Every winter the mountains of Colorado receive fluffy snow that coats the ground and dusts pine trees. With gorgeous mountain scenery and wide-open fields and meadows that lay blanketed with white powdery snow, these are the pristine conditions that every snowmobile enthusiast dreams of. This winter Colorado snowmobiling will surely be a great way to get outdoors and socially distance.
Header image courtesy Lisa Seaman Photography/Miles Partnership and the Colorado Tourism Office.
Did you know that Colorado has over 2,700 miles of groomed snowmobile trails? That should keep you busy all winter long!
But don’t worry, there are also plenty of rugged, ungroomed trails for the adventurist that likes to live life on the edge. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you’re sure to find a trail that’s right for your level.
Many of the trails that are mentioned below have tours where you can rent your equipment should you decide to leave yours at home. Here’s a list of some of the best snowmobiling destinations in Colorado.
Please note that a tour is recommended if you haven’t ever snowmobiled before. You will be glad there is someone experienced to help dig you out the first time you get your snowmobile stuck.
On countless occasions, Grand Lake has been given recognition as the snowmobile capital of Colorado. In fact, the trails have been ranked as one of the top 15 best destination trails in the entire nation. So it only makes sense that this location was at the top of the list.
Check out Grand Adventures for both Snowmobile Tours and rentals.
The town of Grand Lake even allows snowmobiles on their roads during the winter. This is something that is rare even for the state of Colorado. The trails start off on the western part of the Rocky Mountain National Forest. Then they make their way towards the Arapaho National Forest.
For beginners, start out with Whiskey Park. Here there are plenty of meadows and open country so that you can get better acquainted with your snowmobile. After that, there’s the Gravel Mountain route that joins up with Whiskey Park. This will take you to a whopping elevation of 11,768 feet.
As your snowmobiling experience is coming to an end, be sure to head over to one of Colorado’s “great lakes” for some ice fishing. Whether it’s Shadow Mountain Lake or Lake Granby that you choose, you’ll come across salmon, rainbow trout, Mackinaw trout, and more.
Insider Tip: In our opinion, Grand County has some of the best cabins rentals in the state of Colorado. This is the place to get away from it all and enjoy either snow sports, or summer blue skies.
Located 65 miles west of Denver within the Arapaho National Forest, Winter Park has miles and miles of backcountry snowmobile trails. These cover an area of more than 13,000 acres.
The trails are ideal for beginners and intermediate riders alike. And there are plenty of amazing views of Fraser Valley and Winter Park, especially if you ride on up to the Continental Divide that reaches 12,000 ft.
Buena Vista Area Snowmobiling Trails
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you. But snowmobiling is one of the best ways to explore the town of Buena Vista and Chaffee County’s backcountry. There are hundreds of miles of groomed paths. As well as unmaintained routes you can venture throughout the San Isabel Forest and across the Continental Divide.
This snowmobiling experience is fun for all riders no matter your experience. And the mountainous views will keep you returning year after year.
The town of Basalt wasn’t much of anything other than a railroad stop a little over 100 years ago. But today, it’s a touristy area and is also known for its recreational activities.
Basalt has snowmobile trails that are ungroomed. But you’ll find plenty of places to ride as long as you stay on the Forest Service roads. The Basalt Mountain and Cottonwood Pass are your most worthy trail choices. They are located about 5 miles north of town.
Buffalo and Rabbit Ears Pass
At Buffalo and Rabbit Ears Pass, you’ll have four main trails to choose from that combine for over 200 miles of snowmobile fun.
Let’s not forget the unbelievable views that you’ll encounter there as well. For those certain thrill-seekers that are more experienced when it comes to snowmobiling, I’d encourage you to check out the more advanced trails that you’ll find in Walden.
The mountain scenery in Grand Mesa National Forest doesn’t get any prettier than during the winter. So thankfully there are a number of different snowmobile trails that will allow you to do a bit of exploring.
Here you will find 5 main trails that have a wide range in difficulty. All will lead you to some breathtaking sights and destinations. You’ll also find several snowmobiling tours and rentals that have all the gear that you’ll need.
Grand Mesa boasts the record for the largest flattop mountain on the planet. This is already pretty impressive in and of itself. But snowmobiling takes that Guinness record to an entirely different level of epic, especially during the winter.
Located in western Colorado, Grand Mesa has over 800 miles of snowmobile trails. These receive as much as 35 feet of snow every year!
Also worthy of mentioning, the landscape there is among the most beautiful scenery in the entire state. Note that several of these trails are also shared with cross country skiers at certain crossings. So steer clear of the blue marked paths.
The Gunnison National Forest, located in the south-central part of Colorado. Black Canyon’s snow park has different trails suitable for riders of all levels of experience. You’ll pass by some of the tallest peaks in the state that offer stunning views. And also venture through the depths of the Black Canyon and Gunnison.
For the daredevils that have a bit more experience under their belts, there are plenty of hilly ungroomed trails throughout the meadows.
Insider Tip: This is one of Colorado’s four national parks, and well worth a visit during either summer or winter.
The city of Durango is a fascinating place to visit no matter what time of year. But it too, is an excellent (and popular) snowmobiling destination. The trails are well maintained. They will take you through large wide-open meadows and up around snow-covered mountaintops.
There are also plenty of snowmobiling tours that you can choose from if you choose to rent your equipment instead of bringing your own. When you’re wrapping up, there’s plenty of eateries and neat little shops for you to check out afterward.
Insider Tip: There are plenty of fun things to do in Durango with your family.
Vail Area Snowmobiling
Nova Guides is one of the better known snowmobiling outfitters in the Vail area. Many of their tours start at the historic Camp Hale near Leadville and take guests through the pristine White River National Forest. Shuttles depart from Vail, Beaver Creek and Avon.
Insider Tip: Here’s what Vail winter 2020-2021 will look like!
Aspen/ Snowmass Snowmobiling
If you’ve ever dreamed of the ultimate snowmobiling adventure in Colorado, then you will want to head to Snowmass. The outfitters here have a great reputation and the landscape is known for being beyond beautiful. You can go snowmobiling around different trails that wind and groove. You’ll see frozen waterfalls and much more.
A snowmobile tour is an ideal way to see the magnificent winter backcountry of Aspen Snowmass, the striking Maroon Bells, or the hills above Lenado.
Copper Mountain Snowmobiling
Going on an adventure should be something you remember for the rest of your life. Copper Mountain Snowmobiling gives you the ideal backcountry escape. The amount of snowfall this location gets makes it perfect for snowmobiling.
Vail Pass, located between Vail and Copper Mountain is a popular area for snowmobilers.
Colorado Snowmobile Association
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of all the best snowmobile trails in the state. But this a list of Colorado Snowmobiling options that you can check out.
Be sure to check out the Colorado Snowmobile Association for their trail and safety recommendations.
Other Colorado Winter Sports
There is no lack of fun in the Colorado snowy winter. From sledding and snow tubing and dog sledding to ice skating, snowshoeing and, of course, skiing, there is sure to be a sport that your family will love.
Find our our favorite things to do in Colorado with kids!