Last Updated on February 12, 2021
If you’re looking for some of the best winter getaways in the United States, Colorado is the place to go. While I definitely prefer sunny winter destinations, the snowy appeal of Colorado is growing on me. With the breathtaking Rocky Mountains, the tempting warm hot springs, and the beautiful snowfall, who wouldn’t want to visit this winter wonderland?
Many of the best winter getaways in Colorado revolve around nature. Ski down the slopes of Aspen or hike up the trails of Rocky Mountain National Park. But, don’t worry! There are tons of places for you to warm up from your chilly outdoor adventures with crackling fires and mugs of hot chocolate.
Bottom line: If you’re looking for the best winter getaways in Colorado, this guide has you covered!
18 Best Winter Getaways in Colorado
Below you’ll find some of the coolest and best winter getaways in Colorado. It’s no secret that Colorado is home to some of the best scenery in the country. You’re guaranteed a postcard-worthy experience!
Aspen is well-known as one of the best winter getaways in Colorado, thanks to its unparalleled skiing spots.
There are actually four distinct ski areas at Aspen Snowmass, each with its own unique vibe. Tackle the classic Aspen Mountain, the legendary Aspen Highlands, the beginners’ Buttermilk, or the extensive Snowmass. If you have enough time, be sure to check them all out. But fair warning, that’s over 5,000 acres of snow-covered land to explore.
While skiing is the main reason people visit Aspen, there are things to do for non-skiers as well. You can take a snowmobile tour, visit the Aspen Art Museum, and even try climbing a frozen waterfall (officially known as “ice climbing”).
Like Aspen, Avon is known for its prime skiing locations. Copper Mountain Resort, Beaver Creek Resort, and Vail Mountain are all fantastic ski spots.
If skiing isn’t your winter activity of choice, Avon also has places for snowboarding, ice skating, dog sledding, snow tubing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and sleigh rides. Whatever winter activity you have in mind, you can do it in Avon.
Avon is also just a fifteen-minute drive from Vail, another one of the state’s premier skiing destinations. In other words, you can easily visit two of the best winter getaways in Colorado.
How could I write this post and leave out Denver? I know I’m not the only person who’s not super thrilled about skiing. If you’re like me, Denver is the perfect spot for you – especially for a weekend getaway.
Denver is bustling with so many fun things to do and it has become a popular spot for bachelor and bachelorette parties. A lot of my friends who visit actually end up moving there because they love it that much!
You can enjoy one of the many beautiful parks, hop from brewery to brewery and sample craft beers, enjoy a lovely dinner in Larimer Square, spend the afternoon at the Denver Botanic Gardens, and check out some art galleries and studios. Don’t forget to take a road trip through the Rocky Mountains!
Telluride is undoubtedly one of the best winter towns in Colorado. Known primarily for its skiing and snowboarding slopes, Telluride gives Avon and Aspen a run for their money.
While you can certainly take part in the typical winter activities, Telluride also offers some extra thrilling adventures. Rather than staying on the marked slopes, you can test your skills while backcountry skiing. Or, if you’d prefer to give your skis a break, trade them for ice picks and try ice climbing. You could even tackle the most adrenaline-pumping option of all: helicopter skiing.
In addition to all of the fantastic winter activities, the town of Telluride is fun and unique. It seamlessly blends the charming historic buildings with the modern establishments inside of them, including contemporary restaurants and trendy shops. So after a day in the snow, you know you can come back for an amazing night on the town.
5. Steamboat Springs
Most of the Colorado winter getaways so far on this list have you in the cold outdoors for hours on end. And while that’s fine if you’re doing something exciting like skiing or sledding, sometimes you just want to be warm and toasty. Steamboat Springs, often simply called Steamboat, is the perfect option for that.
While you certainly can glide down the slopes of the Steamboat Ski Resort, you can also stay nice and warm at Strawberry Park Hot Springs. This hot spring boasts five natural stone pools, which range from a warm 107 degrees Fahrenheit to a pool perfect for a polar plunge. If you’re tempted to spend an entire day at Strawberry Park Hot Springs, do know that it becomes clothing optional after dark.
Ouray is known as the Switzerland of America. I agree with this statement – it really does look like Switzerland!
One of the most popular winter attractions here is the Ouray Ice Park. It’s a man-made ice climbing park and this is the place to go if you want to perfect your ice climbing skills. If you don’t have prior experience of ice climbing and want to learn how it’s done, you can hire a guide.
You’ll be able to have your ski fix here as well. Nestled in the San Juan Mountains, Ouray has plenty of skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling activities.
After a long day on the slopes, take a relaxing dip in the Ouray Hot Springs. The hot springs are natural and sulfur-free. You can even stay in one of the lodges on-site.
Vail is the idyllic Colorado winter town. Actually, it’s a gorgeous place to visit all year round. It’s especially gorgeous during fall because of the stunning foliage.
It’s a small town nestled at the base of Vail Mountain and it’s home to the infamous Vail Ski Resort. Vail gives me major Austria vibes. It’s the perfect place in Colorado if you love skiing and other winter sports. There are almost 5300 acres of skiable terrain and it offers something for every skill level.
You don’t have to enjoy skiing in order to enjoy this beautiful mountain destination though! Vail offers world-class shopping for high-end jewelry, perfumes, and more. While your friends or family are on the slopes, you can relax at one of the many spas. Be sure to enjoy the European architecture in the town itself. There are several art galleries, fountains, statues, and live entertainment. Don’t forget to grab a hot cocoa when you’re exploring the town so you can stay warm!
Boulder has secured a spot on the list of best winter getaways in Colorado and for good reason. If you’re a nature lover, Boulder is the place for you! It sits at the base of the Rocky Mountains and there is something to do here for everyone. It’s quirky and wonderful all at the same time.
Pearl Street is the heart of Boulder and it’s filled with shops, eateries, music, street performers, and more. The views of the mountains are gorgeous from here. If you’re a foodie, you’ll have an amazing selection of restaurants and bars here.
The Flatirons are an iconic sight in Boulder. They’re rock formations that stand alongside the equally fascinating Green Mountain. If you’re feeling brave, you can try out rock climbing. If not, there are other rather peaceful experiences such as hiking. The meadows around here are simply stunning.
Chautauqua Park is located at the foothills of the Flatirons and is worth a visit as well. It has sweeping meadows, playgrounds, and hiking trails. Pack up a picnic basket and enjoy the afternoon here.
You can also catch a show at the Boulder Theater, spend a few hours at Fiske Planetarium, go on a local brewery tour, and visit the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse.
9. Crested Butte
Crested Butte is one of the funkiest winter getaways in Colorado – and I mean that in the best way possible. While you can certainly get your fair share of skiing in, there are quite a few other quirky and exciting things to do in this Colorado town.
If you’re looking to get your adrenaline pumping, consider taking a winter ziplining tour while surrounded by snowy mountain peaks. If you’re looking for a day of downtime, take a stroll through the arts district and historic district of Elk Avenue. Or if you’d prefer to watch instead of taking part in the thrilling adventures, spend a few hours watching the Borealis Fat Bike World Championship.
Located approximately 28 miles away from Crested Butte, Gunnison is another great Colorado getaway. Locals refer to it as “Gunny” and it’s in the heart of the Rockies. It’s a little remote, but it’s well worth the visit. It has a John Wayne Western movie vibe.
Gunnison was founded in 1853 when a railroad route was being searched for from Mississippi to the Pacific. Gunnison was the biggest city in the area by 1880. Then, the town turned into a shipping and supply center. After that, ranching took over. Hence, the Western vibe.
Today, the downtown area has shops, restaurants, bars, and unique breweries. This area of Colorado promises fishing, mountain biking, and hiking.
An absolute must near Gunnison is the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Not very many tourists visit it and it’s truly a hidden gem. You’ll get an epic view of the Gunnison River when you peer 2000 feet below the edge of the canyon!
11. Estes Park
Estes Park is one of the few places on this list of the best winter getaways in Colorado that doesn’t revolve around skiing. Now don’t get us wrong – you can still do some backcountry skiing – but that’s not one of the main highlights of winter in Estes Park.
Instead, one of the most popular things to do in Estes Park in the winter is snowshoeing! The hiking trails turn into wonderful snowshoeing paths once the weather gets a bit colder. Chasm Falls, Deer Mountain, and Emerald Lakes are just a few of the best snowshoeing paths in town.
But rivaling snowshoeing for the most popular winter activity is sledding. Estes Park’s Hidden Valley is one of the most popular sledding spots in the state, so you should definitely experience it. Rent or bring your own sled to slide down the powder-dusted mountain.
As a surprising added bonus, Estes Park is also home to the Stanley Hotel, which you likely know as the hotel from Steven King’s The Shining.
12. Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the coolest national parks in the country – and it also happens to be one of the best winter getaways in Colorado.
While Rocky Mountain National Park is amazing at all times of the year, it exudes a special kind of beauty in the winter. While there, you can try ice fishing at one of the many lakes, strap on your snowshoes and tackle one of the Rocky Mountain National Park trails, keep an eye out for elk and moose, and feel like a kid again as you sled down Hidden Valley.
It is important to note that part of Rocky Mountain National Park is closed in the winter for safety reasons. Be sure to check if the activities you’d like to do are open before you go!
If you’re looking for one of the best winter getaways in Colorado both in terms of excitement and the balance in your bank account, Silverthorne may be exactly what you’re looking for.
There are quite a few ski slopes within a short drive from Silverthorne, but the most noteworthy is The Raven Golf Club at Three Peaks. This property doesn’t charge you to use its beautiful ski slopes, which will save you quite a bit of cash.
And don’t worry! Silverthorne has activities for non-skiers too. Tackle gorgeous trails while snowshoeing, hop on board a racing snowmobile, and take part in one of the exciting First Friday events each month.
14. Idaho Springs
The little town of Idaho Springs is the perfect winter weekend getaway from Denver. Just over 30 miles outside of Colorado’s capital city, Idaho Springs is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of Denver and instead enjoy the beauty of nature.
There is such a wide variety of outdoorsy things to do in Idaho Springs that there is something for everyone. Ski at Loveland, warm up at the Indian Hot Springs, go tubing down Echo Mountain, or snowshoe around St. Mary’s Glacier. Which of these fun activities will you choose to enjoy?
15. Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs is one of the best winter getaways in Colorado and for good reason. If you’re after adventure, you’ll definitely find it here. Trust me – there’s no shortage of it here. Even if you’re not adventurous, you’ll still enjoy Colorado Springs. You’ll find it difficult to be bored in this city.
Garden of the Gods is an absolute must on your Colorado Springs bucket list. This iconic park is known for its sandstone pillars and epic views of Pikes Peak which towers over the city at 14,115 feet. You’ll get to learn all about the unique geology of the area and what causes these incredible formations.
Then, make your way over to Red Rock Canyon Open Space. The name is exactly what it suggests. It’s an open park that has been turned into a rural recreation zone. It consists of 1500 acres and is perfect for hiking and biking. The best part is that admission to the park is free.
One of the best winter adventures in Colorado Springs is to check out the Broadmoor Seven Falls. There are seven cascading waterfalls and they become frozen in the winter. It’s quite a spectacular sight.
Durango deserves to be on this list for two reasons: its winter activities and its holiday activities.
For winter activities, Durango has just about everything you could want from a snowy vacation destination. Ski at Purgatory Resort, work on your ice climbing skills at Cascade Canyon, do a little cross-country skiing at Mesa Verde National Park, and even take a magical sleigh ride through the gorgeous Colorado landscape.
As for holiday activities, Durango is one of the coolest Christmas destinations in the entire country! The main highlight is the train based on The Polar Express. After you hop aboard, you can sip hot chocolate and sing carols at the top of your lungs as you make your way to pick up Santa Claus from the North Pole!
One of the absolute best winter getaways in Colorado is Breckenridge. This town is magical all year round and it’s brimming with things to do during winter. The winter festival scene here is quite strong!
It’s a winter wonderland and Main Street feels like a Hallmark Christmas movie. You’ll feel like you’re in a snow globe. You can spend your snowy mornings getting a delicious cup of coffee and breakfast from a charming cafe on Main Street. Main Street has an amazing food scene too. Downtown Breckenridge is also home to several boutiques and galleries.
For the ski lovers out there, you’re in for a real treat. The skiing here is world-class with over 2500 acres of ski terrain. It’s suitable for every skill level as well.
18. Winter Park
Nearly all of the fun winter activities in Winter Park, Colorado revolve around Winter Park Resort. And since Winter Park Resort has been voted the #1 ski resort in North America by USA Today readers, you know you’ll have a fantastic time.
While in Winter Park, ski, snowshoe, snowmobile, tube, and ice skate to your heart’s content. And the fun doesn’t end just because the sun has set. You can also take a twilight snowshoe tour or experience what it’s like to ride a snowcat on a scenic after-dark snowcat tour.
Do you have any destinations to add to this list of the best winter getaways in Colorado? Let me know in the comments below!
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