazed with blue diamond trail markers to keep you on track. Post hike, visit The Train Cars Coffee in Nederland.
2861 Eldora Ski Rd., Nederland
Rainbow Lake Trail
Walk down Second Avenue from Main Street for five blocks and cross a recreational path to reach Zach’s Stop Trailhead. From here, it’s a short-but-sweet 0.75-mile (one-way) haul to a cute beaver pond known as Rainbow Lake. On your way, ogle a frozen wetland as well as stands of bare aspens and towering lodgepole pines. Afterward, swing by Bread and Salt or splurge at Foote’s Rest Sweet Shoppe.
464 Temple Trail, Frisco
North Cheyenne Cañon Park
There are several good snowshoe trails inside this regional park. For an adventure, try Seven Bridges Trail, a moderate three-mile round-trip hike crisscrossing Cheyenne Creek over a series of seven bridges. The unmarked trailhead is off the closed portion of Gold Camp Road. To find it, look for the creek that goes under the road; the trailhead will be on your right. Later, warm up at Pikes Peak Lemonade, offering a seasonal hot cocoa bar.
2120 S. Cheyenne Canyon Rd., Colorado Springs
- Check weather conditions before heading out. You’re looking for several inches of snow on the ground, but you don’t want to get caught in a blizzard.
- Rent snowshoes at REI (multiple locations), Wilderness Exchange (Denver), Bentgate Mountaineering (Golden), or Eldora Nordic Center (Nederland).
- Wear waterproof boots and wool or synthetic fiber socks (try Smartwool or Swiftwick).
- Layer up with a wicking base layer, a windproof shell, and breathable pants.
- Bring a puffy jacket in case it gets cold, and dress kids in snow pants.
- Don’t forget waterproof gloves, a beanie, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
- Carry a daypack with snacks, water, extra socks and gloves, and a paper map.