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11 Must-see Snowy Winter Hikes Near Denver Colorado

Winter is my favorite season for photography. There are a few challenges when it comes to navigating the winter landscapes though, so be sure to wear proper gear and check avalanche safety/weather conditions before you go adventuring!


1. Loveland Pass

This area is one of my all time favorites in any season. Each season brings a new landscape. You can hike or backcountry ski in this pass. This pass is prone to lots of avalanches though, so just be careful and check the forecasts before you go. The views are incredible and you don't have to work much for them. Try to go here early winter (late December) to avoid the snow buildup on the mountain pass.

loveland pass in the winter from aerial shot


2. Brainard Lake

This hike is always just so beautiful. I love this whole region of Colorado because of the great opportunities for Moose sightings and other wildlife. There are skiiers here, but the trail is pretty open and accessible during the winter. They close the closer trailhead parking lot, which adds some mileage, but I still consider it worth it!


3. Butler Gulch Trail

This trail is super scenic and not too far from Denver. Just be mindful on the trail; we saw skiers, snowboarders, and snowmobilers (and tons of off-leash dogs). I would say this one is great if your dog isn't reactive. If you step off the trail you can find some pretty deep snow which is nice, the main trail is usually heavily packed down so you can do it with just your snow boots or hiking shoes!


4. Forsythe Canyon

This hike is so gorgeous when the waterfall is frozen over. I recommend early winter though because after a large snowstorm the waterfall can become difficult to see. The hike is very easy, but you do have to go on a little bit of a dirt road to access the trailhead, so make sure to have an AWD. The trail was very icy when I went, so i'd recommend microspikes.

5. St Mary's Glacier

This is my go-to hike when friends are visiting. I'd say it's good if the weather is clear, but don't go if it's windy or snowing because the view will be completely obstructed. I like this hike more in the summer, but it's so close to Denver and easy to do that it makes it a top favorite of mine. This hike always has people on it, so you might like it more if you enjoy being around others for safety purposes. If you're looking for solitude you definitely won't find much of it on this hike.


6. Windy Point

This hike is just outside Frisco and Breckenridge, so if you're skiing nearby and need to tire your dog out or want a quick easy hike this one is perfect! It follows along the water and is has some great views of the mountains.



7. Squaw Mountain Fire Lookout

This hike is relatively close to Denver and the location is ideal for a weekend drive because it mostly avoids the I-70 ski traffic. The trail is a fire service road, but when it's covered in snow it's actually quite nice and wide. I would recommend this hike for if you need extra space on the trail for multiple dogs. The views are beautiful on a clear sunny day too. Enjoy!


8. Twin Lakes

This beautiful lake is completely frozen over during the winter, but there is a nice trail that parallels the lake. If you're staying nearby or making a long roadtrip for the day, then I definitely recommend checking out this stunning hike. This spot is awesome for drone filming and other winter recreational activities like ice fishing!


9. Chief Mountain

This trail is also located in Evergreen, not far from the Squaw Mt. trailhead. It's a much more narrow trail though, so it's a little difficult if you need extra space. The views are great and spacious at the top though, and it's pretty short for the views you get!


10. Herman Gulch Trail

This hike is definitely harder to do as winter goes on, so I recommend early winter, like November or December. I would also say the incline at the beginning is pretty tough. I enjoyed the breathtaking scenery though as the trail opens up about a few miles in. I would be cautious during avalanche season and make sure to check conditions beforehand and be prepared. This trailhead is right off of I-70, so it's very easy to access if the roads are bad and no need for AWD.

herman gulch hike winter


11. Clinton Gulch or Mayflower Gulch

These are right near each other, with Mayflower being the more popular one. If you want to fly your drone, go to Clinton gulch, there will be way less people. This is right off the highway, so super easy to access in the wintertime. It's near Copper Ski Resort and twin lakes.

a girl and her dog at clinton gulch



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Hi! I'm Jackie and my dog is Sora. I work remote as an engineer, but I love to spend my free time in nature and by traveling to new places. I take my camera wherever I go, and sometimes my drone.

Somewhere With Sora is a Seattle-based lifestyle and travel blog that provides helpful travel and adventure tips for all kinds of trips, with or without the dogs.

Let me help you plan your next trip!

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