Wintering in Colorado: Outdoor Family Fun!
With school back in full swing and summer an almost distant memory, it’s easy to lose the motivation to get outside as a family. But between the hustle and bustle of the holidays, school breaks and travel schedules, we think it’s more important than ever to make reconnecting, recharging, and revisiting the great outdoors a priority… and we’re here to help! We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite wintertime activities, all free or low cost. All guaranteed to bring your family together for a day of memory-making and outdoor fun!
Go on a family hike + scavenger hunt!
Pinterest is a wealth of ideas here (just search for “Winter Scavenger Hunt”), and this one is especially great for your youngest family members. Find your favorite hiking trail armed with a list of 10-20 items for your camper to identify during the hike: from maple leaves and pine cones, to animal tracks, birds and berries. A scavenger hunt is a great way to teach kids to soak up their surroundings!
Depending on your location, some of our favorite, year-round, front range hiking spots include:
- Betasso Preserve in Boulder: a roughly 3 mile loop, with options to extend, bathrooms and picnic areas.
- Matthew Winters Park in Golden: over 9 miles of trails, including stunning vistas and views of Red Rocks Park.
- Lair of the Bear in Morrison: almost 400 acres of open space make up this outdoor wonderland – usually teeming with wildlife – including picnic facilities.
Colorado is home to some pretty impressive tubing parks – most ski areas have one complete with multiple courses and magic carpet rides that take the work out of walking back up the top of the hill. But if you don’t want to fight ski traffic or shell out the money just to wait in line, the Denver/Boulder Metro area has some pretty thrilling hills! Any tire store will sell inexpensive rubber tubes, or do as your parents did and grab a trash can lid or cookie sheet as a makeshift sled! Some of our local favorites include:
- Scott Carpenter Park, a popular spot in Boulder!
- Robinson Park, a family-favorite in Southeast Denver
- Ruby Hill Park, another favorite, in South Denver
Try ice fishing!
For the junior anglers in your family, a day spent ice fishing will be one they’ll never forget! Some of Colorado’s most popular lakes for ice fishing are located inside state parks, so the scenery is almost guaranteed to be top notch! Make sure to get a permit beforehand and know that ice fishing will always carry some risk. Look for clear, blue ice and bring a drill to measure depth before bringing children onto the ice. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife website has a great article on ice fishing safety.
Get camping together… indoors!
Some days there’s just no getting around it: Colorado can occasionally get miserably cold! When that’s the case, foster your family’s love of camping year round by setting up indoors! Choose a weekend and put it on the calendar to build excitement and practice planning. Move furniture out of the way, or have everyone in the family contribute to building a grand blanket tent. Serve dinner in the tent, take turns telling stories with the flashlight, or roast s’mores over a gas range. The only rule? Just like if you were in nature: a night free of electronics!
Go Ice Skating!
Ice skating rinks abound throughout the front range, so dust off your old ice skates and head out as a family to hit the ice! We recommend the Southwest Rink at Skyline Park in Denver: skate for free if you have your own skates, or rent them for only $2! Check out www.downtowndenver.com for a list of events.
Find last year’s list of Colorado favorites here.
What are your favorite things to do in Colorado in the winter time? Add them below or join the conversation on our Facebook page!