When the temperature dips and the ground becomes a blanket of snow, the town of Estes Park is brimming with outdoor adventure possibilities. From snowshoeing and skiing to indoor activities such as rock wall climbing and taste testing your way through breweries and distilleries, there are many ways to enjoy the winter season in Estes Park. Whether you appreciate the adventure the snow-covered terrain offers, or you prefer to admire the fluffy white from the warmth of indoors, you’ll find something to enjoy among these top things to do in Estes Park in Winter!
Whether you’re a snowshoeing expert or you’ve never before strapped these contraptions to your feet, snowshoeing is a great outdoor winter activity in Estes Park because of its quick learning curve. Snowshoeing is easy to pick up even if you’ve never tried it before, making it a great activity for families or adventurers who seek a seasonal spin on hiking. The Bear Lake Loop is a popular place to start for beginners. This relatively flat trail is only 0.6 miles, so you won’t have to tackle much distance as you adjust to the technique of snowshoeing. Soak in fantastic views over the lake and Hallett Peak along the way. For more of a challenge, try the 5-mile The Pool hike, where you’ll soak in views of frozen waterfalls and conclude the trek at The Pool, the location where Spruce and Fern Creeks converge with the Big Thompson River.
Similar to snowshoeing in that it doesn’t have as steep of a learning curve as downhill skiing or snowboarding, cross-country skiing is another winter favorite that even beginners can enjoy. Pick up the speed a bit as you glide across the snow on some of the best Estes Park cross-country skiing trails. Head into Rocky Mountain National Park to spend some time on the Sprague Lake Trail. Beginning at the Glacier Basin Campground, a 3.3-mile loop trail offers a scenic trek to the lake with little elevation gain that is ideal for beginners. More experienced skiers should head to Trail Ridge Road, which in other seasons is a scenic driving route, but in winter the road closes and transforms into the perfect snow-covered route for cross-country skiers. Soak in views of the snow-covered sub-alpine forest as well as panoramic views of Horseshoe Park and Hidden Valley.
Sledding & Tubing
A timeless winter thing to do in Estes Park for kids and families, the simplicity of sledding and tubing still bring much joy to those who visit Estes Park. A former ski hill within Rocky Mountain National Park, Hidden Valley is an Estes Park favorite for sledding and tubing. A wide-open space flanked by scenic pines, the serenity of this location is enchanting. Though you’ll find few amenities onsite, the simplicity is what adds to its charm. Heated restrooms are onsite, and a warming hut is open on the weekends.
Adventurers who need a break from the snow can try some of the many indoor activities available in Estes Park. Epic Climbing Gym, operated by Estes Park Mountain Shop, offers over 4,500 square feet of climbing terrain within the comfort of the indoors. With routes geared toward beginners, experts, and everyone in between, there’s something for everyone at Epic. They offer basic climbs where you can simply strap in, climb, and enjoy the journey, as well as introduction to climbing classes where you learn the basics of climbing, such as tying knots, proper belay techniques, and safety procedures.
Wining & Dining
Duck into the warmth of one of Estes Park’s breweries, wineries, or distilleries to thaw from the inside out at this fantastic thing to do in Estes Park in Winter. Lumpy Ridge Brewing Company, Rock Cut Brewing Company, and Estes Park Brewery are some of the top breweries in the area that offer locally created craft brews. And for the wine lover, Snowy Peaks Winery is a must-visit. Estes Park’s dining scene is filled with a variety of local and worldwide cuisine, but they’re best known for dishes made with unique game meats. Refuel after a day in the snow with an elk, buffalo, or yak burger at one of Estes Park’s best restaurants, such as The Grubsteak.
Whether you plan to spend the day snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or sledding, Estes Park’s outfitters have all the gear you’ll need. Purchase high quality gear to be used on future adventures or simply rent what you’ll need for the day. Estes Park Mountain Shop and The Warming House are two of Estes Park’s top gear shops that will get you kitted out and ready for your next adventure.
Appreciate the Cozy Indoors
Warm up in the hot tub alongside an outdoor fireplace just steps from your private cabin at these luxury cabins situated along Lake Estes. With multiple fireplaces and a mountain chalet feel, these Estes Park winter cabins are the perfect way to enjoy the season. Then enjoy all of the great winter things to do in Estes Park!