Denver, Colorado Winter Activities


Denver, Colorado, receives an average of 60 inches of snowfall each winter. This abundance of snow transforms the city and surrounding areas into a winter wonderland, offering a wide range of activities for locals and visitors alike. From thrilling winter sports to cozy indoor retreats, the Mile High City has something for everyone during the colder months.


  • Denver offers a diverse range of winter activities, from skiing and snowboarding to ice skating and snowshoeing.
  • The city's vibrant arts and culture scene provides plenty of indoor entertainment options.
  • Cozy mountain cabins and hot springs near Denver offer a chance to relax and unwind after adventurous days.

The Thrill of Winter Sports in Denver

Denver’s proximity to the Rocky Mountains makes it an ideal destination for winter sports enthusiasts. You can easily access world-class ski resorts like Winter Park, which offers over 3,000 acres of skiable terrain. For those who prefer to stay closer to the city, Denver boasts several urban ski areas, such as Ruby Hill Rail Yard, where you can practice your skills on rails and boxes.

If skiing and snowboarding aren’t your things, you can still enjoy the thrill of gliding across the ice at one of Denver’s many outdoor ice skating rinks. The Downtown Denver Rink at Skyline Park is a popular choice, offering free skating in the heart of the city.

Embracing the Cold: Winter Festivals and Outdoor Activities

Denver’s winter festivals are a testament to the city’s vibrant community spirit. The Denver Christkindl Market, inspired by traditional German Christmas markets, features vendors selling handcrafted gifts, delicious food, and warm drinks. The Winter Park Express ski train is another beloved tradition, whisking skiers and snowboarders directly from Denver Union Station to the slopes of Winter Park Resort.

For those who want to explore the great outdoors, Denver offers a range of winter activities. You can go on a winter hike through the pristine trails of Rocky Mountain National Park, or take a guided snowmobile tour through the backcountry. Ice fishing is another popular pastime, with several lakes and reservoirs in the area offering the chance to catch trout, bass, and other fish species.

Winter Wildlife Tours and Nature Exploration

Denver’s stunning natural beauty is not diminished by the winter snow. In fact, the colder months offer a unique opportunity to witness the area’s wildlife in their winter habitats. You can take a guided wildlife tour to spot elk, bighorn sheep, and other animals as they navigate the snowy landscape.

For a truly immersive nature experience, head to one of Denver’s many parks or nature reserves. Red Rocks Park, with its iconic amphitheater and stunning rock formations, is a must-see destination year-round. In the winter, the park’s trails offer a serene and peaceful escape from the city, with opportunities for hiking, snowshoeing, and wildlife spotting.

Culinary and Craft Brew Experiences

Denver’s culinary scene is a delightful mix of traditional favorites and innovative newcomers. In the winter, you can cozy up in one of the city’s many restaurants, savoring hearty dishes like green chili stew or bison short ribs. For a sweet treat, indulge in a cup of hot chocolate or a freshly baked pastry at one of Denver’s charming coffee shops.

The city is also known for its thriving craft beer scene, with over 100 breweries to choose from. Many of these breweries offer cozy taprooms where you can sample seasonal beers and socialize with locals.

Arts, Culture, and Indoor Entertainment

When the weather outside is frightful, Denver’s indoor attractions are delightful. The city’s museums, such as the Denver Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, offer world-class exhibitions and programs. The Denver Center for the Performing Arts is another cultural hub, hosting Broadway shows, concerts, and other performances throughout the winter months.

For those who prefer retail therapy, Denver’s shopping districts offer a diverse array of options. The Cherry Creek Shopping Center is a popular destination, with over 160 stores and restaurants. The trendy RiNo (River North) Art District is another must-visit area, with its eclectic mix of galleries, boutiques, and street art.

Cozy Retreats: Mountain Cabins and Hot Springs

After a day of winter adventures, there’s nothing better than retreating to a cozy mountain cabin or soaking in a hot spring. The areas surrounding Denver offer a range of cabin rentals, from rustic log cabins to luxurious ski-in/ski-out accommodations.

For a truly rejuvenating experience, visit one of Colorado’s many hot springs. Indian Hot Springs in Idaho Springs, located just over a half hour from Denver, offers visitors the chance to relax in comfort amidst the winter weather. The Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort is another popular destination, with several pools and a full-service spa.


What is the best time to visit Denver in the winter?

The best time to visit Denver in the winter depends on your interests. December through February are the coldest months, but also offer the best snow conditions for skiing and snowboarding. November and March are shoulder months, with fewer crowds and lower prices.

Do I need a car to get around Denver in the winter?

While a car can be convenient for exploring the surrounding areas, the Mile High City has an extensive public transportation system that operates year-round. The RTD (Regional Transportation District) offers bus and light rail services throughout the city and to nearby ski resorts.

What should I pack for a winter trip to Denver?

When packing for a winter trip to Denver, be sure to bring warm, layered clothing, including a waterproof jacket, insulated boots, and thermal underwear. Don’t forget essentials like a hat, gloves, and a scarf. If you plan on skiing or snowboarding, you’ll also need to bring or rent appropriate gear.


About the author

James Ranson

I’m an editor, traveler, and fan of the great outdoors. I’ve been to all 48 continental US states, and my drives through Colorado’s rugged peaks and snowy forests (not to mention whiskey tastings in Denver!) still stand out in my memories. I’m excited to use my ten years of editing experience to develop engaging and informative guides and articles that enhance the outdoor experiences of both Colorado residents and visitors. Whether a piece is about exploring the best ski resorts, uncovering scenic trails for hiking, or finding the most inspiring drives through the Colorado Rockies, my aim is to provide comprehensive and accessible content that encourages adventure and exploration.