For a high-flying adventure through the snowy Rockies, you’ll want to check out the many options for snowmobiling in Colorado. Experts and beginners alike will love the high-octane adventure of zipping through trails on a sled.
If you’re looking for top-notch local advice about the best snowmobiling in Colorado, you’re in the right place. As a long-time Colorado local of nearly 15 years, you’ll get exclusive local travel advice.
About this Guide to Snowmobiling in Colorado
Inside this local guide to snowmobiling in Colorado you’ll find:
- Info about the best months to snowmobile in Colorado
- A look at the best places to snowmobile near Denver, Breckenridge, the Western Slope, and beyond
- Additional local Colorado travel resources
What Months Can You Snowmobile in Colorado?
Colorado in winter is a magical place! Snowmobiling is one of the fun things to do in Colorado besides ski, and the season is basically the same for both. Snowmobiling in Colorado is usually best from November through April.
Of course, this depends on the snowfall each year. The more powder the better, so the snowiest months of February, March, and April are often the best for snowmobiling in Colorado.
Types of Snowmobiling Tours
If you’re looking to join a tour to snowmobile – there are plenty of options for you. From short tours that last a few hours to full-blown self-guided days out there is something for everyone.
Beginners will want to take a guided tour can opt for a half-day or full-day excursion.
Another option for tours is self-guided snowmobiling tours. This is when you simply rent a snowmobile with preloaded maps.
You’ll get to explore on your own for as long as you like, without having to stay with a group. This option is awesome for those who have some experience snowmobiling but don’t have their own sled.
Prices for tours vary by location, time of year, and duration. Typically, you’ll be paying $250 and up per person for a ride.
Where Can You Snowmobile in Colorado?
You can go snowmobiling in Colorado in lots of places all around the state! Most of the best snowmobiling in Colorado is going to be west of Denver where the mountain passes make for great terrain, especially at some of the best state parks in Colorado.
The areas where you can ski, like Vail, Breckenridge, and Steamboat Springs, also tend to be good for snowmobiling. And don’t forget about Grand Lake, which caters to snowmobilers even right in town!
Snowmobiling Near Denver
If you want to go snowmobiling, Denver has plenty of options nearby, all within a 2-hour drive. (Although definitely keep ski traffic in mind, which can increase drive time by several hours!)
East of Vail Mountain and just off I-70, you’ll find Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area, a mecca for snowmobiling in Colorado. Covering 55,000 acres and 119 miles of trails (not all of them motorized though), this is definitely where you will find awesome outdoor adventure in Vail in winter and the best snowmobiling in Vail.
Local tip: There is a $10 daily fee (or a $65 annual pass) to access the recreation area, with self-pay stations located at all trailheads. Also, be sure to check a map of the area to determine where you are allowed to snowmobile.
- Drive Time from Denver: 1.5 hours (but watch out for the winter ski traffic that can lead to hours sitting on I-70!)
While it’s quite close to Denver, Winter Park snowmobiling at Jones Pass feels a world away.
The main snowmobile trail takes you up Jones Pass Road to reach the ridge of the Continental Divide above the treeline. If you’re also looking for some skiing, Jones Bowl will provide plenty of lines to enjoy.
- Drive Time from Denver: 1.5 hours
Leadville is a classic Colorado mountain town and the highest incorporated city in North America sitting at 10,151 feet, so you’ll discover plenty of awesome snowmobiling in Colorado high up in the mountains!
Lots of the snowmobiling trails up here run through the East Side Mining District, so you can get a good dose of gold rush history along with your adventure as you enjoy one of the best things to do in Leadville, CO.
Snowmobiling in Leadville will also take you through the lovely San Isabel National Forest, historic Camp Hale, and the gorgeous scenery of Turquoise Lake.
Hagerman Pass provides exceptional views of snow-capped peaks, while East Tennessee Trail is a chill trail better suited for beginners.
- Drive Time from Denver: 2 hours
Breckenridge in winter is a wonderful place to go for a Colorado winter vacation, and snowmobiling in Breckenridge is a great way to spend a day or a weekend.
Whether taking a tour with one of the many snowmobile guides in Breckenridge or heading out on your own with a snowmobile rental in Colorado, you can explore a ton of snowmobiling terrain in Breck.
You’ll find some of the best Breckenridge snowmobiling in the White River National Forest, which has tons of groomed snowmobile trails.
Georgia Pass Road, which is closed to all vehicles except snowmobiles from late November through early May, is one of the most popular snowmobiling trails in the area.
When you reach the summit of the pass, make sure to soak in the views of Mt. Guyot along with Breckenridge itself, Keystone, and Copper.
- Drive Time from Denver: 1.5-2 hours
The “snowmobiling capital of Colorado,” Grand Lake has over 300 miles of snowmobile trails, with at least 150 miles being groomed trails.
In fact, many of the streets in Grand Lake are left snow packed to allow snowmobiles to be used as transportation to dinner, shopping, and more! If you have to pick one place to go snowmobiling near Denver, Grand Lake should be it.
The western gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Lake receives an average of 185 inches of snow each year, which carpets the snowmobile trails with fresh powder.
As you motor around, you’ll see spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains all around you.
When Grand Lake freezes over, you can snowmobile across it, along with Lake Granby and Shadow Mountain Lake. Plus, there are a couple of miles of snowmobiling trails in Rocky Mountain National Park, and plenty of trails through Arapaho National Forest and Roosevelt National Forest.
Grand Lake Trail Groomers provides updated conditions on the trails so you can check the status before you head out.
- Drive Time from Denver: 2 hours
Other Places to Go Snowmobiling in Colorado
If you’re willing to head out a little farther from Denver and the Front Range, you’ll discover even more awesome opportunities to go snowmobiling in Colorado.
Rabbit Ears Pass (Steamboat)
So keep in mind that the East Summit of Rabbit Ears Pass is designated for snowmobiling, while the West Summit is designated for non-motorized recreation.
There are a few groomed snowmobiling routes to enjoy in the area. Rabbit Ears north to Buffalo Pass heads along the Continental Divide, with lots of off-trail areas to explore.
A great loop runs from Rabbit Ears to Grizzly Creek to Rabbit Ears East, or you can choose your own loop from 3 to 15 miles on the Steamboat Snowmobile Tours Loops.
To get away from the crowds, check out Latigo Loop, where you can take a nice break at Buffalo Park on the way to Latigo Lodge.
For more snowmobiling in Steamboat Springs, head northwest toward the town of Craig where you’ll find lots of treeless landscapes for snowmobiling when the snow is good.
- Drive Time from Denver: 2.5 hours
Down in Rio Grande County in southwestern Colorado, South Fork boasts at least 300 miles of groomed snowmobile trails, along with plenty of off-trail opportunities on ungroomed side trails and open parks.
Most of the trails are on Forest Service roads which are closed to all vehicles except snowmobiles during the winter. If you’re snowmobiling in Colorado, you definitely don’t want to miss South Fork!
The Powderbusters Snowmobile Club maintains most of the trails in South Fork, which range from easy to extreme – and you can often choose your own adventure!
If you’re an experienced snowmobiler, check out the Beaver Creek/Cross Creek trail which you can make it into an epic 23-mile loop. Beginners should head to Big Meadows, which has 13 miles of easy trails.
Snowmobile trails connect South Fork to Creede and Lake City as well, if you want to explore more of the area. There are over 200 miles of groomed trails in the Gunnison and Rio Grande National Forests.
- Drive Time from Denver: 4 hours
Kebler Pass near Crested Butte is an awesome place to head out on snowmobile trails. You can keep going to Lost Lake and over Ohio Pass for a longer adventure.
Heading to Gunnison, you’ll find lots of trails for snowmobiling winding through Hartman Rocks Recreation Area.
Also, check out Taylor Park for a great road network for snowmobiling. If you’re experienced, you can keep going to the Continental Divide and over Tin Cup, Cottonwood, and other passes.
- Drive Time from Denver: 4 hours
Located near Pagosa Springs, Wolf Creek is a fantastic area for snowmobiling in Colorado. Wolf Creek tends to receive tons of powder and features the beautiful landscape of the San Juan Mountains.
The Wolf Creek Trailblazers maintain the trails and support access to snowmobiling in the region.
Beyond Wolf Creek Pass, make sure to pay a visit to the trails to Black Head Peak and Eagle Mountain for more fun snowmobile adventures.
- Drive Time from Denver: 4.5 hours
Flat Tops (Meeker)
Make your way to Meeker for 178 miles of snowmobiling trails maintained by the White River Snowmobile Club.
100 miles of those trails are left ungroomed for extra adventure, while 78 miles are groomed. Yellow Jacket and Ripple Creek Pass are must-visits when you’re snowmobiling in Meeker.
But the real attraction here is the Flat Tops Wilderness. The plateaus of the Flat Tops offer amazing views, and the terrain of alpine tundra is a ton of fun.
Several trailheads access the Flat Tops, with five groomed trails and lots of other marked (but not groomed) trails to explore.
- Drive Time from Denver: 5 hours
Avalanche threats are very real throughout the winter in Colorado. Known as one of the most dangerous snowpacks in the country – avalanches kill snowmobilers every year.
If you’re headed out on your own, be sure to do your homework, research where you are going, and check local conditions frequently.
Take avalanche safety gear (shovel, probe, and beacon) and have an avalanche safety plan. If you don’t have any avalanche training, consider going on a guided tour instead.
Is Snowmobiling Popular in Colorado?
Due to the dangerous conditions and many wilderness regulations, snowmobiling is not that popular in Colorado and places like Winter Park.
There are several different areas where snowmobiling is allowed and (somewhat) safe for those in the know.
If you do want to go snowmobiling in Colorado and you’re not on a tour, it’s best to check local conditions and do your research.
Many of the trails in Colorado are not snowmobile friendly, and many closed roads travel through dangerous avalanche terrain.
Additional Local Colorado Travel Resources
Looking to get out in Colorado this winter? Be sure the check out these resources: