One way to beat the crowds at the downhill ski areas is to go cross country skiing. During the winter and spring months, the expansive terrain of Rocky Mountain National Park offers many incredible outdoor experiences for cross country skiers. Discover where to cross country ski in RMNP and start trekking towards your Rocky Mountain adventure today!
About Cross Country Skiing in RMNP
Moderate to deep snow fills most of the high valleys from December into May, and skiable spring snow covers much of the tundra throughout the winter months. The snow is usually a dry powder through March, and many winter days are clear and sunny.
Many of the snowshoe trails in the park are also great cross-country trails as well. For beginners, you will want to find a trail that is relatively flat and well-maintained. Also, be sure to follow the trail closely, some trail signs can be covered by recent snowfalls.
Trail Ridge Road
Trail Ridge Road is a popular driving route in the park throughout the summer months and in the winter it is a great route to begin with. The road in winter is partially closed to vehicles – making it a great destination for cross country skiers. Enjoy mountain-top views and Hidden Valley below, complete with the sub-alpine forest surrounding you.
For the ultimate in cross country skiing, hit the trails at Glacier Gorge. Accessible via Bear Lake and the Glacier Gorge Trailhead, the hike to Mills Lake through Glacier Gorge is spectacular and relatively easy in regards to elevation gain.
A popular hike in the summer, Bear Lake is also a favorite for winter adventures looking to snowshoe and cross-country ski. A flat trail around the lake is a great place to start your route. From there, the trail leads to several other backcountry lakes including Nymph Lake, Emerald Lake, and Dream Lake.
Sprague Lake is also popular in the summer as well as winter for cross country skiing. Begin at Glacier Basin Campground where you can catch the 3.3-mile loop to Sprague Lake. It is perfect for beginners and families with little elevation gain and a well-defined trail.
Need equipment? Stop by the Estes Park Mountain Shop to get set up with a Cross Country Ski Package. For the best experience, always wear goggles or sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen when heading out on the winter trails—snow can reflect more light than you may expect.
Stay at Rocky Mountain Resorts
It’s easy to find where to cross country ski in RMNP when you stay at Rocky Mountain Resorts. With our properties just minutes away from the entrance to the park, your winter adventures aren’t far away!
Guests can look forward to unwinding in one of our rustic mountain retreats that include cabins with a private hot tub and cottages on the river. We have you covered for your winter getaway to Estes Park with our cozy accommodations and our winter special!