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    You Are Here:   Home  >  What Do You Want To Do?   >  Favorite Winter Things

    ORIC's Favorite Winter Things to Do

    This page lists great things to do all winter and provides other helpful winter information.

    ORIC Volunteer Chuck Shom skiing at Monarch Mountain

    ORIC Volunteer Chuck Shom skiing at Monarch Mountain.

    Alpine & Telemark Skiing


    Avalanche Information

    Survival Classes


    Backcountry Skiing Information

    Alpine skiing, telemark skiing, and snowboarding outside a developed ski area.

    Brainard Lake Recreation Area

    Popular snowshoeing and cross-country skiing area. Very busy on weekends. Best time to visit is on weekdays.


    • A 30 mile or so network of trails most of which are signed and marked with blue diamond blazes.
    • Snowshoe-only and cross-country-ski-only trails.
    • Peaks of the Continental Divide as backdrop. Gateway to the Indian Peaks Wilderness.
    • Colorado Mountain Club Brainard Cabin. Built in 1928 and still going strong. Sleeps 12 and requires reservations (303-441-2436 or CMC cabin webpage). The cabin is open to visitors from 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. on most winter weekends. Stop in to warm up and have some hot cocoa.

    Dog Rules (December 1 - April 30)

    • Must be on leash at all times.
    • Prohibited on all singletrack trails.
    • Allowed on the Sourdough Trail.
    • Allowed on the Brainard Lake Road NFSR 112 and the Lefthand Park Reservoir Road.

    Closest Snow Depth Sensors


    Getting There

    Drive north from Nederland, west of Boulder, on Colorado 72 for 11.7 miles. Turn left onto the Brainard Lake Road (Boulder County Road 112) and continue for 2.7 miles. Park on the right at the Red Rock Trailhead just before a road barrier. No fee is charged when the seasonal gate is closed in the winter season (November 15 - April 30). Two wheel drive cars can reach the trailhead unless snow and ice have not been plowed.

    More Information

    Boulder Ranger District, 2140 Yarmouth Ave, Boulder CO 80301
    Phone 303-541-2500, USFS webpage, USFS map.
    Colorado Mountain Club map.

    Lake Helene, Rocky Mountain National Park

    Lake Helene in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by Larry White, ORIC Volunteer.


    May not be for everyone, but Colorado State Parks are great places to go when you just need to get a good dose of the outdoors. It's wise to check first on which campgrounds are open.

    Buena Vista Region

    Cañon City Region

    Central Plains Region

    Denver Region

    Eagle Region

    Fort Collins Region

    Grand Junction Region

    NE Plains Region

    Pagosa Springs Region

    South Park Region

    Steamboat Region

    Telluride Region

    Trinidad Region

    Notchtop Mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park

    Notchtop Mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by Larry White, ORIC Volunteer.

    Christmas Tree Cutting

    The US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region has a program for cutting your own Christmas Tree. USFS program webpage.


    Cross-Country Skiing

    For those wanting a more rigorous cardiovascular workout we present the following cross-country skiing opportunities. This is also known as "ski touring" and "Nordic skiing."

    Dog Sledding

    Dog Skijoring

    Essentially cross-country skiing with your dog in the lead pulling.


    Hut Trips

    They're popular so book well in advance.

    Ice Climbing

    Ice Fishing

    Be sure the ice is at least 8 inches thick before you step on it. Thicker is better. Call ahead to get a condition report.

    Ice Skating

    In Rocky Mountain National Park

    In Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by Larry White, ORIC Volunteer.

    Nordic Centers

    They're great when your looking for groomed trails or are trying cross-country skiing for the first time.

    Sledding & Tubing

    Sleigh Rides

    Snow Climbing

    Snow Depths




    Snowshoeing to Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park.

    Snowshoeing to Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo by David Hite, ORIC Volunteer.


    Winter Games & Festivals

    Winter Fly Fishing

    Here are a few suggested areas for those diehard flyfishers who can't wait until spring.

    Multiple Regions

    • Arkansas River below Salida. (Buena Vista, Ca帽on City Regions).
    • White River near Meeker. (Craig, Eagle Regions).

    Aspen Region

    • Fryingpan River below Reudi Reservoir.
    • Roaring Fork River.

    Canon City Region

    • Arkansas River below Pueblo Dam.

    Denver Region

    • South Platte River, Deckers.
    • South Platte River, Waterton Canyon.
    • South Platte River below Cheesman Reservoir.

    Estes Park Region

    • Big Thompson River below Lake Estes.

    Granby Region

    • Williams Fork River below the Williams Fork Reservoir.

    Gunnison Region

    • Taylor River below Taylor Park Reservoir.

    South Park Region

    • "Dream Stream" below Spinney Mountain Resevoir.
    • South Platte River below Eleven Mile Reservoir.

    Steamboat Region

    • Yampa River below Stagecoach Reservoir.

    Summit County Region

    • Blue River below Dillon Dam.