Normally when I think of Colorado in the wintertime, the first thoughts that come to mind are mountains and skiing. After visiting Winter Park and Grand County Colorado last week, thanks to a press trip which provided airfare, accommodations, meals, and activities, I found myself to be right – there are lots of mountains and there is a lot of skiing! On top of that anywhere you go in Colorado, everywhere you turn, there is an incredible view and so much beauty to take in!
After an exciting couple of days in this magnificent state, I was thrilled to discover that while Colorado has amazing opportunities to ski, there are also countless other adventures in Colorado that have nothing to do with skiing.
As a group we went to Grand County and our first stop was at On The Trail Rentals for our snowmobiling experience. At the lodge we had all sorts of gear available, including boots, snow suits, helmets and goggles. We went on a guided tour through approximately 30 miles worth of trail.
I had never been snowmobiling before, and it was awesome! It was a snowy day and there was a ton of snow on the trail. There were some amazing sites to take in and it would have been even more incredible if we had a little more sun out that morning. Regardless, going between 30-50 mph in fresh powder is an memorable experience and just a ton of fun!
Snowmobiling is a great activity to do as a family, you can partner up and ride a double or go by yourself. Kids will love the thrill and speed, while parents can be comfortable with having the assistance of a guide and driving a child with them in the same snowmobile. To finish your trip, the lodge is a very welcoming spot to wind-down and even enjoy some popcorn!
Everything in Colorado involves being outside, my next adventure for the non-skier (or someone just looking for something different) is snowshoeing. It feels pretty neat to walk on top of 3 feet of snow. You are able to enjoy the outdoors, check out the scenery & maybe see some animals, all while getting a pretty good workout.
Our tour was through the Rocky Mountain National Park and was guided by a park ranger. I highly recommend going with a ranger, the information was great and he was able to pick out animal tracks and more (including getting us back without getting lost!).
While on these tours there is a possibility of seeing some wildlife, including elk, coyotes, deer, snowshoe hares and more.
This is another fun family activity – kids will love being in the snow and maybe even take a quick break to play in the deep fluffy snow. There are many places to rent the snowshoes, and beginners should definitely get some poles to help out. Lastly, make sure you bring water, the altitude can get to you pretty quick, and it is a real workout.
After some outdoor activity in the snow, what is better than taking a quick break and letting someone else do the work! This is exactly what happened on our next stop, we let Spike and Charlie (the 2 beautiful horses above and below) pull us on a winter sleigh ride. We were able to relax and soak in the natural beauty of Grand Lake. The mountain views throughout the campground were incredible. We went on the sleigh ride at Winding River Resort, where there are a million things to do, including camping, horse riding, fishing, hiking, ATV’ing, snowmobiling and all sorts of extra family fun.
Who hasn’t imagined themselves in control of a group of dogs yelling “mush . . . mush!” At the Snow Mountain Ranch, you can bring that dream to reality. Go out with a group of huskies and ride a couple mile course though the meadows while taking in the beauty of the surrounding mountains. This also is an activity that the kids will love. The sledding dogs are so friendly and great to be around and this is a unique adventure that is a must to take in and enjoy.
Photo courtesy of Snow Mountain Ranch
#5 on my list…
Ws more of a fun one, it also can be a family activity and it once again involves the outdoors. This time however, you are sitting in a hot tub, enjoying the mountain views while the snow falls all around you. There is just something fun and exciting about experiencing the difference in temperatures. Sitting in the heat while the snow is coming down can be amazing anywhere, but once you add in the mountain views and the stars, I had to find a way to add hottubbin’ to the list!
There is much more to do in the Colorado winters than skiing, and all of these activities can be done as a family. For your next family getaway, consider all of the outdoor adventure that Colorado has to offer. I had a blast and can’t wait to get my family out there soon. Be sure to follow all the adventures in Colorado on Twitter, Instagram, & Yonder by following #ColoradoLive.
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