Directions: From Denver, head west on I-70 to the I-40 Empire/Winter Park exit. Head north on I-40 over Berthoud Pass and down through Winter Park and Fraser. When you see the sign for Snow Mountain Ranch, turn left onto 53. Follow signs to the Nordic Center, there is a fee to use the trails here.
Snow Mountain Ranch is a nice spot to play in the snow in the Winter Park area if you don't want to ski at Winter Park. The Nordic Center has groomed cross country ski trails as well as snowshoe trails. There is also a small lodge with food and gear rentals. This is a great place to take the kids.
The snowshoe hike to Columbine Point is a nice, short showshoe that will get your blood pumping, even with the minor 200 ft elevation gain (remember that snowshoes basically double your stats, making a 2 mi hike feel like a 4 mile). From the nordic center, follow the Snowshoe Hare trail to the Milligan Trail, you'll see signs pointing to Columbine Point. The destination is a gazebo at the top of an open sloping meadow with nice views of the surrounding mountains.
This is an easy snowshoe but there are many more options here, you can spend all day on the trails, or just a quick romp before retreating to the lodge for a hot drink, maybe some whiskey for the adults...
HIKES BY REGION
NATIONAL PARK HIKES
- BENT'S OLD FORT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK
- COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT
- CURECANTI NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
- DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
- FLORISSANT FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
- MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
- GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK
- HOVENWEEP NATIONAL MONUMENT
- SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- YUCCA HOUSE NATIONAL MONUMENT
- HIKES BY CATEGORY
- $UPPORT GHC
- INTERACTIVE MAP
Snow Mountain Ranch (YMCA of the Rockies)
Date Hiked: February 8, 2014
Distance: 1.8 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 200ft
Elevation Min/Max:8,661 to 8,858ft
Managing Agency: YMCA