Winter Sports in Rocky Mountain National Park
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
Each winter, the popularity of snowshoeing in the park increases. It's a wonderful way to experience Rocky Mountain's majestic winter side, when the jagged peaks are softened with a blanket of snow and the summer hordes are nonexistent. You can snowshoe any of the summer hiking trails that are accessible by road; many of them also become well-traveled cross-country ski trails.
Backcountry skiing within the park ranges from gentle cross-country outings to full-on telemarking down steep chutes and glaciers. Come spring, when avalanche danger decreases, the park has some classic ski descents for those on telemark or alpine touring equipment. Ask a ranger about conditions and gear up as if you were spending the night. If you plan on venturing off trail, take a shovel, probe pole, and avalanche transceiver. Two trails to try are Tonahutu Creek Trail (near Kawuneeche Visitor Center) and the Colorado River Trail to Lulu City (start at the Timber Creek Campground).
Only on the west side of the park are you permitted to snowmobile, but you must register at Kawuneeche Visitor Center before traveling up the unplowed section of Trail Ridge Road up to Milner Pass. Check the park newspaper, High Country Headlines, for ranger-guided tours.
Outfitters and Expeditions
Estes Park Mountain Shop. You can rent or buy snowshoes and skis here, as well as fishing, hiking, and climbing equipment. The store is open year-round and gives four-, six-, and eight-hour guided snowshoeing, fly-fishing, and climbing trips to areas in and around Rocky Mountain National Park. 2050 Big Thompson Ave., Estes Park, CO, 80517. 970/586-6548 or 866/303-6548. www.estesparkmountainshop.com. Daily 8 am-9 pm.
Never Summer Mountain Products. This well-stocked shop sells and rents all sorts of outdoor equipment, including cross-country skis, hiking gear, kayaks, and camping supplies. 919 Grand Ave., Grand Lake, CO, 80517. 970/627-3642.
Outdoor World. Open year-round, Outdoor World is Estes Park's biggest outfitter, with all kinds of outdoor equipment for sale or rent. They offer daily snowshoe rentals, which include gaiters and poles. They also stock supplies for summer adventures, including hiking, camping, and general travel. 156 E. Elkhorn Ave., Estes Park, CO, 80517. 970/586-2114.
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