RMNP is open every day of the year and offers many opportunities for outdoor adventure, sport and play, photography, wonder and wildlife watching.
Snowshoeing is simply winter hiking with appropriate shoes and outerwear. Family friendly with no training necessary, most park trails are navigable with snowshoes. Generally, if you can hike, you can snowshoe. At the very least, you’ll need a pair of waterproof boots and snowshoes. Poles are helpful for maintaining balance, but are considered optional. Waterproof pants or gaiters help keep you warm and dry. Layers help keep you comfortable while sunscreen, sun glasses, gloves, a hat, a scarf, snacks and water make the outing more enjoyable for everyone.
If it’s your first visit to the Park in the winter or if you’d like the added fun and security of a guide, make your reservation to Snowshoe with a Ranger. On the East side of the park Free Beginning Snowshoe walks are offered each Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday from January through March, depending on conditions. Visit http://www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/ranger_led_activities.htm for details and reservation information.
Sledding, sliding and beginner boarding in Hidden Valley – the one place in Rocky where “good ol’ fashioned” sledding is allowed. No tows are provided; you walk your sled, saucer, or tube up the hill and slide down the somewhat gentle slope which is the bunny slope of the former Hidden Valley Ski Area. Skiers, snow boarders, and snowshoers may pass with caution and must slow down to yield the right-of-way to sleds. A restroom is at the bottom of the hill by the parking lot. On most weekends when there’s an attendant, a warming room is also available. Winter winds can scour the area, causing conditions to vary sometimes throughout the day. Before you go, call the Park information Office at 970-586-1206 for the latest weather, sledding conditions, and relevant general information.
Cross-country Skiing through a sun-warmed silent forest blanketed in fresh, white snow is invigorating and rejuvenating in that it pairs physical exercise with the beauty of nature. You will need skis and poles with large baskets, and waterproof pants or gaiters (or both) to help keep you warm and dry. In general, terrain and deeper snows on the west side of the park make for better for cross-country skiing, but you are welcome to strap on your skis throughout the park. The park info line 970-586-1206 is a great resource for trail information and daily weather and wind conditions.
Wildlife Watching, photography, awe and wonder. Many park roads are open in winter to provide access to the wintry world park wildlife call home. Winter is an especially good time to look for elk, mule deer, moose, and other large mammals. Elk and mule deer are most active at dusk and dawn, and are usually seen in meadow areas. Look for bighorn sheep along the Highway 34/Fall River corridor on the park’s east side. Coyotes may be seen any time of day. Members of the Jay family, including Steller’s jays, with their striking blue bodies and crested heads, gray jays, Clark’s nutcrackers, and the iridescent, long-tailed black-billed magpies are commonly seen in the park. Moose tend to live more on the park’s west side along the Colorado River.
If you’re not packing a sled, snowshoes, poles, or skis, it’s easy and convenient to rent what’s needed. Several shops in town offer winter equipment rental including snowshoes, cross-country skis, poles, boots, sleds, tubes, saucers, gaiters, and even stabilizers can be rented or purchased. Please ask at our Front Desk for equipment rental coupons and information.