The Best Winter Hiking Destinations

December 9, 2023


2 shares Share Tweet Pin While many people tend to shy away from hiking during the winter months, I find that there’s something truly special about it! The crisp winter air, the snow-capped mountains, and the peaceful solitude of the trails all make for an unforgettable hike. That’s why I am so excited to share […]


While many people tend to shy away from hiking during the winter months, I find that there’s something truly special about it! The crisp winter air, the snow-capped mountains, and the peaceful solitude of the trails all make for an unforgettable hike. That’s why I am so excited to share some of the best winter hiking destinations we have found in Colorado and Arizona with you guys. These trails offer a different kind of beauty that you just won’t find during the warmer months.

Throughout this blog post, you will see stars to mark a trail’s difficulty. * is super family-friendly. ***is very difficult. Okay, let’s get into it!

Favorite hikes in cool temperatures/favorite places to snow shoe:

Colorado *Temps and weather can vary during this time of year in Colorado.  There have been times I have hiked in 60 degree weather in the mountains and then there are times it is a complete blizzard an not safe to hike.  Always do your research before hiking any of these trails during the winter months. We personally do not recommend hiking/snowshoeing in extreme weather conditions.

Denver Area

Boulder: Boulder is near the “entrance” to the Rocky Mountains. We have both hiked in shorts and then snowshoed during the same time of year (December), so the weather can definitely vary. 

Walker Ranch Loop Trail: This is one of my favorite trails! Keep an eye out for bad weather, and I do not recommend going during a snowstorm.  I recommend not doing the entire loop during the winter and instead taking the trail counterclockwise to the river, which is about a 3-4-mile round-trip hike. One year, we did the entire loop, but it was unusually warm for that time of year, and there was zero snow. So, use your best judgment. 

Daniel’s Park: This is out of the Rocky Mountains but one of our favorite places!! Because it is not in the mountains, it is much warmer and has less chance of extreme weather.  This used to be near my parent’s house and is a park filled with trails.  You can also get a great view of all of the peaks here!

  • For trails I recommend the main trail at the top! You can’t miss it.

Deer Creek Canyon Park: This is a great place to hike with views that are right outside of the mountains, so it is more likely a warmer place to hike with less snow! We hiked here one Christmas with our dog Denver and were in shorts! However, every year/week can be different in Colorado, so as I mentioned, please research beforehand!

  • Meadowlark Plymouth Creek and Plymouth Mountain Trail Loop

Golden: This area is near the “entrance” to the Rocky Mountains, so it tends to be a little warmer and has less snow than the other locations. One year, we hiked here in 60-degree weather during Christmas!! However, that doesn’t mean it could be a blizzard the following week! 


This is more in the mountains, so you have to be cautious of snow/avalanches. When we went, there was a drought and little to no snow on the ground.  We barely had to wear coats; it was not that cold at all! However, a week later, the same trails got several feet of snow, and an avalanche struck the exact trail we were on!!

  • *Hoosier Pass   
  • *Boreas Pass 
    • Both trails are pet & family-friendly when there are NO severe weather conditions.

Estes Park:

Estes Park is the town at the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.

You can’t really hike in Rocky Mountain National Park during this time unless you plan to hike the easier trails in the valleys. There is way too much snow at the top. However, I recommend driving through the park! We did this one year during Christmas, and it was so fun!! We also drove up to the base of Bear Lake Trail and got to see Bear Lake in the winter.  It was very frozen over, and we even got to walk on it!

*I recommend eating at Bird and Jim for lunch and getting the famous salt water taffy from the Taffy Shop (it is the only one in town that makes it on site. It is the white shop; you can’t miss it!)

  • Bear Lake (not exactly a hiking trail, but you can walk up and see it! It is beautiful!!)

Colorado Springs

  • *Garden of the Gods (more of a family-friendly park with paved sidewalks)
    • Any of the main sidewalk trails are great!

Favorite hikes if you want to avoid the colder temps:

Arizona If you are looking for beautiful hikes with great views where you won’t freeze, head to Arizona!

Phoenix/ Scottsdale: 

This is probably one of the warmest places to hike in the winter. The temps usually are in the 70’s and you will not fall short on places to hike. If you go in late March/April, you can catch the wildflowers!!

Superstition Mountains

  • *Wind Cave Trail
  • Weavers Needle Loop
  • *Hieroglyphic Trail

Mcdowell Preserve

  • Inspiration Point Trail
  • Granite Mountain Loop
  • Quartz Ridge
  • Tom’s Thumb
  • Sunrise Peak trail

Pinnacle Peak

  • Pinnacle Peak Trail

South Mountain

  • Mormon Loop to National Trail Loop
  • Holbert Trail

Papago Park 

  • *Butte Loop
  • *Hole in the Rock trail

Lost Dutchman State Park

  • ***Flatiron via Siphon Draw Trail

Echo Canyon

  • ***Camelback Mountain (there are two ways)
  • Via Echo Canyon (more steep)
  • Via Cholla 

Lake Pleasant

  • *Yavapai Point Trail

Other Trails: 

  • ***Piestewa Peak


This is one of my favorite places to hike in the country!

I love Sedona for many reasons, but a few reasons why it is on the top of my list are the views, that most of the trails are pet friendly, you don’t need reservations to enter the park, the trails are fairly close to town, and there are a ton of food options as well! There is even so much more to do outside of hiking: ATVing, mountain biking, swimming, etc. The only downside is that Sedona is cooler than the Phoenix/ Scottsdale area. It is in the 40s-50s during the winter and usually doesn’t get warm until late March or early April. I would definitely wear layers if you are hiking here!

*Subway Cave via Boynton Canyon Trails

  • One of my favorite trails in Sedona! To get to the cave, you need to take another trail about 2 miles into Boynton Canyon trail.  The cave is about a half mile from that point.  I recommend using the GPS map in the All Trails app to help you get there.

Munds Wagon Trail to Merry Go Round Rock

  • This trail was not as crowded as the others, and it led to one of my favorite views ever! You can also take a 4WD vehicle or a Pink Jeep Tour to the top if you are not in the mood to hike!

*Devil’s Bridge Trail

  • This is the second most popular trail in Sedona.  Plan to wait in line for 45 minutes to 1 hour to take a photo on the iconic bridge. It doesn’t matter what time of day.  The wait may not be as long in the winter though!

*Doe Mountain

  • If you are looking for a short hike with a view this is it!! In a little over half a mile, you can get a 360 view of Sedona! This is a great place to watch the sunset.

*Faye Canyon

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