Best places to snowshoe in Colorado

There is EPIC snow in the high country. It is a great time to get out and snowshoe. Below I have compiled a list of options by location. Mileage is all round trip.

Summit County

Mayflower Gulch near Copper Mountain 

Name Distance
Gain (ft) Notes
Rainbow Lake 3 20Part of the route is on the bike path, which may be plowed down to the pavement.
Robert's Tunnel Road 3 30Try only in good snow years since it melts quickly and you'll be on pavement.
Old Dillon Reservoir 2 150Welcome to the Arctic! The wind blows here and the trail can be blocked by a gnarly cornice. Surmounting it will make you feel like a bad ass. 
Corral Creek 1.5 400Not well marked but lovely. You have to pay a fee to park at Vail Pass.
Gold Dust5 300Out of Fairplay. Follows an old mining aqueduct. In the trees.
Sally Barber 3 405Very popular with X-country skiers. Cool mining ruin.
Placer Trail Loop 3 515Very popular with folks who live in Wildernest. No parking for outsiders. 
Mayflower Gulch 3.4 580A must do! Sawtooth peaks will blow you away. Adventurous folks can travel even further into the back bowl.
Peru Creek 6 600Long flat road that is great for skiers. Sort of boring for snowshoers but there is no avalanche danger. 
French Gulch 3.6 600Another long road with nice views.
Pennsylvania Gulch 5 700Winds up through the trees and skirts and pleasant valley. 
McCullough Gulch 3 700Short but touch me views of Quandary Peak. 
Buffalo Cabin 3 700Shares same parking area as Lilly Pad Lake. In the trees until way up Buffalo Mountain. 
Baker's Tank 6 700Looks down on the entire Ten Mile Range. Flat and straight for skiers.
Mesa Cortina 3 790Scenic Aspen grove at the beginning. Crosses several open meadows with views of the Williams Fork Range before entering a dead pine forest. 
North Ten Mile 4 835Climbs relentlessly along a creek. You'll fight for a parking spot.
Francie's Cabin 4.8 896Did this one in a white out. Views? Who knows. Ends up at the Francie's Cabin Hut. No dogs allowed near it. 
Lilly Pad Lake 3.4 900Located at the top of Wildernest. Winds through the trees to a small lake. Protected when the wind blows. 
North Rock Creek 6 900Follows a road. Aspens, snow drifts, and views. 
Deer Creek 4.6 920Also used by snowmobilers. Climbs into an incredible valley. Last time we ran into 3 bull Moose. 
Bemrose Ski Circus 3 1000Located on Hoosier Pass. Bypass the trail signs and just bushwhack up to the top of any peak you see. Views of Mt. Lincoln are world class. 
Wild Irish Mine 5.6 1,400Also used by snowmobilers. Passes the small town of Saints John and continues relentless upwards to old mining ruins. Elevation gain is not for the faint of heart. 


Mosquito Pass Road, Leadville

Name Distance
Gain (ft) Notes
County Road 3B4 300Winds through mining ruins and tailings.
Treeline Loop 3 630Totally in the trees. 
Mosquito Pass Road 4 840Kick ass views of Mt. Massive and Mt. Elbert. Climb to a small saddle or stop somewhere along the road. Local snowmobile club grooms it. 
Vance's Cabin 6 1,040Leaves from Ski Cooper. Heads to a backcountry hut.


View from the North Trail in Vail

Name Distance
Gain (ft) Notes
North Trail 4 900Parallels I-70 and can be accessed in several locations. 
Meadow Mountain 7 1,500Out of Minturn. Leaves from a tubbing center and wander across an open hillside also used by snowmobilers. 

Front Range

Emerald Lake in Rocky Mountain National park

Name Distance
Gain (ft) Notes
Pioneer Union Ditch 5 637Off of Guanella Pass. Follows old mining roads in a deep valley.
Jim Creek 6 833Near Grand Lake. 
Sourdough 6 838 Just north of Nederland. In the trees. 
Lost Lake 6 930Hessie Trailhead out of Nederland
Emerald Lake 3.4 1,000RMNP. Cross a frozen lake surrounded by twisted pines. 
Hefferman Gulch 3.5 1,000Near Echo Lake (Mt. Evans area)
Loch Vale 4.4 1,137RMNP. Hike up a frozen waterfall. Late winter is better.
Squaw Mountain 4 1,200On Squaw Pass Road out of Evergreen
Fall River Road 6 1,200Near Idaho Springs. Locals try to restrict parking.
Jones Pass 4 1,300Superlative. 
Rock Creek 4 1,500Avoid crowds on this hidden gem out of Allenspark. 

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