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4 Fun Winter Day Trips from Denver

winter day trips from denver

One of the best parts of living in Denver is that you get the best of both worlds – a big city with stunning nature and epic adventures a quick drive away. If you’re looking for a winter day trip outside of the traditional ski towns, we rounded up four places close to Denver that are great to explore in cold weather.


Boulder is a no-brainer for the list of best winter day trips from Denver for three main reasons. The first is its load of outdoor winter activities, which include sledding, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing around the trails surrounding the city. The city has more than 31,000 acres of parks stocked with 200+ miles of trails.

The second is its load of indoor winter activities – warm up in the city’s wide range of restaurants or dance the night away at a concert or live music bar. The third is its location, which is a quick, 30-mile jaunt northwest of Denver. The drive will take you less than 45 minutes if you avoid rush hour.

Buena Vista

Mountains, mountains, and more mountains are the most prominent things you’ll note about Buena Vista. If you’re into snowmobiling or cross-country skiing among snowy peaks, this city is an awesome place to have as a home base during your trip. If Denver is looking cloudy and grey, you’ll dig the sunny weather and moderate temperatures of Buena Vista.

The Great Continental Divide is a major highlight of this town, with breathtaking scenic drives during any season. Located about 116 miles southwest of Denver, good traffic can get you to Buena Vista in a couple of hours.

Cañon City

winter day trips from denver canon city

The world-famous Royal Gorge is on the list of wonders in Cañon City, with a winter train ride a must for your agenda. Cañon City is also surrounded by over a million acres of national forest that are full of trails to explore.

Those who enjoy historical stuff may dig a visit to the area’s Colorado Prison Museum, built in a former prison that the state’s first female inmate once called home. Cañon City is 115 miles from Denver, just shy of a two-hour drive south and slightly west.

Estes Park

The Colorado town of Estes Park may have fewer than 7,000 residents, but it has a huge draw due to its location. The tiny town serves as the headquarters for Rocky Mountain National Park, which is an epic place to visit winter and summer alike.

Winter activities in the 265,000-acre park range include sledding, tubing, ice climbing, snowshoeing, and wildlife watching. Estes Park is about 70 miles northwest of Denver – around a 90-minute drive.

Winter day trips from Denver can be an awesome way to break out of your routine and explore the outdoors. If you’re starting to plan your summer adventures too, contact American Adventure Expeditions to learn more about our rafting and mountain adventure trips.