Explore the beauty of Rocky Mountain National Park on snowshoes and discover a hidden beauty you can’t see from a car. It’s easy to get started with snowshoeing and sports shops continually reassure first-timers: If you can walk, you can snowshoe. To find out how to get started, stop in at any number of shops in Estes Park and ask for advice. Participate in a guided tour or strike out on your own. You can rent a pair of snowshoes for as little as $5 a day (poles are an extra $1). If you need a pair of waterproof boots, those can be rented as well. Knowledgeable salespeople will guide you to where the best snowshoeing is that day. Another option is to stop at Rocky Mountain National Park’s Beaver Meadows Visitor Center and get advice from one of the many information officers who have the latest information.In the national park you’ll use the same natural trails (they’re not groomed) used for summer hikes. Many of the most popular trails have starting points in the Bear Lake area, primarily because of the numerous connecting routes from that point. With snowshoes you can head up steep slopes and across frozen rivers and windswept lakes because of the distinct crampon designs that grip the snow as you walk.In addition to the Bear Lake area, many outdoor enthusiasts find the Wild Basin area south of the eastern entrances to Rocky Mountain National Park to be particularly alluring. From the parking lot area you can follow the 2.7 mile trail Ouzel Falls Trail (one way) The initial elevation is at 8,500 feet and the elevation gain is 950 feet.Other recommended trails include the short trek around Lily Lake south of Estes Park on Colorado Hwy 7 or the easy trail around Sprague Lake off Bear Lake Road.Keep in mind: going it alone isn’t the only way to experience Rocky Mountain National Park through snowshoeing. You can see the park through the eyes of an expert with a guided trip with Yellow Wood Guiding. Their Nature Snowshoeing Safari searches for elk and snowshoe hares, follows the wintering birds, examines how the plants and trees survive the winter and reads tracks in the snow. Kaiyote Tours offers snowshoeing treks around Bear Lake (easy) to Loch Vale (moderate).Rent snowshoes and inquire about additional guided trips at the Estes Park Mountain Shop. Kirk’s Mountain Adventures offers guided 3, 6 or 8-hour treks while the Warming House leads distinctive destination oriented guided hikes. You can learn about these providers in the snowshoeing section of our web site.No matter how you choose to see the sights, striking out to explore the magic of winter landscapes is just one footstep away.
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