Hit the Trail with Landmark: Snowshoeing in Colorado

Hit the Trail

The first time we went snowshoeing, we underestimated how fun it would be. We wanted to try something new and never expected to love it so much. Now we go each winter!

Over the years, snowshoeing has gone from a practical way to traverse the snow to a popular pastime that all ages and skill levels can enjoy. We love it because it’s affordable and a great way to explore the snowy backcountry without disturbing the local wildlife. Plus, snowshoeing through a quiet, snowy forest can feel pretty magical!

Colorado is one of our favorite places to snowshoe since the snow is powdery and the skies are sunny. We especially love going to Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park! Whether you love snowshoeing or you’re considering trying it out for the first time, we have a few tips for a great excursion in Estes Park, Colorado.

Know before you go

Before you head out snowshoeing, we have a couple of safety tips.

  • Check road and trail conditions before you go. You don’t want to get caught unprepared on icy roadways or experience white-out conditions while driving. We recommend calling the park visitor center or checking their website for up-to-date info.
  • Ask park rangers for information on avalanche risks in the area, or check the Colorado Avalanche Information Center website. Anytime you head into the snowy backcountry, avalanches are a risk. You can also check out some avalanche safety tips here.
  • Keep GPS handy and download a trail map on your phone. Or keep a printed map with you at all times. We like All Trails for easy-to-follow maps, but the park visitor center will have maps as well. When there’s snow, most trail markers are covered. Retracing your steps can be challenging, as snowshoe tracks often disappear as quickly as you make them due to wind or fresh snowfall.
  • Wear weatherproof layers. This suggestion may seem obvious, but it’s easy to underestimate the cold when the skies are sunny and blue. Be sure to wear waterproof layers and warm boots. There’s nothing more miserable than being wet and cold out on the trail!

And our bonus tip is to always snowshoe with a backcountry buddy. We actually recommend this for any excursion at any time of the year. It’s safer and more fun to hit the trail with a friend!

Where to get snowshoe rentals

During winter, you can rent or purchase snowshoes at most outfitters in Estes Park. Our favorite place to rent snowshoes is at Estes Park Mountain Shop. Their snowshoe and pole rentals are only $7 for the day. The Mountain Shop staff will help you choose a pair that fits well and ensure you get the most out of your excursion.

When you stop by the Mountain Shop, tell them we say hi and check out the Landmark gear they have in stock. You can snag a National Park tee or bandana to remember your trip by!

Take the Bear Lake Trail

This scenic one-mile loop is one of our favorite places to snowshoe. The frozen lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains and evergreen trees is the perfect winter scene.

During the winter months, the road to the Bear Lake parking lot is regularly cleared. Plus, the parking lot is usually wide open. This is unheard of during the summer and a great way to experience Rocky Mountain National Park!

To get to the Bear Lake trailhead, enter the park at the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station. Then turn left onto Bear Lake Road. You’ll follow this road for about 10 miles until you reach the parking lot.

Warm up at Inkwell & Brew

Snowshoeing is super fun and super exhausting! Between the cold temps and the many leg lifts, we’re always ready for coffee or cocoa afterward.

One of our favorite local spots is Inkwell & Brew. Located in downtown Estes Park, Inkwell and Brew is your favorite bookstore meets your favorite cafe. When you go, try their cafe au lait with a slice of fresh pie! It’s the perfect afternoon pick-me-up after a full morning of snowshoeing.

When are you headed out on your snowshoeing adventure? Will you be going to Estes or trying somewhere new? We hope you have the best time traversing the winter forest and spot plenty of wildlife as you take in the views!

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