Glide into a winter adventure on these groomed or backcountry trails perfect for cross-country skiing (and snowshoeing, too!)
I have a confession to make: I've never downhill skied or snowboarded. Never ever. I am a Colorado native. I grew up pretty darn close to Purgatory Resort in Durango. And yet, I've never strapped some waxed sticks on my feet and barrelled down a mountain (that's how it works, right?). Well, almost never. I am (hopefully this will redeem me a little) an avid, but not particularly talented, cross-country skier! And on occasion, I have found myself hurtling down a hill with some impossible turn at the bottom, hoping to stay upright or to just find a soft landing.
If you're like me and don't hit the slopes but want to enjoy winter activities or you just like to explore the trails in our beautiful state, you're in luck. Colorado has a plethora of places that you can strap on your Nordic skis or snowshoes and enjoy the scenery while getting a heck of a workout. Check out our list of Nordic centers and other cross-country skiing havens to enjoy this winter, no matter your experience level.
Aspen/Snowmass Nordic Trail System, Aspen/Snowmass
This network of skiing and snowshoeing trails one of the largest in North America! It offers around 80 kilometers of groomed trails and beautiful scenery.
Breckenridge Nordic Center, Breckenridge
Freshly groomed natural and man-made snow (when needed) give these trails an easy surface to enjoy. You can take lessons and guided snowshoeing trips, as well.
Crested Butte Nordic Center, Crested Butte
Glide over more than 50 kilometers of trails around the town boundary and into the backcountry. The terrain offers something for every skill level.
Devil's Thumb Ranch, Tabernash
Groomed trails and guest ranch amenities are all available at this all-season playground. You can rent or bring your own skis, take lessons, and even bring your dog on some of the 120 kilometers worth of trails at Devil's Thumb Ranch.
Courtesy of Devil's Thumb Ranch.
Eldora Mountain Resort Nordic Center, Nederland
Enjoy a trek through the Colorado wilderness at this center. It offers 40 kilometers of trails and even holds night races for those who want to show off their skills.
Frisco Nordic Center, Frisco
Take in the views of Lake Dillon as you ski or snowshoe the 45 kilometers of groomed trails along its shores.
Grand Lake Nordic Center, Grand Lake
Enjoy the scenic views of Rocky Mountain National Park and the Arapaho National Forest at the Grand Lake Nordic Center. The center offers beginner to advanced skiers a variety of terrain on 35 km of classic and skate-skiing trails.
Keystone Nordic Center, Keystone Resort
A combination of local trails and access to others in the White River National Forest provides over 40 kilometers of fun. Rentals, lessons, and guided tours are available for snowshoers, skate skiers, and cross-country skiers.
National and State Parks
Many of our parks are also open to cross-country skiing/snowshoeing when the conditions permit it. If you want some truly beautiful backcountry trips, Rocky Mountain National Park offers some great terrain. State parks are also easy ways to get a trek in, such as Never Summer Nordic's yurt system throughout State Forest State Park. I personally ski/fall over at Chatfield State Park quite a bit (when we have enough snow, which has been a bit of a rare occasion the last few years), and it's nice to be able to take a quick jaunt close to home. You can check out more about parks near you and availability of trails on the National Park's website and the Colorado State Parks site. You may have to have a pass or pay an admission fee.
Purgatory Nordic Center, Durango
Explore 20 kilometers of scenic forest trails, groomed for classic cross-country and skate skiing, as well as six kilometers of snowshoe trails. Rentals and lessons available.
Vail Nordic Center, Vail
With trails ranging from easy to difficult, cross-country and skate skiers can trek around 17 kilometers of space, while snowshoers can enjoy 10 kilometers of trails. You can even ask the center to analyze your technique and give you tips!
Courtesy of Vailclubhouse.com.
Vista Verde Ranch, Steamboat Springs
Guest-ranch living with Nordic fun right at your fingertips. This winter wonderland also has horseback and sleigh rides, as well as dog sledding available.
YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch, Estes Park
Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on 120 kilometers of world-class terrain. Short easy loops for beginners and expert trails for more experienced skiers. Lessons and rental packages available.
You can also check out these other Nordic skiing and snowshoe areas across the state:
Gunnison Nordic Club, Gunnison
Ski Granby Ranch Nordic Trails, Granby
Steamboat Ski Touring Center, Steamboat Springs
Sunlight Mountain Resort Nordic Center, Glenwood Springs
Tennessee Pass Nordic Center, Leadville
Winter Park Snowshoe Tour Center, Winter Park
Do you love to ski or snowshoe the snowy trails of Colorado? Have any other areas you would suggest people take a winter trek? Let us know in the comments below.