Tips When Visiting Winter Park:
- Wear Sunscreen –Winter Park Colorado is 9,052 feet above sea level and that means it is 9,052 feet closer to the sun. To protect yourself and your family from the sun’s harmful rays we recommend wearing sunscreen that is at least 30 SPF.
- Eye protection – Sunglasses and hats are lifesavers when it comes to protecting your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. Wear them, your eyes will thank you!
- Wear and bring layers – The saying in Colorado is, “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.” The weather is constantly changing here in Winter Park, Colorado so make sure you’re prepared for anything. We suggest layering with synthetic and waterproof fabrics when hiking or outdoors. Should the weather change, you’ll be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws your way.
- Sturdy Shoes – When visiting Winter Park, pack your comfortable outdoors shoes and sandals and leave your stilettos at home. Locals will laugh if you wear stilettos or other goofy shoes around town. Consider yourself warned. You’ll want shoes with sturdy soles so you can hike up steep inclines, get wet, and maneuver rocky terrain. Not as stylish as you’d like? Don’t worry no one cares out here and functionality always trumps style anyway.
- Slow down, It’s CO Time – Visitors remark on the slow pace of life in the mountains, and we say embrace it! Don’t worry about getting anywhere fast. You’ll get there when you get there. During the summer months don’t be surprised if you come across a tractor, a cow, 100 cows, or a million bikers in the road.
- Drink Water – Water, water, water! We can’t stress it enough. Start loading up on water the day you leave for Colorado and continue for your entire stay. Many visitors (and their pets) suffer from altitude sickness upon arriving in the mountains. The best way to prevent the nausea, headaches, and other symptoms associated with altitude sickness is hydration. So drink up!
- Be Friendly – Between the sun, the mountains, and the lifestyle, Colorado is one of the happiest states in the county. So jump on our happy train and start waving to fellow drivers, smiling at random people, lending a helping hand, and striking up conversations with people you encounter. You just might pass as a local or make a new friend.
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1. Cascade Falls – 7.5 miles – Dog-Friendly
Located near Grand Lake, Colorado, Cascade Falls is a great hike for those in search of a beautiful tree lined hike with babbling creeks, lakes, huge ravines, and of course a waterfall. This 7.5-mile hike begins at the trailhead at Monarch Lake. Head clockwise around the lake to cut about 3 miles off of your hike. As you hike, be on the lookout for moose, deer, fox, and other wildlife. In 2014 an avalanche took out part of the trail so the route has recently been rerouted. Though you do gain some elevation, it is a steady slope and manageable for a variety of hikers.
Trail Tips: May through the end of July expect high water from mountain snowmelt and runoff. Keep kids and dogs safely away from the quick water currents to prevent accidents. You will lose cell service on this hike so always tell someone where you are headed prior to hiking and if possible, go with a buddy.
2. St. Louis Lake Trail – 900ft elevation gain – Dog-Friendly
With just about 900 feet in elevation gain over the trip, this 7-mile trail is great for all ages and abilities. Dogs are welcome and will enjoy the ample water access throughout the hike as well as the beautiful, secluded lake at the end of the trip.
Trail Tips: A lot of this hike is in moose territory. If you see a moose, keep your distance, back away, and place a sturdy object like a large tree or boulder between you and the moose, and let the moose leave the area. If you have a dog, make sure to keep it quiet and prevent it from chasing the moose. Moose are threatened by dogs and will charge.
3. Byers Peak Trail – 7 Miles – Dog-Friendly
This trail is a favorite of visitors and locals alike. Once on the trail, be prepared for a 1.8-mile steep hike. Once near the top, be on the lookout for mountain goats that can be quite curious. The top provides a 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
Trail Tips: Most accessible June through November. Avoid the “boring” 2 miles of road hiking by bringing a bike and biking from the parking area to the trailhead. No bikes are allowed past the trailhead, but there is a bike rack where you can lock your bike at the trailhead.
4. Silver Dollar Lake Trail – 1.5 miles – Dog-Friendly
Located in Idaho Springs this is the perfect hike when you’re heading to or from Winter Park, Colorado. Though only 1.5 miles round trip, this steep trail is full of fantastic views, waterfalls, wildflowers, fishing, and mountain lakes.
Trail Tips: This is a popular hike and the trail can get busy so go early if possible. The first lake you hit s a private lake, the second one is Silver Dollar Lake. If Silver Dollar Lake is too crowded for your liking, keep trekking and you will hit Murray Lake a bit higher up, but much less crowded.