Winter Park is known as a great ski resort just a short drive from Denver, but there are also so many other things to do in Winter Park, Colorado.
Mountain biking is definitely the draw when it’s not snow season, but you’ll find so many fun things to do in Winter Park indoors and out all year round.
I’ve lived in Colorado for almost 15 years, and I’ve visited Winter Park several times. Winter Park is one of the lovely little mountain towns in Colorado and is only about an hour from where I live now, so I love to head over and explore whenever I get the chance.
If you’re looking to travel like a local, not a tourist, and discover all the coolest things to do in Winter Park then you’re in the right spot.
About this Guide to Winter Park Colorado
Inside this local guide to awesome Winter Park, Colorado activities, you’ll find:
- A map of Winter Park
- The local’s tips on the best times to visit
- Things to do in Winter Park, Colorado, organized by season
- Additional local Colorado travel resources
Where is Winter Park?
Winter Park is located off US-40 just beyond Berthoud Pass. It’s just under an hour and a half from Denver along I-70 most of the way, but you will turn off before Georgetown and avoid some of the terrible ski traffic I-70 is infamous for.
You can also check out the map below or click here to see how to get from Denver to Winter Park, Colorado.
Local Tip: A seasonal Amtrak train, the Winter Park Express, runs seasonally January-March from Union Station in Denver directly to Winter Park Resort.
The Best Time to Visit Winter Park Colorado
Despite the name, Winter Park is not just a winter destination! You’ll find plenty of things to do in Winter Park, Colorado all year long, but obviously, some seasons are better than others for certain activities.
If skiing or snowboarding is your thing, then winter is actually the best time to visit Winter Park, Colorado and hit the slopes at the resort. You can also explore the winter wonderland of Winter Park on the many great snowshoeing trails.
Once the snow melts in spring and summer, you can hit the hiking trails and break out the tent for some camping. These seasons are also great for water activities in Winter Park, Colorado including fishing.
What is Winter Park Colorado Known For?
Out of all the things to do in Winter Park, Colorado, the area is most known for skiing and snowboarding. Winter Park Resort is a destination for snow seekers from Denver and beyond, featuring over 3,000 skiable acres.
Plus, the resort offers snow tubing, snowshoeing, ski biking, snowcat tours, aprés ski, and so much more.
When the snow melts, Winter Park Resort transforms into a mecca for mountain biking at Trestle Bike Park. And the 600 miles of trails in Winter Park and nearby Fraser have earned Winter Park the name “Mountain Bike Capital USA.”
Is Copper Mountain or Winter Park Better?
Copper Mountain and Winter Park are both ski resorts near Denver, so how do you decide which one to visit? Winter Park is known for having better snow, so if you’re looking for more pow days, it’s the place to go.
Winter Park also has two distinct mountains, Winter Park and Mary Jane, and the tree skiing at Mary Jane is some of the best around.
The Best Things to Do in Winter Park Colorado
Whether you want to get outside, go shopping, or visit a brewery (or all of the above), you’ll have a blast with all these Winter Park, Colorado activities.
1. Explore the Trails
One of the best Winter Park summer activities is hiking – and the trails are great in spring and fall, too. Here are a few of the top hiking trails in Winter Park:
- Flume Loop – Follow St. Louis Creek on this 5-mile loop through aspens groves and pine forests. This fairly flat trail offers excellent views of Byers Peak.
- Columbine Lake – Check out this gorgeous alpine lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness on a hike of about 6 miles round trip along Meadow Creek.
- Devil’s Thumb – For a challenging climb, head up to see this rock formation on top of the Continental Divide. The hike is 7.5 miles round trip with about 2,275 feet of elevation gain.
Local Tip: Trail Ridge Road is closed in the winter beyond the Colorado River Trailhead on the west side of RMNP.
Time: A few hours to entire day
Cost: Free to $30 (RMNP entrance fee)
2. Drop-In at Trestle Bike Park
At the top of the list of most popular things to do in Winter Park, Colorado is mountain biking, and Trestle Bike Park is THE place to shred the gnar on the downhill.
Trestle has a full range of runs for various ability levels, from mellow beginner trails all the way up to the Pro Line Banana Peel that requires a special pass.
Time: Half-day to full day
Cost: $69-84 for a lift ticket
3. Take a Scenic Drive
Winter Park is a convenient place to start or stop for many great scenic drives near Denver. Corona Pass is a super scenic 15-mile drive on a dirt road to the top of the Continental Divide.
You’ll need 4WD to get to the top, but you’ll be rewarded with amazing views. Willow Creek Pass is another awesome scenic drive on a paved road through a forest of lodgepole pine and spruce, which offers views of Rocky Mountain National Park.
Speaking of RMNP, driving along the scenic viewpoints of Trail Ridge Road is also a great way to spend one day in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Local Tip: Some of these roads close seasonally due to hazardous winter conditions. Corona Pass is typically closed from October 1 to early June, and Trail Ridge Road is usually closed from mid-October until around Memorial Day.
Time: Half-day to full day
Cost: Free (except for the National Park entrance fee for Trail Ridge Road)
4. See the Trains at Moffat Tunnel
The historic Moffat Tunnel, which was completed in 1928, links Denver to the west through the Continental Divide.
The West Portal on the Winter Park side is a great place to watch the trains come in from Denver and tends to be especially fun for kids and families.
Time: 1-2 hours
5. Cast a Line Fly Fishing
If you’re an angler, the Winter Park area and Grand County has plenty of places to cast a line and reel in a catch.
From the Colorado River to the Fraser River to the high alpine lakes to creeks and fishing ponds, you can find plentiful brown trout, cutthroat trout, brook trout, and rainbow trout.
Time: Half-day to full day
Cost: $36.71 for CO Resident Fishing License ($102.40 for Non-Residents)
6. Soar in a Hot Air Balloon
Get a new perspective of the Colorado mountains and one of the prettiest places in Colorado from above when you fly over Winter Park in a hot air balloon!
Grand Adventures will take you on an unforgettable aerial adventure with unique views of the Continental Divide and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Time: 1-2 hours
Cost: $350 per person
7. Head Back in Time at Cozens Ranch Museum
Located along the Fraser River, the Cozens Ranch Museum marks the site of the first stage stop in the Fraser Valley back in the late 1800s.
Built in 1876, the ranch was a refuge for pioneers journeying over Berthoud Pass. Now you can take a peek at pioneer history in the only museum in the Winter Park-Fraser Valley region.
Time: 1-2 hours
8. Shop Local Goods
When you’re ready to shop ‘til you drop, you have a few options in Winter Park. Cooper Creek Square in downtown Winter Park is full of boutique shops offering clothes, art, outdoor gear, and much more.
The Village at Winter Park is really the place to be for all your outdoor gear needs. Just a couple miles away, the town of Fraser offers thrift shopping as well as an art gallery.
9. Go Brewery Hopping
- Noble Buck Brewing – Formerly known as The Peak, Noble Buck is much more than just a brewery. It’s a full-service gastro brewery featuring a classic menu with a twist to go with its 12 beers on tap (plus a bar for cocktails).
- Big Trout Brewing – With a fun tap list and a tasty pub grub menu, Big Trout Brewery is the perfect place to grab a bite and a pint in Winter Park.
- Hideaway Park Brewery – If you just want beer, head to Hideaway Park, named after the original settlement in the Winter Park area. Enjoy sampling a constantly rotating tap menu in a place where “there’s sure to be someone to bullshit with over a pint.”
The Best Things to Do in Winter Park Colorado in Winter
With a name like that, Winter Park is obviously a wonderful winter destination. Even if you don’t ski, you’ll find plenty of fun things to do in Winter Park during winter.
10. Hit the Slopes
Of course, the top things to do in Winter Park during winter are skiing and snowboarding, and the place to do that is Winter Park Resort.
Winter Park receives over 344 inches of snow each winter, and you can enjoy all that pow on two distinct mountains, Winter Park and Mary Jane. Combined, they have 166 trails and 1,212 acres of off-piste terrain served by 23 lifts.
Time: Full day
Cost: $163-249 for lift tickets
11. Slide on a Snow Tube
If skiing and snowboarding aren’t your thing, head to the Coca-Cola Tube Hill at Winter Park Resort instead. With multiple lanes and exciting curves, snow tubing is a blast for all ages.
And check out Cosmic Tubing on Thurs, Fri, & Sat nights when neon lights make the hill glow.
Local Tip: Tickets are for hourly time slots, and they can sell out. Buy advance online if you can, since in-person ticket availability is not guaranteed.
Time: 1 hour
Cost: $34-39/hour per person
12. Raise a Glass to Mountaintop Aprés
For a unique nightlife environment, take the gondola (for free!) from 4 pm – 7 pm on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and toast on top of the mountain!
The Mountaintop Aprés features spiced wine, beer, and a few bar snacks along with nightly live music.
Time: 2-3 hours
Cost: Free gondola ride, food & drink varies
13. Go Snowshoeing
You can still hit the trails in the winter on your snowshoes. Winter Park Resort offers snowshoe rentals and guided tours, or you can head out and explore other trails in the area including Little Vasquez Creek Trail, James Peak Trail, and Granby Ranch.
Time: A few hours
Local Tip: If you have time you can also try snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park.
14. Glide on Ice Skates
The Village Pond at Winter Park Resort is a beautiful place to lace up your skates and glide around the ice rink with a backdrop of stunning mountain peaks.
Add to the ambiance on Thursday through Saturday nights with Cosmic Ice Skating.
Time: 1-2 hours
Cost: Free admission ($19 skate rental)
15. Motor Around on a Snowmobile
Grand Adventures offers guided snowmobile tours, including some of the best snowmobiling in Colorado up to the top of the Continental Divide. They also provide snowmobile rentals so you can get out on your own.
Time: A few hours to a full day
How Long Should I Spend in Winter Park?
Since it’s a pretty quick drive to Winter Park from Denver, a weekend is the perfect amount of time to ski, bike, hike, or explore all the things to do in Winter Park, Colorado.
You could even make it a day trip on a weekday to avoid the typically terrible weekend ski traffic on I-70.
Additional Local Colorado Travel Resources
Ready to see the Centennial State like a local, not a tourist? I’ve got you covered with these incredible resources: