Snowshoeing, long a popular winter sport in Grand County Colorado is continuing to grow. It is the perfect way to discover the joys and wonders of the winter backcountry. And if your idea of a winter sport doesn’t involve crowds or mechanized equipment, you’ve come to the right place! During the winter our extensive hiking and biking trail system becomes a snowshoer’s paradise. Rent some state-of-the-art equipment, or bring your “old faithfuls” to enjoy miles and miles of pristine solitude and dazzling scenery.
Guided snowshoe tours are available throughout the winter at all of the county’s resorts.
Winter Park Resort
This relaxing walk through the backcountry is perfect for non-skiers and first time snowshoers. The tour route travels off-the-beaten-path along wildlife game trails and summer mountain biking trails. Learn more about native plants and animals and enjoy the peaceful quiet of the forest. Tours include use of Redfeather snowshoes, poles, a one-time lift pass and a knowledgeable tour guide to lead your way.
For reservations and information, call 970-726-1616.
Devil’s Thumb Ranch
Snuggled in Ranch Creek Valley between the towns of Fraser and Tabernash, against a mountain ridge topped by a spire of rock that is the ranch’s namesake, Devil’s Thumb Ranch offers spectacular trails for snowshoeing enthusiasts. A perfect outing for those who prefer a low-key wintertime experience.
Call 970-726-5632 or 800-933-4339
At Granby Ranch, snowshoers can find one of the best bargains in the area. Some 40 km of uncrowded, groomed trails wind through the forest bordering their two alpine ski hills, and those who climb to the top are rewarded with unsurpassed views of the Continental Divide and the Indian Peaks.
Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center
Located just outside Granby at the YMCA of the Rockies, Snow Mountain Ranch has 100 km of groomed tracks and trails for nordic skiers and snowshoers meandering through pine forest, wide meadows, and along Pole Creek — and if the climb to the top of some of the more advanced trails doesn’t take your breath away, the 360-degree views will!
Rocky Mountain National Park
On Sundays between December 11, 2005 through March 12, 2006, snowshoe tours are offered leaving from the Kawuneeche Visitor Center. Please bring your own snowshoes and ski poles with large baskets. Children under 8 years of age are not allowed on this activity.
The tours are as follows:
- 9:00 a.m. – Take an intermediate level 2-hour snowshoe tour with a ranger. This is a more rigorous tour with altitude gains of up to 500′.
- 1:00 p.m. – Join a beginner tour with a ranger.
Due to snowshoeing’s popularity, reservations are required for each of the two snowshoe tours above and may be made no sooner than seven days in advance. There is no charge for the program, but a park pass is required.
Call (970) 627-3471 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Beyond the commercial snowshoe centers, true aficionados of backcountry snowshoeing know that 70% of the county’s area is public open lands, including Rocky Mountain National Park, Arapaho National Forest, Medicine Bow/Routt National Forest, and the Vasquez Peak, Byers Peak, Never Summer and Indian Peaks wilderness areas. The various nordic centers, local retail shops, and ski clubs are staffed with experienced snowshoers who can provide valuable information about permits and accessing these remote areas.
Highly recommended is a book written by Grand County residents Deborah Carr and Lou Ladrigan, called “Backcountry Skiing and Snowshoeing in Grand County, Colorado”. This new book has 42 tours, containing detailed maps with elevation profiles and gains plus actual distances. Each tour is described by a detailed narrative, explaining the trailhead location, trail route, various markers and points of interest, along with data for using GPS receivers. Each tour also has a level of difficulty designation, based on elevation gain, and an estimated time of travel.
The book has 156 pages and can be purchased at numerous local businesses or online at Amazon.com.