When you think of the best winter activities in Denver, you will think of skiing first and foremost. Within two hours of Denver, you can reach more than 10 ski resorts full of snow and winter fun. But Denver has even more winter activities to be had!
From ice castles to hot springs, there is plenty to keep you and your family entertained. Here is our list of best winter activities in Denver, including skiing, but so much more!
Millions of skiers hit the slopes in Denver, CO every year. One of the reasons Denver is one of the best ski towns is because of its extended ski season, beginning as early as October and extending to as late as July.
Denver is known as the “Mile High City” due to its elevation being one mile above sea level. This not only makes for great skiing but many other fun outdoor snow activities.
There are three great parks for snowshoeing within an hour of Denver. Golden Gate Canyon State Park is just 31 miles from Denver. They offer a downloadable map of their 14 trails totaling over 35 miles. The Horseshoe Trail is 3.8 miles to Frazer Meadow and back, and it is great for beginning snowshoers.
Forty-five miles from Denver, you will find Saint Mary’s Glacier. There is a 1.9 mile out and back trail that offers beautiful views of Saint Mary’s Lake. Be sure to $5 cash with you for their parking fee.
Echo Lake Park has some of the most picturesque views. Visitors can enjoy the 1.3-mile loop around the lake at Mount Evans. For the more experienced snowshoers, check out the 8-mile out-and-back hike on the Chicago Lakes Trail.
For snowshoe rentals, we recommend Outdoors Geek in Denver. They offer adult and kid-sized snowshoe rentals and hiking poles.
Find fun for the whole family at the Colorado Adventure Park. Single and double tubes are available at an hourly rate. Guests will ride the Magic Carpet lift to the top then speed their way down the slope. There are multiple terrains from slow and easy to fast and wild. Kids ages 3 and up are permitted. Schedule your adventure online today.
Another great winter activity in Denver is ice skating. Although some locations for ice skating have closed temporarily due to the pandemic, like Downtown Denver’s Skyline Park, others are open and operating safely.
Big Bear Ice Arena, located between Denver and Aurora, is open for public skating (all experience levels) and freestyle skating (experienced skaters only). Big Bear has an online schedule for skate times and tickets may be purchased there as well. Skate rentals are available.
New for Winter 2020-21, Evergreen Park has opened ice skating on the Buchanan Pond. Located just 30 minutes west of Denver, ice skaters can enjoy socially distanced skating inside of smaller rinks with limited capacity. Just remember to bring your own skates, as rentals will not be available. Time-slotted tickets must be purchased online before your visit.
No matter what outdoor snow activity you choose, be sure to think ahead and be prepared. We recommend wearing warm layers with a breathable windproof shell. You won’t want to wear jeans, sweatshirts, or any fabric that will absorb wetness when playing in the snow.
Also, be sure to check the weather forecast. No one wants to be outdoors during a blizzard. And finally, remember to bring sunscreen and sunglasses. Even though it’s cold out, the sun still shines bright especially when reflecting off of the snow.
Even if you aren’t skiing, tubing, or building a snowman, Denver offers lots of other outdoor winter activities. Here is a list of our favorites.
Ice Castles is a frozen attraction where artists have hand-placed hundreds of thousands of icicles creating tunnels, fountains, sculptures, thrones, and more brought to life with bright and colorful LED lights. Take a ride on a horse-drawn sleigh or put on your snow boots for a leisurely stroll through this amazing creation. Ice Castles Colorado is located in Dillon Town Park. For the best prices, purchase your tickets online before visiting.
The Denver Botanic Gardens is a 23-acre park located in Denver with numerous theme gardens to explore. During the winter months, the Botanic Gardens come to life with the Blossoms of Light. The York Street Gardens are transformed into a twinkling winter wonderland with giant balls of light and thousands of trees wrapped in lights.
Holiday snacks and warm beverages are available at the Hive Garden Bistro on-site. There are also accommodations if you’d like to host your holiday party or pop the big question at the Blossoms of Light. This event runs from mid-November through mid-January and is closed for Thanksgiving and Christmas days. Tickets must be purchased in advance online.
Whether you get technical with electronic fish locators or stick with the basics of using several bait types, Colorado offers some amazing ice fishing possibilities. December to late February is the main season for ice fishing. And participants have the opportunity to catch numerous species of fish including trout, salmon, and perch.
The closest fishing hole to Denver is Chatfield Reservoir, just 45 minutes south. Chatfield Reservoir is 1,100 acres of fishing fun where anglers can catch rainbow trout, yellow perch, walleye, crappie, and bluegill. Colorado Parks and Wildlife regularly stock the lake with trout and other species for great year-round fishing.
For supplies, we recommend local bait shop Angler’s All in Littleton. And don’t forget to purchase your Colorado Fishing License before heading out to catch a big one.
Here’s how to combine two of the best winter activities in Denver. Take a 3-mile hike down Hot Springs Trail and you will find Strawberry Parks Hot Springs at the end where you can relax, unwind, and warm-up. Surrounded by wildflowers, Strawberry Parks Hot Springs offers a peaceful atmosphere while maintaining nature’s beauty.
On-site massages are also available to help you fully relax and embrace the experience. The Hot Springs are family-friendly during the day and adults-only at night. Be sure to book your hot springs visit and massage in advance.
We hope this list of the best winter activities in Denver has excited you and inspired your next vacation. Once you start planning your trip to Denver, here are some great weekly hotels for you to check out. And if you are in town during Christmas, here are some holiday events to enjoy!