Explore Rocky Mountain National Park During the Winter

Subscribe RSS Icon | What is RSS
Date: January 3, 2007
Contact: Kyle Patterson, 970-586-1363

For many visitors, winter is their favorite season to enjoy Rocky Mountain National Park. The park is less visited but still very much open and alive with activity. Beautiful backcountry areas can be reached on snowshoes, skis, and at lower elevations - even with hiking boots! Elk, coyotes, deer, snowshoe hares, and other wildlife remain active through the winter. Their story is told by the tracks left in the snow. For those visitors who are prepared, winter is an enchanting time to explore the park.        

Snowshoeing and skiing are fun ways to experience the backcountry of Rocky Mountain National Park. This winter, join a park ranger on a snowshoeing excursion!

Rocky Mountain National Park offers ranger-led snowshoe walks for beginner level snowshoers every winter weekend through March 31 on the east side, and for beginner and intermediate level snowshoers through March 11 on the west side of the park. Snowshoeing is easy to learn and opens up a new way to see the beauty of nature during its quietest season. No additional fees are charged to participate in these walks. 

For beginners, the snowshoe program is a two-hour program that explores the natural world of the subalpine forest. No previous snowshoe experience is required.  This walk is held on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays at 12:30 p.m. through March 31 on the east side of the park. The two-hour beginner snowshoe program on the west side is held on Sundays at 1:00 p.m. through March 11.

For more experienced snowshoers, a two-hour snowshoe walk is offered on Saturdays at 1:00 p.m. through March 10 on the west side of the park. Previous snowshoeing experience is required, because of the elevation gain, mileage and terrain covered in this program.

Ranger-led cross country ski tours are offered on the west side of the park on Saturdays at 9:00 a.m. through February 24.  Participants ski a snow-draped landscape and learn about the Kawuneeche Valley. 

All snowshoe walks require reservations. Reservations can be made in advance, seven days or less prior to the desired walk. Participants must furnish their own equipment, including poles with baskets, and be at least 8 years old. To make reservations for east side snowshoe walks, call the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center at (970) 586-1223 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. daily. To make reservations for west side snowshoe walks call the Kawuneeche Visitor Center at (970) 627-3471 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. daily. Reservations are not required for ski trips on the west side. 

Frontcountry and backcountry camping takes place in the winter too! Longs Peak Campground and designated sections of Moraine Park and Timber Creek Campgrounds are open all winter; however, water is not available at the campgrounds. Permits are required for all backcountry camping and allowed in designated areas only. 

Sledding activities can be enjoyed in Rocky Mountain National Park in the Hidden Valley area. Beginning last winter, sledding was no longer allowed at Bear Lake. Hidden Valley slopes have been contoured to enhance the safety of sledding and other snowplay activities. Facilities at Hidden Valley include a warming hut and heated restrooms. This area is also a good base location for visitors interested in backcountry skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing in the undeveloped areas in and around Hidden Valley. Whenever visiting Rocky Mountain National Park to snowshoe, ski or hike, stop by a visitor center or call (970) 586-1206 for current trail, road, snow and avalanche conditions. Come enjoy Rocky Mountain National Park in the winter!

Last updated: February 24, 2015

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

1000 US Hwy 36
Estes Park, CO 80517


970 586-1206
The Information Office is open year-round: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. daily in summer; 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Mondays - Fridays and 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Saturdays - Sundays in winter. Recorded Trail Ridge Road status: (970) 586-1222.

Contact Us