Here in Colorado, the winter season is a time to enjoy the outdoors. With powdery snow and sunny winter days, there is isn’t a better way to embrace the chilly season than on a cross-country ski trail. There are a variety of places to go cross-country skiing in Colorado with trails in every national park and national forest. However, the trails on this list are perfect for all skill levels. So, embrace the state’s beautiful winter season with the 10 best cross-country skiing trails in Colorado.
Crested Butte is known as the Nordic Ski Capital of Colorado. Therefore, this list starts out with the rolling terrain found at Crested Butte Nordic Center. This center, founded in 1987, has more than 34 miles of groomed trails perfect for any skill level. Private lessons and tours are even offered as well as both ski and snowshoe rental packages. Do be aware that trail passes are required to ski in this Nordic center.
Located in the popular ski town of Breckenridge, fresh powder can always be found at Breckenridge Nordic Center in White River National Forest. Since this center gets plenty of snow and even has snow-making capabilities, the trails here during the winter will always be nicely groomed. Enjoy both guided cross-country ski and snowshoe tours. There are over 32 kilometers of Nordic ski trails with varying terrain here.
Aspen Snowmass Nordic Trail System is a great option for those seeking some free cross-country ski terrain. This area is one of the largest free Nordic ski areas in North America with 60 miles of groomed trails. With trails spanning between both Aspen and Snowmass, beginners and advanced skiers will find great terrain here at the Aspen Snowmass Nordic Trail System. Rentals and lessons can be found here too.
Located near many major ski resorts, the Frisco Nordic Center is at a great location to take a break from alpine skiing. The 45 kilometers of groomed trails are sure to be a scenic experience while Nordic skiing, since these trails pass along the shores of Lake Dillon. Skiers of all levels will enjoy the well-maintained trails at the Frisco Nordic Center.
The Vista Verde Ranch in Steamboat Springs is not a center by an all-inclusive guest ranch. Enjoy lodging, meals and miles of backcountry ski trails here. The 30 kilometers of groomed trails are perfect for both Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. Vista Verde Ranch truly takes the guesswork out of a Colorado winter vacation by catering to a variety of winter activities.
Due to its relatively close proximity to Denver, the Nordic Center at Eldora Mountain Resort is a popular place to cross-country ski. Experience 40 kilometers of well-maintained trails through forest and meadow, offering great mountain views. Since the Nordic Center is so close to Eldora’s alpine ski area, a day in Nederland is perfect for the ski buff.
Head to Beaver Creek and then take the Strawberry Park express lift to access 20 miles of groomed trails at McCoy Park. Perfect for cross-country and skate skiing, as well as snowshoeing, McCoy Park’s trails are great for all levels and the views are some of the most remarkable. At an elevation of 9,840 to 10,200 feet, three mountain ranges can be seen from McCoy Park.
Twenty minutes from Winter Park, Devil’s Thumb Ranch has made a name for itself by offering incredible ranch lodging, dining and access to 5,000 acres of Colorado country. The 77 miles of cross-country and snowshoe trails at Devil’s Thumb Ranch are well-groomed and catered to both beginners and experts. You don’t have to be staying at the lodge to gain access to Devil’s Thumb Ranch’s pristine backcountry. These trails are open to the public.
Located in State Forest State Park near Walden, Never Summer Nordic is known for its great backcountry terrain and remote yurts. The yurts are well-furnished with woodstoves and beds. Do keep in mind that there are no rentals on the remote property. But where else can you cross-country ski right out of your backcountry yurt tent?
Brainard Lake near Nederland is not a resort, center or lodging experience. It is simply known for being one of the most popular areas for cross-country skiing in the state. Take the Brainard Lake Trail, which can connect you to a variety of other trails, for a truly remarkable experience in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area.