Winter in Colorado Springs: Embracing the Season


From snow-capped peaks to glittering holiday lights, the city comes alive during the Colorado Springs Winter season. Outdoor adventurers rejoice with ample opportunities for snowshoeing, ice climbing, and more against the backdrop of stunning winter scenery. The local culture shines through at winter markets, festivals, and beloved traditions like the Old Colorado City Christmas stroll. Take in the unique wildlife and capture stunning winter photography before warming up at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s brilliant light displays. Colorado Springs invites you to embrace the winter season in all its glory.


  • Colorado Springs transforms into a winter wonderland with stunning natural scenery and abundant seasonal activities.
  • Outdoor adventures like snowshoeing and ice climbing abound, along with beloved local traditions and brilliant light displays.
  • Wildlife sightings, winter photography, local cuisine, and charming holiday markets round out the quintessential winter experience.

Local Experiences and Culture

Beyond the wealth of outdoor adventures, Colorado Springs’ local charm makes winter truly special.

Local artisans sell their crafts like woven winter accessories and carved wooden decorations at holiday markets in Acacia Park and Rock Ledge Ranch. Downtown comes alive with the sights and sounds of carolers, chestnuts roasting on open fires, and the smell of mulled cider during events like the Downtown Holiday Lighting Celebration.

The Old Colorado City Christmas Stroll brings Victorian-era history to life with carolers dressed in period costumes, free horse-drawn carriage rides, and old-timey magic shows. You can even chat with Santa at the historic Bancroft Park. The neighborhood’s local eateries, like Marigold Cafe and Bakery, serve up seasonal specials from pumpkin bisque to gingerbread cake.

No winter visit is complete without experiencing a local festival. From late November to early December, the Colorado Springs WinterFest at Rock Ledge Ranch offers free ice skating, craft demonstrations from glass blowing to blacksmithing, and opportunities to meet rescued wildlife from hawks to foxes.

Here are some of the best places nearby for great local experiences:

  • Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
  • Downtown Colorado Springs
  • Old Colorado City
  • Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Outdoor Adventures

Adrenaline junkies rejoice as Colorado Springs serves up no shortage of outdoor action despite the dropping mercury.

Strap on your snowshoes or cross-country skis to explore the snow-covered trails of North Cheyenne Canon Park and Garden of the Gods. Spot herds of elk and bighorn sheep along the way. For a more challenging trek, ascend the slopes of Pikes Peak to breathtaking vistas over fresh blankets of powder.

Ice climbers flock to frozen waterfalls like Helen Hunt Falls and the Seven Falls in the nearby Broadmoor Resort. With hundreds of established routes ranging from beginner to advanced, the possibilities are truly endless. Local outfitters like Colorado Mountain School offer classes and guided excursions.

If speed is more your style, hop on a snowmobile to race across the remote trails of Mueller State Park and Eleven Mile State Recreation Area. Riders can reach exhilarating speeds but must exercise caution in avalanche terrain. Always check forecast warnings before heading out.

Here are some great nearby places you may want to add to your Winter bucket list:

  • Pikes Peak
  • Garden of the Gods
  • Cripple Creek
  • Red Rock Canyon
  • Glen Eyrie Castle
  • Bear Creek Regional Park
  • Manitou Springs

For an adventure that’s a little farther away, here are some must-see attractions throughout the state of Colorado:

  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Estes Park
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Steamboat Springs
  • Black Canyon
  • Glenwood Springs
  • Hanging Lake
  • Breckenridge
  • Aspen Snowmass

Winter Wildlife and Nature

While frigid temperatures may drive some animals into hibernation, hardy wildlife thrives amidst Colorado Springs’ winter landscape.

The golden eagles and peregrine falcons that nest at the Garden of the Gods use winter hunting grounds in the adjacent open plains. Scan the skies around dusk or dawn for the best sightings. You may also spot elusive bobcats tracking through the snowy woods of Palmer Park or napping in evergreen trees.

At the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, many exhibits like Wolf Woods and Primate Panorama remain open. Watch snow leopards prowl and arctic foxes play. You can even observe the zoo’s reindeer herd, named for Santa’s own entourage – Dasher, Dance, and company.

Photographers flock to capture stunning winter vistas like snow-dusted red rock formations in Garden of the Gods and icicle-lined frozen waterfalls in North Cheyenne Canon. Crisp blue skies create ideal conditions for astrophotography and stargazing on clear nights. Popular spots include Red Rock Canyon and the open meadows of Bear Creek Regional Park.

Winter Events and Festivities

From brilliant light shows to old-fashioned street fairs, Colorado Springs locals know how to celebrate the season.

The Broadmoor Seven Falls Winter Lights illuminates the snowy cliffs and frozen waterfalls with over 1 million dazzling bulbs and interactive displays like the Winter Princess tower. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Electric Safari lights up over 50 animal sculptures that visitors can view from a ride on the heated Jungle Express Train.

Manitou Springs brings Mardi Gras to the Rockies with its free Snowdown Festival in late January. Costumed revelers parade down Manitou Avenue alongside extravagant floats. Afterward, participants can enter the coffin races or brave the icy plunge in the town’s frigid pool during the Polar Bear Swim.

The Festival of Lights Parade in downtown Colorado Springs kicks off the holiday season with brightly lit floats, music, and local performers. Neighborhoods like Old Colorado City and Monument also host smaller parades for an old-fashioned dose of Christmas charm.

Winter Sports and Activities

While Colorado Springs offers no shortage of outdoor winter adventures, visitors can also partake in more casual sports and activities around town.

Lace up your skates at Acacia Park’s outdoor ice rink right in the heart of downtown. Admission is free, including skate rentals courtesy of community sponsors. Neighborhood parks like Cottonwood Creek and Panorama also offer free ice rinks.

Snowshoe under the ponderosa pines with a naturalist guide through Bear Creek Nature Center. Their team leads 2-hour excursions exploring winter plant identification, animal tracking, and more. All equipment is provided free of charge.

Mueller State Park’s Winter Adventure Getaway package includes discounted equipment rentals for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and fat tire biking on scenic alpine trails. Visitors can refuel with hot beverages, soups, and sandwiches at the Warming Hut.

Winter Travel Tips

While Colorado Springs generally sees milder winter temperatures due to its lower elevation, cold snaps and snowstorms can still take travelers by surprise.

Visitors venturing into higher mountain areas should come equipped with tire chains or traction control, warm layers, emergency supplies, and sufficient fuel. Check road conditions and weather forecasts from the National Weather Service before heading out.

In town, snowplow crews work diligently to clear main city roads but icy patches still form. Exercise caution and avoid driving during active snowstorms. Instead, use free public transportation like the Mountain Metropolitan Transit bus system.

Many parks allow winter access but may close temporarily for severe weather. Some higher-elevation trailheads, like the Pikes Peak Highway, are only open seasonally, depending on snowpack depth. Always confirm accessibility before your visit.

Embracing Colorado Springs Winter

With stunning vistas, exhilarating adventures, and charming traditions, Colorado Springs shines in the winter season. Visitors who take advantage of all its unique offerings open themselves to special memories that simply don’t exist the rest of the year.

So whether you prefer peaceful nature walks or heart-racing extreme sports, embrace winter in the Pikes Peak region. Catch a spectacular sunrise from the Garden of the Gods, then warm up by the fire with a cup of cocoa – you may never want to leave.


How do I access Pikes Peak in winter?

The Pikes Peak Highway is only open seasonally from late spring to early fall. In winter, adventurers can access Pikes Peak by hiking, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing the 13-mile Barr Trail. Check conditions and prepare properly for this strenuous, high-altitude trek.

Where can I go snow tubing?

Snow tubing hills operate seasonally at Copper Mountain Resort and Frisco Adventure Park, both about an hour’s drive from Colorado Springs. Closer options include small tubing hills at the Glen at Antlers Vail Lodge in Colorado Springs and the Frisco tubing hill at Frisco Elementary School.

Does Colorado Springs get cold in winter?

Due to Colorado Springs’ moderate elevation near 6,000 feet, winter temperatures typically average a mild 30-50 degrees Fahrenheit. However, arctic cold fronts can occasionally plunge temperatures below zero, especially at night. The city sees around 60 inches of snow per year on average.

What is there to do in Colorado Springs when it’s not snowing?

On dry days, enjoy scenic drives through Garden of the Gods and Seven Falls. Check out museums like the Fine Arts Center, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum, and the Money Museum. Go ice skating at Acacia Park. Shop and dine at The Broadmoor’s European-style village, then relax in the five-star hotel’s pools, spas and amenities.

How can I view wildlife in winter?

Many animals remain active in winter, especially early mornings and evenings around dusk. Take a guided snowshoe tour through the mountains to spot elk, bighorn sheep, and more. Visit Cheyenne Mountain Zoo to see snow leopards, reindeer, arctic foxes, and other cold-weather creatures. Eagles, hawks, and falcons can often be seen hunting in open areas.


About the author

Ransom Patterson

My expertise in Colorado life extends beyond just residing here; it’s also about living actively within the community. I spend my time cycling through Denver’s trails, experimenting with local cuisines, and immersing myself in the local music scene. These activities give me a unique perspective on the cultural and outdoor offerings of Colorado. This hands-on approach allows me to provide insider tips and personal recommendations that resonate with both locals and visitors alike.