General Information about Ranger-Led Snowshoe Walks
PLEASE READ before booking a Snowshoe Program reservation.
- Programs take place on both the east and west side of the park. Please note that Trail Ridge Road is closed in winter, and it takes approximately 3.5 hours to drive from one side to the other.
- Ranger-led snowshoe walks are considered to be "moderately strenuous", but are open to all skill levels, including beginners. Programs are open to participants eight years of age and older; children in carriers are not allowed due to safety concerns.
- Ranger-led snowshoe programs don’t follow a trail. The exact route can vary with snow and weather conditions. We need at least 8-10 inches of base snow to safely and effectively use snowshoes. Due to this, the season for offering ranger-led snowshoe programs may start late or end early, depending on snow levels.
- Please plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early to the program. Since the snowshoe walks do not follow a distinct route or visible trail, we are not able to accommodate late-comers.
- These programs take place at 8,700 - 9,700 feet of elevation and may not be suitable for individuals sensitive to high elevations.
- Appropriate clothing is essential; this includes hiking boots or snow boots, layered clothing, and water/wind resistant outer layers, hats, and gloves. Sunscreen and sunglasses are recommended. Some participants prefer to use trekking poles, but please note that they are not provided. Water resistant hiking boots or snow boots are required. Due to safety concerns (hypothermia and frost bite), participants wearing tennis/gym shoes will not be allowed to participate in the guided snowshoe walk.
- Snowshoe walks last approximately 1-2 hours. Participants must have a baseline fitness level that allows them to snowshoe approximately one mile over hilly terrain at high elevation. One mile of snowshoeing is more strenuous than a typical hike in the park. You may consider this activity level equal to hiking at least two miles on a summer trail, jogging one mile, or biking three miles. Programs take place at higher elevations, and may not be suitable for people sensistive to altitude.
- All snowshoe programs are conducted by National Park Service rangers, interns, and/or volunteers.
- Snowshoes can be rented in nearby towns of Grand Lake or Estes Park. There are no snowshoe or winter equipment rentals available within park boundaries. (For West Side programs, snowshoes are provided.)
- Snowshoe programs may be cancelled at the last minute due to poor weather or snow conditions. If programs are cancelled, we will contact participants on the reservation list.
- Organized groups larger than 10 may request a ranger-led snowshoe walk outside of public programs. Requests are accommodated based on staff availability. To request a program, please call 970-586-1223 (East Side/Estes Park) or 970-586-1513 (West Side/Grand Lake).
PLEASE NOTE: It is the responsibility of the group leader (person making the reservation) to disseminate information and ensure that their family/friend group arrives prepared for the snowshoe hike, so that the entire ranger-led group may have a safe and enjoyable experience.
Reservations are REQUIRED for Ranger-Led Snowshoe Walks
- Free reservations are required for all ranger-led snowshoe programs inside Rocky Mountain National Park.
- Space is limited to a total of 20 people per program - for both sides of the park.
- Due to limited space, a maximum of 6 members of the same group may sign up for a reservation.
- Snowshoe walks often fill, especially if the day is forecast to be warm and sunny. We strongly recommend reserving a spot early.
- Once reservations are full, a waiting list will be started. Please call if you need to cancel. Once a cancellation is received, we will contact the next person on the waiting list.
- It is the responsibility of the group leader (person making the reservation) to disseminate safety information to their entire group, including information about snowshoe walks being moderately strenuous and being prepared with appropriate winter clothing.
- All ranger-led snowshoe walks are by reservation! Please do not show up at the trailhead the day of the program without a reservation.
EAST SIDE (Estes Park) Program Information:
Call 970-586-1223 to reserve a spot for an East Side (Estes Park) snowshoe walk. Reservations are taken 7 days in advance of the scheduled program, in the order they are received.
East Side programs are offered January 9 - March 28, 2024, and occur every Tuesday and Thursday at 12:30 pm. Program location will be provided once reservations are made.
Snowshoes are NOT provided for East Side programs. Participants must bring their own snowshoes or rent snowshoes prior to arriving. Snowshoes can be rented in the town of Estes Park.
East Side (Estes Park) snowshoe programs take place at 9,400 - 9,700 feet of elevation.
WEST SIDE (Grand Lake ) Program Information:
Call 970-586-1513 to reserve a spot for a West Side (Grand Lake) snowshoe walk. Reservations are taken on the Wednesday before the scheduled program, in the order they are received.
West Side programs are offered January 6 - March 17, 2024, and occur every Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 pm. Program location will be provided once reservations are made.
Snowshoes ARE provided for West Side programs but must be turned in after the program. Snowshoes can be rented in the town of Grand Lake for visitors wanting to snowshoe on their own.
West Side (Grand Lake) snowshoe programs take place at 8,700 -9,300 feet of elevation.
**The West Side is offering limited Ranger-led Nordic (Cross-Country) Ski programs in February of 2024. Please go to our Ranger-Led Programs page for more information.