We all have seen photos, whether they be upon a cellphone screen, calendar, brochure, or post card, of beautiful meadows full of wildflowers, rolling forests with canopies of green that watch over you as you hike, and mountaintop views of the world stretched out beneath you. Many of us dream of being able to see these kinds of spectacular views in person, though many of us just don’t know where to go. Well, fear not, for we have already done the hard work and found the best things to do in Winter Park CO and enjoy these top five spots with a gorgeous view in Winter Park!
Best Things to Do in Winter Park CO: Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests
This is not just one great view, but many hundreds, if not thousands of them. Several of the highlights are featured later in this list, however it would be doing this magnificent forest a disservice to not give it its own spot on this list. Stretching out over 1.5 million acres, this national forest encompasses not just thick forests full of critters and animals, but also rolling grasslands that stretch out like a sea of light green which dances with the wind. Not only this, but you’ll find several lakes scattered throughout, from the mountain tops looking like small craters of blue suspended amongst the green. No matter where you find yourself in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, you are almost assured to find yourself a stunning view that will have you gazing in wonderment.
This moderate hiking trail features a 6.2-mile out-and-back trail which will have you walking along the ridgeline of the continental divide. However, if you are looking for a much shorter and easier hike, you can stop at the ridgeline of the divide for a 1.7-mile short hike. No matter whether you decide to go all the way or go for the shorter version, you are sure to be treated to beautiful views of the divide as it stretches out before you. Depending upon the time of year you go, you might find the green replaced by yellowed grassed dotted with the still receding snows. No matter what your specific view is, however, you are sure to be as astonished as the settlers who first laid eyes upon Mount Flora.
So far, from all of these fun things to do in Winter Park, we have spoken mainly of hiking and views, but this is one that anyone can see, as Berthoud Pass is a beautiful scenic mountain drive that will draw up images of fall drives in a convertible. At 11,000 feet, this drive will take you straight through the Rockies and provides the fastest route between Winter Park and Steamboat Springs, though it also serves as a route from Clear Creek Canyon and Fraser River. As you drive, you will find several stopping points specifically placed for you to step out and marvel at the pass and Rockies which are stretched out before you. This truly is one of the most gorgeous views you’ll find in the area. However, if you are afraid of heights, you should be warned that there is a 6.3% grade on either side of the pass, as well as there being quite a few switchbacks. It is well maintained and is a four-lane alternating highway that has guardrails and several other safety measures. Why not take a nice day drive and see the beauties of the Rockies? This is definitely one of the most fun things to do in Winter Park!
Our number one and two spot go together, as to get to number one, you quite literally must first go through the second! However, Rogers Pass can be done alone, and it provides strikingly beautiful views all in its own. This 5-mile out-and-back trail features meadows of wildflowers as well as phenomenal views of the trees and mountains. The trail starts with a gentle climb through the forest before breaking out over the tree line. You will be provided with a stunning view of both Fraser and Winter Park. After a hike through switchbacks, providing their own unique views and wonders to behold, you will be gifted with a brilliant view of James Peak, Perry Peak, and the other surrounding mountains. If you’d like you can turn back, or you can continue on to…
James Peak, while providing some of the most stunning views you can find of the surrounding wilderness, is also considered a rather difficult hike. At a total altitude of 13,294 feet, this hike will provide you with an additional 2,920 feet of elevation gain before you reach the summit. For those of you who are avid hikers, you can even continue on from here to the neighboring Mount Bancroft! Not only will you get to truly see the world laid out before you, as if someone had placed a map before your feet, you will also get to see quite a few natural marvels such as the remains of a glacier! However, if you decide to do this hike during the winter or fall, make sure you check your GPS and compass often, as white outs can happen should a storm roll in, and these can prove quite disorientating. However, while difficult, this hike is still incredibly popular, so know that you are almost always sure to find another person to chat with during your hike!
Why not truly get back in touch with nature and see Colorado in all its natural beauty with some of the most gorgeous views around by calling Visit Winter Park Lodging today at 970-363-7458 to book your vacation home! Check out our ski-in ski-out rentals. Also, be sure to check out our amazing holiday rentals in Winter Parks today!