There may not be cities on the Western Slope with hundreds of thousands of people, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to do. Winter on the Western Slope of Colorado holds many opportunities for adventure and fun. You may have to travel some, but not far! We are so lucky to live where we do because The Western Slope is full of great towns with great adventure. A few of these towns you can find adventure in include; Glenwood, Ouray, Telluride, Ridgway, Crested Butte, Grand Junction, and Montrose. Here are some of the top activities to enjoy throughout the winter months.
#1- Skiing, Snowboarding and cross-country skiing
There are many places to ski, snowboard, or cross-country ski, but some of the most popular on the western slope are Powderhorn Mountain Resort, Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Telluride Ski Resort and The Black Canyon National Park. Powderhorn is a great resort for downhill skiing or snowboarding. Powderhorn receives an average snowfall of 250 inches a year and has 42 different trails for all skill levels. Crested Butte averages 300 inches of snow per year and has 121 trails on 1,547 acres of skiable land. Telluride has the most snow, as well as trails with 309 inches of snow being the average per year, and a total of 148 trails on more than 2,000 acres. The Black Canyon is popular for cross-country skiing with multiple routes and beautiful views. The park rangers also offer a free adventure every Saturday at 10 a.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. mid January-mid March.
#2- Hot Springs
Hot springs aren’t just summer destinations. The Western Slope offers some popular hot springs in Ouray, Ridgway, Glenwood, Pagosa and Dunton. The Ouray Hot Springs Pool just underwent a multi-million dollar renovation. The Ouray Hot Springs now has five(5) pools ranging from 78 to 106 degrees, all with views of the beautiful San Juan Mountains. The Hot Springs also features an inflatable obstacle course, and a 12 foot climbing wall. Another Hot Spring just neighboring The Ouray Hot Springs Pool is Orvis Hot Springs in Ridgway. This Hot Springs has six(6) different natural lithium soaking areas ranging from 100 to 114 degrees. Beware that this hot springs is slightly different and clothing/swimwear is optional here. The Glenwood Hot Springs Resort. This world’s largest hot springs pool has been around since 1888, and includes fifteen(15) different minerals in the water that are good for the body. The Springs Resort and Spa in Pagosa Springs is the worlds deepest geothermal hot spring and has 23 different pools ranging from 79 to 108 degrees. Last but not least Dunton Hot Springs, located deep in the San Juan Mountains. Dunton offers six(6) different high mineral content pools ranging from 85 to 106 degrees.
#3- Ice Climbing
Does climbing up a frozen wall appeal to you? Or perhaps watching someone else climb a frozen wall, because I know that’s not something I’m going to attempt. Whether you want to climb, or watch The Ouray Ice Park in Ouray, CO is perfect for this. Ouray is home to the world’s first official ice park, offering more than 200 ice and mixed climbs. The park hosts an annual Ice Fest in early January. If you are just started out, or wanting to learn how to ice climb try Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride. These falls are the tallest free-falls in Colorado and they offer guides for beginners.
# 4- Sledding
Best part about this adventure? It’s FREE! Another great thing about it is you can do it almost anywhere. Grab your snow gear, hot chocolate, sled or tube and head out to find your sledding hill. Or visit some of the more popular places to sled. Powderhorn Mountain Resort(Mesa) is a popular with its new banked-turn course. Firecracker Hill in Telluride is the place for you if you would rather use a sled over a tube. The Telluride Town Park has designated hills just for this. One more popular sledding destination on the Western Slope is Cerro Summit, just fourteen(14) miles from Montrose. Cerro Summit has an elevation of 8,042ft so you’ll be sure to grab some speed sledding down this pass.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment with stories/experiences you have from any of these destinations or email me any pictures you have!