Visit Winter Park Lodging, Colorado
Originally posted January 2015, updated December 2018
Winter Park, Colorado
Search, “Winter Park” on Google, and chances are the results will come back as Winter Park, Florida.
Why? Because the population there is bigger, there are more establishments,
and they neighbor the global giant, Disney World.
Sure, Winter Park, Florida is a lovely place…
Photos just don’t do them justice here in Winter Park, Colorado. Just come see for yourself.
Yes, Winter Park, Florida has Disney World…
But LIFE is our amusement park in Winter Park, Colorado!
We can! And we do, here in Winter Park, Colorado.
Photo Credit: Snow Mountain Ranch
Then there is the happiness factor…
Source: Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index 2014
When it comes to the air…
We have less pollution!
Clean air in Winter Park, Colorado
Except in Winter Park, Colorado!
Traffic jam in Winter Park, Colorado.
When it comes to driving…
Car on winter road Winter Park, Colorado.
In Winter Park, Colorado, you can get higher than sea level.
Literally and legally.
We’ve got options!
Photo Credit: www.americansouthwest.net
Photo Credit: Hot Sulphur Springs Resort and Spa
When it comes to drinking…
We’ll drink you under the table Florida.
(blame it on the elevation or the lifestyle…)
Fraser Valley Distilling opening
Fun at the Fraser Valley Distilling opening
If you’re going to have “Winter” in your name…
Winter Park, Colorado
Act like it.
Winter Park & Beyond
Visit Winter Park Lodging
Winter Park & Beyond:
Once you arrive here you’ll be magically transported by the “The Lift” not that Lyft Our Lift, to Winter Park & Beyond! Long before the sharing economy exploded The Lift was our private transportation system operated by Winter Park Ski Resort. If you were here prior to 2016, you’ll remember the old school buses that were painted gray, what the locals affectionately called the “prison Buses”. Not because they transported anyone to the lock up, at least not that I know of.
Where is Beyond?
I believe that “beyond” is a nod to Fraser, Colorado’s Leaving Planet Earth signs. Back in the 70’s someone manufactured a sign and put it up under the Fraser Colorado highway sign. The sign was left up for years until someone complained about it. At which point the sign was taken down. A few years ago an EDM (Electronic Dance Music) festival was held in Fraser and the local government put the sign back up for the event. Seems appropriate that if you are having music festival in the middle of winter in what is arguably the icebox of the nation that you would be leaving planet Earth!
We wanted to find out more about the Winter Park & Beyond Transit system and manager Michael Koch was kind enough to take the time and answer some questions for us! Below you’ll find his interview:
An interview with Winter Park Transit Manager Michael Koch
Tell us about yourself and how you ended up in Winter Park?
I worked as a transit consultant for 4 years before applying for my position with the Town of Winter Park. When the job opened up with the Town of Winter Park for a Transit Manager I saw it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! The Town of Winter Park was a client of ours at the time, so I had a good understanding of how the system had been run in the past and ways which I could help the system run more effectively to serve the community.
I am a big skier, so the Upper Fraser Valley is a dream location to call home. I’ve been skiing since I was 5 (I grew up 30 mins from Lake Tahoe), I raced on my high school ski team, and I was a ski instructor at Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe in college. I’m excited to help manage and develop this new system in such a beautiful part of my favorite state.
The system is funded through a Transit & Trails Tax passed by the residents of Winter Park and Fraser. We also receive some funding from CDOT and homeowners associations to help supplement our operational costs. Winter Park Resort also contributes to the system for capital improvements.
What’s the ridership?
During our first year of operating, we have provided over 500,000 rides. 470,000 of those were during the winter months, with the remaining 30,000 rides occurring in the Spring/Fall and Summer season.
How many buses are needed to run on a typical weekend day?
14-18 busses are needed to operate fixed routes during the weekend between 7AM – 6PM. After 6PM, the system is serviced with 5 buses as part of a fixed-route and call-and-ride system.
Can you please describe the different types of buses The Lift incorporates and their uses?
We have 4 different styles of bus:
1. 40-foot Orion (Standard Public Transit Style Bus) – ADA-accessible and operates on our regularly scheduled routes.
2. 30-foot Gillig (Standard Public Transit-Style Bus) – ADA-accessible and operates on our regularly scheduled routes.
3. 40-foot Eldorado (Standard Public Transit-Style Bus) – ADA-accessible and operates on our regularly scheduled routes.
4. 25-foot Body-on-Chassis Shuttle – these are used specifically for our ADA Paratransit service, so also ADA-accessible.
5. FUTURE: 35-foot Gillig (Standard Public Transit-Style Bus) – ADA-accessible and operates on our regularly scheduled routes. Scheduled to arrive mid-2018
Why does a bus take 18+ months to build?
There are so few bus manufacturers and such a high demand for new transit buses. We are expecting to receive our first 2 brand-new Gillig buses sometime in mid-2018.
Tell me about Ride Hop and how to navigate using this mobile app?
RideHop is really useful in planning your trip to the Resort and around the Fraser and Winter Park area. You can download the app at the Google Play or Apple Store. Once the app is downloaded, you input the ride code: “lift”. You can go out to your nearest bus stop and the routes that service that stops are listed on the physical sign itself. You can also visit www.theliftwp.com and view the map of the entire system and find your location on the map from there via the app, you can see the real-time location of buses in the system.
Talk about the marketing efforts behind the new designs?
The new marketing design was a collaborative effort supported by the Transit Advisory Committee and the Winter Park Town Council. We contracted with Studio Six Designs to gather stakeholder feedback through a Community Transit Design Committee, which led to the designs we now see throughout the system (buses, signage, website, etc.). We’re really appreciative of the efforts of the stakeholder group, and we hope that they stay involved in the future.
The four seasons and angles are certainly represented in the design of the bus wraps, quite the departure from the gray prison looking buses. Love them!
Is the system capable of serving more than the Fraser Valley and at what cost?
The system is scalable; however, service to new areas will require investment from those being served to cover the cost (which at this point cannot be defined, as it would require new rolling stock, drivers, administration, and other costs). We are focused on fixing the existing system and making it run safely and efficiently in Fraser and Winter Park.
If I wanted to jump on the bus from my rental condo in upper ptarmigan go skiing for the day, stop for a cocktail at the Deno’s after skiing, get groceries for dinner back at my condo and then go out for a movie at the Foundry and get back to my condo after hours and use only the transportation system what would my steps need to be? Would I have to call if its 1:00 in the morning when I decide to come home?
You can absolutely accomplish this schedule with our transit system. All of the information you need to schedule your trip can be found on our website – www.theliftwp.com. All of the locations you note are served by public transit, which may be in the form of either fixed-route service or call-and-ride service. For late night service, call 970.726.4163 to schedule call-and-ride transit in both Fraser and Winter Park. – below are the steps for your itinerary (assuming this is a weekend):
1. Download the app the night before Search for The Lift Rider
2. Wake up and look at The Lift Rider on your phone to view the Purple Line/Fraser Cirque Express for your express bus to the Resort. Before the bus gets to the top of Wapiti Drive, head to the Fox Run stop.
3. Enjoy your ride on the Purple Line/Fraser Cirque Express route to the Resort
4. After your day of skiing, you can board the Black, Red or Blue line to get to Deno’s – your stop will be “Main at Vasquez”
5. After you leave Deno’s you can walk back to the “Main at Vasquez” bus stop and board the Black Line. For less waiting time in the cold, watch for the Black Line on your phone via RideHop. When it looks like it is a few minutes away, head to your stop. This will line will drop you off right near the entrance to Safeway.
6. While you are shopping at Safeway, you can view the real-time location of the Purple Line/Fraser Cirque, which will be your connection back to your condo in upper Ptarmigan.
7. To get to the Foundry for your movie, call the Night Lift at 970.726.4163 and request a pick-up at your nearest bus stop (in your case, the Fox Run stop).
8. Depending on ridership that evening, you may get a direct ride to the nearest stop to the Foundry (Rec Center or Kings Crossing Ctr, your choice), OR the Purple Line/Fraser Cirque may transfer you to the Black Line which can get you to those same stops.
9. After your movie, you can call for your ride home!
Finally, what’s new for this season?
We have extended hours (the bus now runs until 2 AM), the new rider app, a new fleet of safe, comfortable buses that are ADA accessible, improved signage and mapping with more information on them, and much, much more.
- Census information
Population: 993 sources: US Census estimate
Median Household Income: $74,167 American Community Survey 2010-2014
Median housing value: $376,500 American Community Survey
- Who owns Winter Park?
Winter Park was opened in the 1939/40 season by the City of Denver Colorado. The City of Denver entered a partnership with Intrawest, ULC, a Canadian Corporation in 2002 which operated the Winter Park Ski Resort until this year, Winter Park Resort was purchased by the family that owns Aspen Skiing Co. With Denver’s KSL Capital Partner and the new Ownership, the name is Alterra Mountain Co.
- What is the Elevation of Winter Park?
The town of Winter Park is located at an elevation of 9,100 feet.
The Winter Park Ski Resort climbs to 10,700 feet and beyond there…
The top of Panoramic is at an elevation of 12,060 feet
Read Chapter One: Planes, Trains and Automobiles here!
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
A First Timer’s Guide to Winter Park, Colorado
Updated: Updated article October 2018, First published in 2015
A First Timer’s Guide to Winter Park, Colorado
Planes, Trains & Automobiles is one of my favorite movies of all times. Released in 1987 (probably before you were born) this movie stars Steve Martin and John Candy. The storyline revolves around Neal Page (Steve Martin) who only wants to get home in time for Thanksgiving. Neal is thrown into Del Griffith (The late great John Candy) life because of bad weather and worse luck. The two travel from New York to Chicago and as their adventure comes together Neal discovers more about humanity and life from charismatic Del.
From the movie:
State Trooper: What the hell are you driving here?
Del: We had a small fire last night, but we caught it in the nick of time.
State Trooper: Do you have any idea how fast you were going?
Del: Funny enough, I was just talking to my friend about that. Our speedometer has melted, and as a result, it’s very hard to see with any degree of accuracy exactly how fast we were going.
Your adventure to Winter Park should be easier, and we hope you discover a little about humanity & life along with your journey in our First Timer’s Guide to Winter Park, Colorado.
If you’re flying in from out of state and arrive at Denver International Airport you can rent a car and drive up, take local transportation service like Home James or Colorado Tour Transportation, or you can take public transportation from DIA to Union Station in downtown Denver and ride the Amtrak Ski Train (the Winter Park Express) to Winter Park, Colorado.
Winter Park Resort is only 89 miles from Denver International Airport.
Like my tie to Planes, Trains & Automobiles there?
Once you get here, public transportation is available. Click here for a map of the Winter Park Bus Schedule.
- The Town of Winter Park, Colorado is relatively new, having only been incorporated August 1, 1978. Winter Park comes from humble beginnings, the town was originally the village of Hideaway Park. More about Hideaway park below.
- Linus Oliver “Doc” Graves family moved to the Fraser Valley in 1922 to open a drugstore in Tabernash, Colorado. Tabernash is located just 12 miles north of Winter Park on Highway 40. When the Moffat tunnel was built in 1928 the road over Rollins Pass was no longer needed. Lumber production came to a screeching halt in the Tabernash area and the Graves Family moved their Drugstore south to the Town of Fraser, Colorado. The Town of Fraser is the Northern boundary of the Town of Winter Park. Some tourists don’t even know they’ve left Winter Park and entered Fraser.
- With the expansion of Victory Highway (U.S. Highway 40) which expanded in the town of Fraser, the Graves were uprooted and closed their drugstore. The highway expansion ran right through the middle of their building. The Graves family then purchased a few acres south of Fraser and built cabins that hosted travelers, hunters and early vacationers to the Fraser Valley. They named their lodging community Hideaway Park.
- Winter Park, Colorado is the highest incorporated town in the United States: Although the town center is at about 9,000 feet, Winter Park, using administrative boundaries as a measure, became the highest incorporated town in the United States after the July 2006 annexation of 5,214 acres (21.10 km2) of Winter Park Ski Resort to allow new on-mountain improvements. Source: Wikipedia
Where to stay:
So you want to know where to stay on your first trip to Winter Park. There’s just about every option and price range for your next stay in Winter Park. Depending on your budget you can stay on the low by booking a studio condo if the whole family is making the trip you might want to upgrade to an entire house.
There are luxury houses you can book that feature 10 plus bedrooms. We have homes in Rendezvous, and downtown Winter Park that sleeps 10, search our Winter Park Vacation Rentals.
You can save tons of money if you’re on a budget by staying further away from the resort. The town of Fraser features really nice lodging that you can book at a fraction of the cost to be on the mountain.
You’ll still see the name Hideaway Park where the Town of Winter Park is located now on older maps.
Hideaway Park downtown Winter Park, Colorado.
Hideaway Park today is a park located in the downtown area of Winter Park. Hideaway Park is the location of many of the Fraser Valley summer concert series, like Solshine Festival, Blues from the Top, Winter Park Music Festival, Jazz Festival and many more small concerts. In fact, the Town of Winter Park commissioned the building of a permanent stage that will host year-round activities.
Take a hike:
A must in the summer to walk, bike, hike, and skate down the Fraser River Trail, during the winter this same trail is groomed for cross-country skiing. The Fraser River trailhead is located at Winter Park Ski Resort. The trail follows the Fraser River to the Town of Fraser and ends at The Fraser Outdoor Activity Center which houses Headwaters Trails Alliance. You can continue along the trail which is now called the Fraser to Granby Trail but the grooming ends at this area. The trail from the Winter Park Resort to The Fraser Outdoor Activity center is approximately 6 miles and mostly downhill from the resort.
The nom nom’s
- Sharky’s Eatery: You’ve got to stop by Sharky’s Eatery in Fraser, a must for the First Timer’s Guide to Winter Park Colorado! We love their Colorado green chili smothered breakfast burritos! Sharky’s is located in Fraser, Colorado at 221 Doc Susie Avenue. If you show up on a weekend you’ll likely be waiting in line, it’s that good!
- Elevation Pizza: Got to have pizza when you’re on vacation, my favorite is the SMOP from Elevation Pizza. SMOP is an acronym for sausage, mushroom, onion and pepperoni. Elevation Pizza is locally owned by an awesome family that continually gives back to the community. So not only do I think they have the best pizza in the area but a portion of your money will likely be given back to the community. Karma my friends! Also located in Fraser, in the Murdoch’s shopping center, and you can stop by and say hello to us! Our office is located on the second level above Elevation Pizza.
- Tabernash Tavern: For dinner, I’m going to take you further north to the Town of Tabernash where you’ll find the Tabernash Tavern. This fine dining establishment offers up an international mix of appetizers, entrees, soups salads, and desserts. All inspired creations from Executive Chef Alberto Sapien.The menu changes seasonally so I’m not going to recommend a specific dish. The Tabernash Tavern is located at 72287 US Highway 40, Tabernash, CO 80478 Phone: 970-726-4430
The Foundry Cinema & Bowl is the only movie theater and bowling alley in the county and is actually located in the Town of Fraser but you’d never know you’ve left Winter Park. The movie theater has two screens and there are eight lanes of bowling. The ladies room is themed in Marilyn Monroe motif with hot pink underlit counters and a large painting of Marilyn.
A must do:
If you do nothing else visit Winter Park Resort, because you’re probably reading this blog to know more about world-class skiing and downhill mountain biking.
Winter Park Resort and downtown
So let’s talk about it.
Winter Park Ski Resort is a world class resort with more than a million skier visits per year. The Resort features 3,081 skiable acres, 143 designated trails and 1,212 acres of off-site terrain which includes Vasquez Cirque and glade skiing. The Winter Park Ski Resort also features 25 chairlifts and an average yearly snowfall of over 350”. So why wouldn’t you make Winter Park your next ski vacation
So you can see from my post that the First Timer’s Guide to Winter Park, Colorado is more about a community than just one town. That’s what we are here in the Fraser Valley, in my opinion, the Best Community there is.
Stay tuned for the next chapter in this series of a First Timer’s Guide to Winter Park Colorado.
Snowshoeing in Winter Park, Colorado
Snowshoeing might not be the most popular sport in Winter Park but it can be one of the most relaxing sports. You don’t get to slide around like cross-country or downhill but at the same time maybe that’s why people like it. Snowshoeing brings a sort of self-discovery and provides peace and quiet to the soul.
Snowshoeing is known to have been around for over 6,000 years and got its start in Asia. From what I’ve read, Ancestors to the Inuits and Native Americans migrated to North America bringing a prehistoric version of snowshoes with them.
Before snowshoeing turned into a recreational sport, snowshoes were used for survival and were made of wood and rawhide or animal gut that was used to tie the wood frame together and create the webbing that keeps you aloft on the snow. Many of these antiques are now hung in vacation rentals as decor. The wood frames did not have the best bindings to keep your foot secure and sometimes a snowshoer would have a lack of traction on traverses. Fatigue was also found in the hips of snowshoers due to how wide the wood frames were made.
It wasn’t until the evolution of the aluminum framed beavertail snowshoe that snowshoeing became a sport and even a boom in snowshoe racing as athletics were turned onto this unique winter sport.
If you are considering trying out this zen-like sport there are some safety concerns to be aware of:
1) When getting ready in the parking lot be aware of conduction heat loss, sitting in the snow and touching the cold aluminum frames without gloves. It is best to already have several layers on before strapping into your snowshoes and use gloves to strap in on a cold day.
2) Keep yourself hydrated, starting out on a trail might feel great but towards the middle of your journey you should stop and hydrate. You can get pretty far on a trail before you realize it, make sure someone knows where you’re headed!
3) Wear proper clothing, a synthetic sock and a wool blend sock is best. A nice hiking boot should work but there are boots made for snowshoes as well. Try the sport out first to see if you like it! Since you’re moving you don’t have to wear as many layers as you would expect. Starting out with a base layer (top and bottom) along with a waterproof outer shell (including gloves of course) is perfect. It is a good idea to take extra layers in a backpack as the weather can change fast at any time.
Additional items; polls, sunglasses or goggles, water, snacks, first-aid kit and a camera (cell phone) for taking plenty of beautiful forest photos.
Places to rent snowshoes in the Fraser Valley
Not ready to invest in a pair of snowshoes yet? No problem there are plenty of places to rent snowshoes and below are a couple options:
Icebox Mountain Sports located in Fraser next to Ace Hardware. I recommend them because they are one of the best stocked rental shops for snowshoes and cross-country skis. I stopped by one morning and I was greeted right away and the entire staff was friendly, knowledgeable and ready to get me started in the sport.
YMCA of the Rockies offers snowshoe rentals and you can use their miles of snowshoeing trails. While visiting their Nordic Center, their rental shop was hopping with people of all ages with staff busy helping customers. Even though they had signage up on the deck for rentals below, I found the entrance to the rental shop to be a bit confusing. If you’ve never been, make sure go to the back of the building and enter on the first floor.
If you really want to find your own “space” I would recommend heading out to St. Louis Creek in the morning.
It’s very quiet out there and not a lot of people around in the mornings. It can get busy towards late morning to mid-afternoon so if you can handle the colder mornings I would recommend it!
Make sure you stay on the trails that people have packed down already, the rest of the forest does not need to be stomped on. Also, the untouched glittery snow has a calming effect on your senses.
Have some pointers about snowshoeing? We would love to hear your comments below!
Fall in Winter Park, Colorado means the gorgeous glow of aspen trees, and they are already starting to POP! This year the aspens are expected to peak the third and fourth weeks of September. So plan ahead, Visit Winter Park, and see the magic as it unfolds.
Here are some insider tips on some of the best leaf peeping opportunities in the high country, (that require limited or no hiking at all)!
Must-do Leaf Peeping Drives:
CO – 125 North
Drive past Granby and take a right on CO – 125 North towards Walden – this paved and fun drive winds along the beautiful Coyote Creek, passes incredible rock formations and crosses large aspen forests that if you hit at the right time will be bursting with fall colors. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for moose and deer that frequent the willows and meadows. If you want to make a day out of it, stop by the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge in Walden, Colorado. Here you’ll see a variety of native birds, moose, elk, antelope, and more.
From the town of Winter Park, head East on Highway 40 towards Winter Park Resort. About a mile up, you’ll see a sign for Corona Pass on your left. Take this turnoff and follow 80. You’ll drive through aspen groves of all sizes, and chances are you’ll see some wildlife on the drive. While you can take the road to Rollins Pass at the top of the Divide, the road gets fairly rough at times, and the drive will take about an hour, (awesome drive if you have the time, but halfway up, the aspens dwindle). If you’d like to stick with the leaf peeping, take your second right onto 81 (Forest Road 128) and then take another right onto Arrow Trail until you reach Highway 40.
Cottonwood Pass is a hidden gem of Grand County Colorado. If you’re in search of an amazing trip through the backcountry, on maintained dirt roads, take Cottonwood Pass. From Winter Park, head West on Highway 40 through Tabernash, Colorado and continue until you pass the YMCA of the Rockies, (it will be on your left). About a mile after you pass the YMCA of the Rockies, you’ll take a left onto County Road 55. This dirt road will take you through meadows, fields, giant aspen groves, and eventually will drop you off in the town of Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado and reconnect with Highway 40, (you can take Highway 40 back to Winter Park, Colorado). While in Hot Sulphur Springs we recommend checking out the Pioneer Village Museum, the hot springs, or if you are hungry hit the Glory Hole for a fantastic breakfast, or the Dairy Delight for great burgers and ice cream.
County Road 8
Head West on 40 out of Winter Park, Colorado. After you pass the Fraser Post Office (on your right) take your next right onto County Road 8. Follow along County Road 8 for a few miles you’ll end up in the thick of a variety of aspen forests. After the turnoff for the Devil’s Thumb Trailhead, you can take a quick hike, turn around, or *adventure onto 128 (Water Board Road). *If you choose the last option, get a map, a full tank of gas, and plan your route before going.
Not in the mood to drive? Head over to Granby Ranch. Why? Granby Ranch is offering free chairlift rides for all foot passengers up and down the mountain! Grab a free pass from the shop, and hit the lifts. Once the lift drops you off at the top, you’ll be free and clear to explore the hiking trails, which meander through beautiful groves and look out over stunning views covered with aspen trees! (Wednesdays – Sundays* from 10am – 5pm through September 27th – weather dependent. Call ahead if you have any questions.)
If you’re looking for the perfect fall hike Columbine Lake a great option!
On this hike you enjoy limited elevation gain, stunning views of the Indian Peaks Wilderness, late blooming wildflowers, and of course the teal blue of the clear mountain lake.
- Bring layers, food, water (or water purification tools), a camera, and a credit card for the fee station if you plan on hiking between Memorial day and September 15th. (The hike will take anywhere from 3+ hours so plan accordingly.)
- Proper footwear. Though the trail is defined, you will encounter roots, rocks, and boulders.
- A dog (if you have one) with a leash and doggie bags.
- A vehicle with higher suspension is recommended because the road to the trailhead has fairly large bumps and potholes. However, if you take it slow, a smaller vehicle will work.
- Take 83 off of highway 40 (as if you’re going to Devil’s Thumb Ranch).
- At the first “T” Take a left onto 84.
- Once you pass Strawberry Road (on your left), keep left at the fork, (this turns into USFS 129 and there should be a creek on your right).
- Stay on USFS 129. There will be a fee station on your left where you can purchase a pass for $5/car.
- Continue on USFS 129 and stay left at the fork before the Meadow Creek Reservoir.
- Approximately three-quarters of the way around the reservoir you will see the trailhead parking lot on the left. (There are fairly primitive bathrooms located here – the only bathrooms you’ll encounter on the hike.)
- Park, display your pass, sign in the hiking registry, and hit the trail!
The trail is approximately 8 miles round-trip and takes anywhere from 3+ hours to complete. The destination is the perfect spot to have a picnic, so plan ahead and make a day of it. The trail is rocky but well maintained and defined. Also, though there are multiple water crossings, all of them have rocks, bridges, or makeshift log bridges to use. (No one likes wet socks!)
Once on the trail keep your eyes peeled for moose and deer, especially in the meadows and forests! (My first time hiking this trail in July, I saw three big bulls and a few cows!)
About a half a mile in, you’ll see an old homestead on your right. It’s pretty cool to check out and imagine how people used to live.
The trail is slightly sloped for the first three quarters and the last leg being a more dramatic incline. The trail runs along a few meadows, the Meadow Creek at times, enters pine forests, boulder fields, next to cliffs, and waterfalls. It is a very beautiful and fairly low impact hike.
Once you get to the lake there are plenty of boulders to sit on and enjoy the view. Some people (and dogs) swim, though the mountain lake’s icy chill prevents many.
Moral of the story:
Columbine Lake is a very accessible, beautiful, and enjoyable hike for anyone looking to get out, explore, and see some of Colorado’s untouched beauty this fall. Protected by cliffs and trees, you will not encounter the cold winds that other hikes are prone to this time of year, and with the cooler temps and natural springs, a variety of wildflowers are still blooming in the meadows and creek beds, (yes even in September).
If you still need more convincing, check out the photos below. Then grab some gear and your friends and hit the trail to Columbine Lake, you’ll be glad you did!
Restaurants Winter Park, Colorado
Here’s an insider’s guide to delicious dining and some of the hottest places to eat in Winter Park, Fraser, and Tabernash, Colorado! Enjoy!
Breakfast Winter Park, Colorado:
This Fraser Favorite serves locals and visitors alike. If you’re up early, you’ll see ski patrol and lift ops flock to this unique eatery on their way to the slopes. Call ahead for takeout or grab a seat and eat in amongst sharks, nets, and fake fish. Even on the coldest days, this brightly colored building will make you feel as if you’re in the Caribbean, and the variety of breakfast, lunch, and southwestern dishes will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.
221 Doc Susie Ave
Fraser, CO 80442
The Mountain Rose Café:
This café serves homemade breakfast and lunch seven days a week. Located in downtown Winter Park this restaurant nook will amaze even the most select eater with a menu of, “redneck mountain fusion with a dash of hippie love.” Complete with a full bar, The Mountain Rose Café serves dazzling drinks including Bloody Mary Jane, Tequila Sunrise, and a killer Mountain Mojito.
The Mountain Rose Cafe
78542 US Highway 40
Winter Park, CO 80482
Mountain Grind Coffee And Bistro:
If you’re looking for unique food, great people, and amazing coffee, look no further. Located in Winter Park’s Cooper Creek, this quaint shop serves everything from coffee to intricate snickers martinis, pies, and delicious gelato. Be sure to swing by and give the Mountain Grind Coffee and Bistro a try!
Mountain Grind Coffee and Bistro
Cooper Creek Square
47 Cooper Creek Way #126
Winter Park, CO 80482
Rise & Shine Café:
If you’re looking for a great breakfast location with Gluten Free options, stop by Rise & Shine Café. They’ve got a wide variety of breakfast foods ranging from a simple bowl of oatmeal to the delectably intricate, “Who’s Arnold Veggie Bennini.” The best part is, breakfast is served until 2 pm every day, perfect for those mornings you don’t feel like rushing!
Rise & Shine Cafe
78437 US Highway 40
Winter Park, CO 80482
Lunch Winter Park, Colorado:
Opa! Charlie’s Gyro:
In search of a delicious lunch? Try the brand new restaurant Opa! Charlie’s Gyro. This delicious, locally-owned eatery serves a simple and affordable lunch menu consisting of classic gyros, burgers, soups, and salads. The Greek salad, watermelon salad, and portobello mushroom burgers will satisfy those with dietary restrictions.
Opa! Carlie’s Gyro
78415 US Highway 40
Winter Park, CO 80482
New Hong Kong:
With delicious food, spectacular lunch specials, a large dining facility, and a great back room for events, New Hong Kong is a perfect place to grab a bite for lunch. Located in Cooper Creek Square this classic, Chinese restaurant offers fantastic service, huge portions, and a variety of dishes sure to leave everyone full and satisfied.
New Hong Kong
Cooper Creek Way
Winter Park, CO 80482
Dinner Winter Park, Colorado:
Fontenot’s Seafood and Grill:
A Winter Park favorite for over 20 years, Fontenot’s offers diners a fantastic atmosphere, a variety of dishes, a full drink menu, outdoor seating, and live entertainment. Known for weekend brunches and happy hour specials, Fontenot’s will amaze. Fontenot’s serves everything from Kobe Beef Burgers to New Orleans Jambalaya and anything in between.
Fontenot’s Seafood and Grill
78336 US Highway 40
Winter Park, CO 80482
An easy, 5-minute drive, West out of Winter Park will lead you to Tabernash Tavern, one of the most artistic and authentic restaurants in the region. Located in the historic, (and tiny) town of Tabernash, Tabernash Tavern offers perhaps the largest selection of wine in the valley, a full bar, and an internationally inspired menu. Renowned Executive Chef Alberto Sapien constantly draws inspiration and alters the menu to keep it fresh for guests who frequent the Tavern. Tabernash Tavern is also home to an affordable and unique happy hour that many times is accompanied by live music.
72287 US Highway 40
Tabernash, CO 80478
Randi’s Irish Grill and Pub:
If you’re in need of a great burger, the world’s greatest Ruben, or a good ole’ Irish Car Bomb, visit Randi’s Irish Grill and Pub. This Irish pub offers a prime downtown location, outdoor seating, and a fun atmosphere.
Randi’s Irish Grill and Pub
78521 US ZHighway 40
Winter Park, CO 80482
Happy Hour Winter Park, Colorado:
The Winter Park Sushi Bar:
It happens to the best of us. The sushi craving hits. Nothing else will do. You debate the “good ‘ol gas station sushi,” but think better of it. Have no fear, The Winter Park Sushi Bar is here! A great atmosphere, awesome location, and a fantastic happy hour! Being in a land-locked state is no problem as they fly fresh fish in daily. With Saketini’s, Tempura, and more rolls than you can imagine, your craving will be cured!
The Winter Park Sushi Bar
47 Cooper Creek Way #221
Winter Park, CO 80482
15 minutes West, in a secluded valley is Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort and Spa. This Resort is home to one of the most delicious and vast happy hours in the valley. Kick back in Heck’s at the Ranch and enjoy a great atmosphere, amazing drink specials including $2.5 drafts, $3 micro brews, $3 house wines, and delicious (and cheap) food specials!
Devil’s Thumb Ranch
3530 County Rd 83
Tabernash, CO 80478