Colorado Winter Bucket List

By
The Aspire Team
|
January 8, 2024

If you’re looking for winter activities in Colorado beyond our iconic ski slopes, then we’ve got you covered!

Whether you seek snowy hikes, historic railroad adventures, or live sports, Colorado provides an incredible array of options for winter adventures inside and out. The cold never bothered us anyway!

Let’s explore Colorado’s best winter experiences, from sipping local brews (with views) to soaring high above mighty Breckenridge on a (free) gondola ride. Let this bucket list be your key to unlocking the full spectrum of winter adventures in Colorado.

For Holiday-specific activities, check out our blog post The Best Holiday Events In Denver: A Comprehensive Guide.

1. Visit Rocky Mountain National Park

While RMNP sees the vast majority of its visitors during the summer months, fair-weather visitors miss out on the snow-covered, peaceful magic that is Rocky Mountain National Park in the winter. Some layers, sunscreen, and a little fortitude are required — but you’re in for the most beautiful winter wonderland you can imagine. 

A guided tour is always the best way to hit the best trails and see the best sights, but it’s especially true in winter. Many roads and trails are closed for the season due to snow and icy conditions, and the 415-square-mile park can be tricky to navigate. But our guides know where to go for a magical, serene winter adventure and will bring along the proper gear as required by the day’s conditions. 

We’ll check the weather and make sure you’re prepared for the day’s adventure. Check out available dates for our Rocky Mountain National Park sightseeing tour or our hiking tour to make your snowy dreams come true.

2. Try Some Local Brews

Over 400 craft breweries are based in Colorado, making the Centennial State the craft beer capital of America. Enjoying a cold beer on a bluebird day surrounded by snow is as Colorado as it gets. When in Denver, you can visit over 25 local breweries by just walking around the River North neighborhood, but if you want to get out in nature with a designated driver who will take you to some of the best breweries in smaller mountain towns, check out our Brews ‘n Views tour. The first round at each stop is on us!

3. Take a Snowy Hike

There’s no better way to experience Colorado winter than going for a hike in the snow. When surrounded by frosty pine trees out of view of cars, cities, and all the other reminders of everyday life, you’ll experience a different kind of peace. Whether you just want to go for a short stroll or spend the whole day hiking, we’ve got you covered.

Spend your day in the town of Breckenridge and take a short stroll in the woods to the Breckenridge troll on our Breckenridge Mountain Explorer. Or, spend half a day hiking in the Rockies. For those feeling even more adventurous, you can dedicate a full day to hiking with a knowledgeable, local guide in stunning Rocky Mountain National Park. 

4. Explore a Mountain Town

Make your hallmark movie dreams a reality in Colorado this winter. Quaint Lyons and scenic Estes Park make up the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park – visit them on our Rocky Mountain Hike or Sightseeing tour. Idaho Springs, where the gold rush began, offers a glimpse into the wild wild west – check it out on our Brews ‘n Views tour or the Rocky Mountian Escape. Bright, historic buildings and ample shops create the core of Breckenridge, which you can see on the Breckenridge Mountian Explorer. The options are endless and you can’t go wrong. 

5. Go Ice Skating 

Colorado offers a myriad of enchanting outdoor rinks surrounded by snow-capped peaks. Whether you're twirling under the open sky in downtown Denver or skating on a frozen alpine lake in the heart of the Rockies, bundle up, lace up your skates, and create memories against the backdrop of Colorado's stunning landscapes. Ice skating in Colorado is an experience that encapsulates the magic of winter, making it a must-try activity on your Colorado Winter Bucket List.

6. Hop Aboard a Historic Railroad

Colorado is home to a variety of historic railroads that invite visitors to step back in time to an era of pioneering spirit and exploration. Our well-preserved, iconic train rides provide guests with lessons on the state's rich mining and transportation history while winding through breathtaking landscapes that are otherwise inaccessible.

Join us for a private tour on the Pike’s Peak Cog Railway and take in stunning views from 14,115 feet with transportation to and from the railroad as well as a private guide. If heights aren’t your forte, you can still get the full Colorado train ride experience on the Georgetown Loop Railroad, the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, the Royal Gorge Route Railroad, or the Leadville Railroad. Each historic ride immerses travelers in the tales of Colorado's past, making it a captivating and educational adventure for all ages.

7. Give Ice Fishing a Try

Ice fishing offers a unique and serene way to connect with the winter landscape. The peaceful surroundings, crisp winter air, and the sound of the ice settling create a meditative atmosphere, making ice fishing not just a recreational activity but a therapeutic escape. You’ve never done ice fishing before? No problem – there’s a first time for everything. We’ll show you the ropes on your private ice fishing tour

8. Play in the Snow

Sledding, snowball fights, snowmen, and snow forts aren’t just for kids… seriously. The Rocky Mountains average 200 inches of snow annually, making it the perfect destination for getting in touch with your inner child. You can partake in these activities from anywhere as long as there’s snow, but there’s no better place for snow playtime than Breckenridge.

Breck is the snowiest town in the United States, averaging 300 inches of snow per year. We provide sleds and transportation to and from an awesome sled hill to all guests on the Breckenridge Mountain Explorer. You won’t want to miss it!  

9. Ride a Gondola

Riding a gondola in the winter is an essential experience for those seeking unparalleled winter views from inside a cozy capsule high above the world. Since there are so many spectacular ski areas in Colorado, the state is home to plenty of gondolas, but most will cost you a pretty penny. That is, except for the Breckenridge gondola, which is free.

Join us on our Breckenridge Mountain Explorer tour, and kick off your time in Breck by getting whisked away above the town on the Breckenridge gondola. 

10. Soak in Hot Springs

Colorado has a whopping 93 known thermal areas including natural springs, augmented natural springs, and wells. If you enjoy hot tubbing in the winter, you’ll love this natural upgrade. Whether you're nestled in secluded mountain springs or enjoying the ambiance of developed hot spring resorts, the winter setting adds an extra layer of enchantment to this timeless relaxation ritual.

You can certainly visit hot springs on your own, but if you’d like a guide to take you to the best spots in the Rockies, we recommend booking a private hot springs experience

11. Watch a Hockey Game

Coloradoans bring unparalleled energy and enthusiasm to hockey. After all, we’re home to winners, including the 2022 Stanley Cup Winners the Colorado Avalanche, the University of Denver’s eight-time national champions, and the Avs’ AHL affiliate the Colorado Eagles. USA Hockey, the nation’s governing body for hockey, is based in Colorado Springs. When in Colorado, watching a hockey game is a must-do activity for both established hockey fans and those looking to get into the sport. 

12. Learn Something New at a Museum 

Sometimes it’s just too cold out to be outside. On those days, we recommend checking out one of Colorado’s many, many museums. Denver is the largest city in the state as well as the capital city, and in Denver, you can check out the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver Art Museum, Meow Wolf, or tours at the Denver Mint or the Colorado State Capitol… just to name a few. 

For those with more niche interests, fear not: Colorado has you covered. Breckenridge alone is home to Mountain Top Explorium Children’s Museum, the oldest museum in Colorado – the Edwin Carter Museum, the Barney Ford Civil Rights Museum, and the Washington Mine Site and Milling Exhibition. You can visit all these and more on the Breckenridge Mountain Explorer. 

13. Go Snow Tubing

Get ready for some serious fun: whether you're seeking family fun or a lively outing with friends, snow tubing offers a delightful blend of excitement and fun. From gentle slopes for beginners to adrenaline-pumping descents for the more daring, there’s something for everyone. Find the best mountain for you here

14. Hit the Slopes

Whether you're a seasoned pro on the slopes or a novice looking to carve your first tracks, Colorado ski resorts are unparalleled. As the premier skiing destination in North America, the state proudly offers a selection of 28 ski resorts with expansive terrain covering hundreds of miles. Explore endless terrain, and stunning views, and a beyond-memorable experience in Colorful Colorado. 

15. Get Your Adrenaline Pumping

Colorado winters offer more for the adrenaline seekers than just about anywhere. Our landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for kitesurfing, winter mountain biking, backcountry skiing or snowboarding, snowmobiling, or even skydiving. These aren’t for the faint-hearted, but if you’re going to try any of these activities, ensure you are adequately prepared and find a guide. 

Whether you choose the tranquility of a snowy hike, the thrill of riding historic railroads, or the warmth of natural hot springs, Colorado offers winter wonders for everyone. So, layer up, grab your gear, and let Colorado's winter unfold before you in a tapestry of beauty and excitement.

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