Magical Ice Castles in Colorado: A 2023-2024 Return is on the Horizon

There’s no doubt that Colorado is a winter wonderland. Best known for snowy ski slopes, the Colorado Rockies actually have much more to offer than just skiing. Tucked away in one of Colorado’s small towns is a magnificent castle built of glistening ice. Doesn’t every child (and every child at heart) want to escape our world for a magical world of ice? Even if just for an hour or evening? Set an hour or so west of Denver, in past winters you would have found the town of Dillon, home to these shimmering ice castles in Colorado. But for the 2023-2024 winter season, these magical castles will find a new home in Cripple Creek, Colorado.

Are the Ice Castles coming back to Colorado?

Yes, the organizers finally figured out a new location in Cripple Creek!

For several years the Dillon Ice Castles were a major attraction. This may have you wondering what happened to the Ice Castles in Colorado? The organizers had a rough couple of years not being able to find a new location since they were displaced from Dillon. An attempted location in Silverthorne didn’t materialize. But then, today, September 26, 2023 they announced the return of the ice castles to Colorado for the winter of 2023-2024 in a new location.

The Colorado Ice Castles will be located at 339 E Irene Avenue, Cripple Creek, CO 80813. Prices start at $16 for children and $21 for adults. Expect these to increase for holiday and perhaps even weekend dates.

Colorado Ice Castles, in the town of Dillon just before sunset.

Make your reservations early. Dress very, very warm. Then delight your senses taking in the vivid colors in the crisp winter air. Maybe even whiz down an ice slide while you are at it.

Ice Castles History

The Ice Castles are twinkling castles dreamed up by Brent Christensen. He came up with the idea after building smaller versions of these in his backyard to delight his daughter. Lucky for us, he decided it would be an interesting idea to build them on a larger scale for other to enjoy.

The first large Ice Castle was built in 2009. Since then, each winter these Ice Castles are re-built in a handful of locations around the United States and Canada.

These twinkling ice castles have been winter attractions in Colorado, New Hampshire, Utah and Wisconsin.

Each ice castle site opens as soon as the weather permits building of them in an open space outdoors. They close down once the weather becomes too warm.

Ice slides at the Ice Castles in Colorado
Be a child again and feel the cold air on your face as you slide down a sheet of ice in a colorful magic ice castle.

Cripple Creek Ice Castles: Know Before You Go

Yay! The ice castles are coming back to Colorado. The organizers made an announcement that they will be back to Colorado for the 2023-2024 winter season. But to Cripple Creek rather than Dillon.

Purchase Tickets in Advance

Last time tickets for the Ice Castles Dillon went on sale, it was at 7 a.m. I logged on about 7:20 a.m. that morning to purchase ours. Many of my preferred time slots were already sold out. I was still able to get a reservation one of our dates of choice, just slightly earlier than I had wanted.

The Ice Castles in Colorado are always a popular winter attraction and tickets will be in high demand. So, plan ahead and buy your tickets in advance! (We are checking to see if you will again be able to use discount code “insider15” for a 15% discount.)

Looking up at the sky through icicles at the Dillon Ice Castles
Take time to look up. The Ice Castles are made by “growing” icicles, many of which hang from the top of the castle.

Dress Warm

You will be standing on and surrounded by ice. It will be cold. Telling you to dress warm is an understatement.

We all wore snow pants, warm ski jackets, snow boots, gloves and hats. And, I brought along hand warmers for everyone. That may have been my biggest win of the outing.

I let my daughter wear my Sorel boots. My toes were freezing in my dated Merril snow shoes. My leather gloves did little to warm my fingers. I was very happy to be able to warm my hands in my pockets with hand warmers. Admittedly, I did have my hands out of my gloves snapping pictures much of the time.

The Ice Castles in Colorado at sunset.

Choose a Time Slot Near Dusk

You may have reason to prefer a specific time slot to visit. My preference is just before dusk. I like to arrive while the sun is still out and it is warmer. This is the best time to fly down the ice slides.

But it is ideal to get to see the Dillon Ice Castle at night. This is when the lights embedded in the castle twinkle and change color. The sight is perhaps most magical at night.

Ice Castles in Colorado at dusk
Don’t forget your camera!

Know Before You Go

It will be cold. Wear warm clothing, boots and gloves.

There is free parking right in front of the Ice Castles in Cripple Creek, and another nearby lot. Plan a little extra time to secure your parking spot.

Ice Castles in Colorado lit up at night
The Dillon Ice Castles light up at sunset.

Bring a Camera, or Phone

This is an attraction where it is hard to take a bad photo. You will certainly want to snap a few photos of the Ice Castles. And, you will probably want to take some of yourselves or the kids too. It is most certainly a selfie opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up.

Cripple Creek, Colorado

Cripple Creek is well known for its annual Ice Festival, scheduled for February 17th-25th, 2024. So the Ice Castles will fit right in. And, will be located even closer to Denver and the front range.

For a fun visit to Colorado’s high country, be sure to consider snow tubing or sledding. There’s also dog sledding, ice skating, snowmobiling and winter hiking.

Have you visited the Ice Castles in Colorado? What about any of the other locations? Did we miss any tips? Tell us in the comments below!

Magical Ice Castles in Colorado: A 2023-2024 Return is on the Horizon

Liana Moore

Liana Moore is a third-culture kid with a hangover from those days that is a severe case of wanderlust. She is more comfortable driving the cliffs of Amalfi, Italy or the dirt roads of Costa Rica or attempting to decipher the street signs of Osaka, Japan than navigating the theme parks of Disney World. But she loves it all. She doesn't believe a vacation is complete without an adventure. Her husband and kids know well that "adventure" often is code for mishap or challenge and it usually results in a good story. They seek outdoor experiences whether in the mountains, on a beach or in the jungle of a tropical country. Her favorite vacation is... all the ones she hasn't yet taken, as well as those she plans on taking again. And, that list is so, so long. But she continues to extensively explore her home state of Colorado, spends lots of time wandering Texas, California, New Mexico, Costa Rica, Mexico, Norway and has even explored Kazakhstan.

4 thoughts on “Magical Ice Castles in Colorado: A 2023-2024 Return is on the Horizon

  • October 11, 2022 at 2:57 am

    Beautiful ice castles. Hope they come back to Dillon soon.

    • September 10, 2023 at 3:38 am

      I wish to come this winter 2024.
      Can you mail If it is open this year.

      • September 29, 2023 at 11:10 am

        Hi Israel, The ice castles just announced their return for the winter of 2023-2024 to a new Colorado location — Cripple Creek. We’ve updated the article with the new information above.

      • October 26, 2023 at 8:48 am

        It will be open this year, in a different location, in Cripple Creek.


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