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Winter Park Hiking Guide

Winter Park Hiking Guide

Our Winter Park Hiking Guide covers seven spectacular summer hiking spots near Winter Park. There are trails that will meet the needs of families as well as experienced outdoor adventurers.  Trails are categorized as either: easy, intermediate, or hard. Find the Winter Park hiking adventure that’s right for you, and please remember to practice “leave no trace” principles.

Winter Park Hiking Guide: Easy Trails

Fraser River Trail
Fraser River Trail

Fraser River Trail (5.5 miles one way)

Trail Description: The Fraser River Trail is a paved trail that runs between Fraser and Winter Park Resort. This is the easiest hike/ride in the area. While the primary trail is paved, there is a secondary trail that is mostly soft-surface (which is certainly our preference). The trail from Fraser to Winter Park parallels the meadow and Hwy 40, and it runs directly through town on the sidewalks. It starts on the east side of the road as you go to Winter Park Resort and the west side of the road as you head to Fraser.

Starting Point: Winter Park Resort, Murdoch’s Shopping Center in Fraser, or Downtown Winter Park.

Driving Directions: To start at Winter Park Resort, head towards Berthoud pass out of town to the Winter Park Resort. Park anywhere at the resort and ride back towards town on Winter Park Drive, which eventually veers left. Then take your first right on Trademark Drive. You will see the Fraser River Trail on your left. From Fraser, Park at Murdoch’s and access the bike path between the shopping center and Highway 40.

Byers Peak Scenic Viewpoint
Byers Peak Scenic Viewpoint From Byers View Bench

Creekside/Flume Trail to Byers View Bench (~2 miles round trip)

Trail Description: From the St. Louis Creek Trailhead, head counterclockwise on the Creekside Trail. A well-constructed bridge crosses over St. Louis Creek after about .5 miles. You’ll go up a small climb after the bridge, take a right at the trail junction, and pass through a gorgeous meadow. A couple hundred yards after the trail intersection, you’ll encounter a bench with an amazing view of St. Louis Creek and Byers Peak. This is one of our favorite spots in all of Grand County.

Starting Point: St. Louis Creek Trailhead

Driving Directions: From Winter Park, take Hwy 40 toward Fraser. Turn left at the light near Safeway once you enter Fraser. Pass under the bridge for the train tracks, then take a right at the fork towards St. Louis Creek Rd. At the stop sign, take a left. Follow the road for about 3 miles to the St. Louis Creek Campground entrance. Hang a left to enter the campground, and park in the parking area on the left before the campground.

Winter Park Hiking Guide: Intermediate Trails

Monarch Lake Loop Trail (4.1 miles round trip)

Trail Description: The Monarch Lake Loop Trail is a 4.1-mile loop trail located near Granby, Colorado. The trail loops around the lake and is moderate in difficulty. It is perfect for a family outing. The trail is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Starting Point: Monarch Lake Trailhead

Driving Directions: Monarch Lake is in the Arapaho National Recreation Area. From US Hwy 40, turn north and go six miles northwest of Granby on Hwy 34. Turn east on County Road 6 (Forest Road 125, Arapaho Bay Road) and go nine miles to the parking area, which has room for about 40 cars.

Creekside Flume Trail Loop (~5 miles round trip)

Trail Description: This is a relatively easy five-mile loop that follows the meandering St. Louis Creek. The trail is great for a wildlife viewing or a beginner/intermediate mountain bike ride. Moose and deer are frequently in the marshy areas next to the creek. The area is also popular with fishermen looking to catch brook trout.

Starting Point: St. Louis Creek Trailhead

Driving Directions: From Winter Park, take Hwy 40 toward Fraser. Turn left at the light near Safeway once you enter Fraser. Pass under the bridge for the train tracks, then take a right at the fork towards St. Louis Creek Rd. At the stop sign, take a left. Follow the road for about 3 miles to the St. Louis Creek Campground entrance. Hang a left to enter the campground, and park in the parking area on the left before the campground.

Winter Park Hiking Guide: Difficult Trails

St. Louis Lake Trail
St. Louis Lake Trail

St. Louis Lake Trail (13.8 miles round trip)

Trail Description: This hike is only 6 miles when the gate is open, but it’s 13.8 miles if the gate is closed. It’s best to assume that the gate will be closed. This is an unconventional trail because hikers must hike 3.1 miles of road before arriving at the actual trail to the lake. You can bicycle this first 3.1 miles and leave the bicycle at a bike rack. The single track that picks up from here is marvelous and steep. The views from St. Louis Lake are unbeatable!  It’s easily one of our favorite hikes in this Winter Park Hiking Guide.

Starting Point: St. Louis Lake Trailhead.

Driving Directions: From Winter Park, head north on Highway 40 to Fraser. At the Fraser Valley Shopping Center (Safeway), head south on CR 72 for .3 miles. Turn right onto Fraser Parkway for .8 miles. Turn left on CR 73 and go 11.7 miles to the trailhead at the gate, which is typically closed. If the gate is open, you can keep driving and cut the hike in half!

Byers Peak Summit
Byers Peak Summit

Byers Peak Trail (8.8 miles round trip)

Trail Description: The Byers Peak Trail is a great day hike with its major attraction being the panoramic views atop Byers Peak. It is relatively close to Denver and just 20 minutes from Winter Park. The trail is fairly steep in many places with some boulder scrambling required near the summit. The steep sub-alpine slopes do not provide any camping and hikers should be prepared for a stiff wind at tree line. Remnants of snowfields usually remain along the trail until the first or second week of July.

Starting Point: Byers Peak Trailhead

Driving Directions: At the stoplight by the Safeway in Fraser on US Highway 40, turn west onto County Road 72. Take the second right onto Fraser Parkway, which will bend around by the Fraser tubing hill. Then turn left (west) onto County Road 73. Follow the dirt road through the Fraser Experimental Forest towards St. Louis Creek and Byers Creek Campgrounds. Take a sharp right at the Byers Peak sign and follow this dirt road for 2 miles to the gate and the Byers Peak Trailhead parking area.

Devil's Thumb Pass
Devil’s Thumb Pass

Devil’s Thumb Pass Trail (~8 miles round trip)

Trail Description: This trail is a steep beast! The initial 1.5 miles are relatively flat and pass through beautiful pine and aspen forest. The trail follows a creek all the way up to Devil’s Thumb Pass. As the trail gets steeper, huge glacial boulders begin to protrude from the earth. The trail continues to climb into the heavens, well above tree line. The views from Devil’s Thumb Pass down into Devil’s Thumb Lake and Jasper Lake are stunning!

Starting Point: Devil’s Thumb Trailhead

Driving Directions: From Winter Park, head north on Hwy 40, pass through Fraser, and make a quick right (east) on County Road 8. Take County Road 8 to County Road 81 and head north for 2 miles to Forest Road 128.2C. Take a right on Forest Road 128.2C and go .1 miles to the trailhead.

Are you coming from out of town? Be sure to check out our article about Colorado’s sun and altitude.  It’s always best to hike with a friend or family member.  You’ll definitely want to carry a map and first aid kit too.

Do you have some hiking tips or trails that our Winter Park Hiking Guide didn’t cover? Please feel free to comment below. Happy trails!!!

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