There’s nothing like snowshoeing in Colorado between our snow-capped peaks and serene forests. It’s one of the best ways to stay active and explore the mountains in the winter once there is enough fluffy snow covering the trails. You’ll find a wide range of outstanding snowshoe trails throughout the state, from easy-going, well-groomed trails to strenuous backcountry treks.
While you can snowshoe almost anywhere you’d typically take a hike, we’ve compiled our favorite trails to get you started. So bundle up, grab your snowshoes, and get out there!
1. Lost Lake via Hessie Trailhead near Nederland
The Lost Lake Trail is a Colorado snowshoeing classic for every season but is especially beautiful during the winter. It’s an easy, short drive from Denver and offers impressive views of the Eldora Ski Area and Indian Peaks Wilderness, making it a perfect day trip for snowshoeing! There are several great trails off of the Hessie Trailhead that are worth checking out, but Lost Lake is by far one of the best.
Distance: About 5 miles from the winter road closure
Elevation Gain: 923 feet
Tip: The road to the Hessie trailhead isn’t plowed during the winter, making parking limited and adding about 0.5 miles to your hike. Plan on arriving early or visiting during the week to get a parking spot close to the road closure and only park in designated parking spots.
2. Nymph Lake, Dream Lake, and Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
We couldn’t have a list of the most beautiful snowshoe trails in Colorado without including at least one inside Rocky Mountain National Park! RMNP has endless scenic trails that allow visitors to embark on a snowy journey surrounded by rugged mountains. Still, one of the most iconic is the short but spectacular hike that leads to three different alpine lakes and views of Hallett Peak in the distance. This trail is perfect for beginner snowshoers or family outings!
Distance: 3.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 846 feet
Tip: If you don’t have a national park pass, you will have to purchase a day pass to enter the park ($25 per vehicle). This is another area you’ll want to arrive early since the Bear Lake parking area serves a lot of different trails and fills up early, even in winter. Before leaving home, check for road closures. It’s not uncommon for this area to get feet of snow in a single snowstorm, resulting in limited or no access to the park!
3. Mayflower Gulch near Frisco
The Mayflower Gulch trail is a great family-friendly, beginner snowshoe trail that doesn’t skimp on the views! The trail is mellow, and you will be hiking primarily through a pine forest until you get to the gulch. That’s when the views really open up! Mayflower Gulch is surrounded on all sides by 13,000-foot peaks and is the location of an old mining town called the Boston townsite.
Distance: 3 miles
Elevation Gain: 750 feet
Tip: You don’t have to leave your dog at home on this trail! Mayflower Gulch is a dog-friendly trail; be mindful of other snowshoers if you bring your furry friend along.
4. Silver Dollar Lake near Georgetown
Silver Dollar Lake trail is known as one of the best snowshoeing trails on Guanella Pass. The last half of the hike is steep, but the reward is worth the effort! At the end of the trail, you’ll come upon two lakes – Naylor Lake and Silver Dollar Lake. Fill your tumbler with hot coffee or hot cocoa before setting off on this hike, Silver Dollar Lake is a great scenic spot to relax and take in epic backcountry views.
Distance: 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,150 feet
Tip: After you’ve worked up an appetite on your snowshoeing adventure, stop by Cabin Creek Brewing in Georgetown to refuel. The lakeside brewpub serves up scratch-made food and world-class craft beer. Everything you need after a long day on the trail!
5. Herman Gulch near Silver Plume
Herman Gulch is a popular wildflower hike in the summer and equally popular with backcountry skiers and snowshoers in the winter. The trail offers sweeping views of snow-capped Mount Sniktau and Pettingell Peak and weaves in and out of the forest before ending at Herman Lake. The trail is rated moderate to difficult and is an excellent choice for those looking to really challenge themselves!
Distance: 7.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,760 feet
Tip: This is a popular trail for backcountry skiers and snowshoers. Dogs are allowed on the trail. Be sure to share the trail and practice good snowshoeing etiquette by not snowshoeing on ski tracks.
Hopefully, this list of Colorado snowshoeing trails inspires you to get out and explore this winter or give it a try for the first time! Winter hiking is a lot different than summer hiking, you’ll need to be extra prepared. Read our 10 Tips for Your Winter Adventures or 6 Winter Hike Essentials blog for more helpful tips to get you ready. You’ll learn what to bring hiking, what to wear, altitude sickness, trail etiquette, and much more.
The featured image was taken by local photographer Alyssa Teboda at Rocky Mountain National Park.