Top 10 Summer Activities in Winter Park
While winter is the undeniable front runner for favorite season to visit Winter Park, summer in this little town in the Colorado rocky mountains is beginning to give its big sister a run for its money.
Skiing is awesome, and once bitten, you’ll be forever smitten. The one problem with a ski vacation however, is that there really isn’t much time (or inclination) to do anything else.
Flip to Summer in Winter Park, and you’ll find a very different type of vacation awaiting you, with a price tag that may take you by surprise (hint: it’s good news). Add the enviable climate and low humidity, and the traditional beach holiday’s appeal might start looking a little less attractive under the bluebird mountain skies.
So, let’s say you throw caution to the wind and find out what lurks beneath all that snow. With so much on offer in Winter Park during the summer months, how do you decide what you should do with your time? To help you out a little, we’ve put together our Top 10 list of activities you really ought to try during a summer vacation in Winter Park, Colorado.
- Pedal Power
Rumor has it, you never forget how to ride a bike; so why not test this theory during your vacation in Winter Park? Bike rentals are on offer for as little at $14/day in Winter Park, and as the ‘Mountain Bike Capital USA‘ you can rest assured that there is a trail out there for every ability and fitness level. While winter offers the free shuttle bus to connect Fraser, downtown Winter Park, and Winter Park Resort; summer offers the stunning Fraser River Trail as a tranquil and enjoyable alternative for exploring the area without a having to get in the car. For those that live the red bull lifestyle, Trestle Bike Park at Winter Park Resort & Bike Granby Ranch have more than enough mind-blowingly scary terrain on offer to keep your heart pumping well into the night.
- Take A Hike
Winter Park is a study in wildflowers during the summer months (most vibrant from mid-June to early August), and the best way to see them is to take a hike. Don’t worry, you won’t have to go far to enjoy nature’s pallet: alpine sunflowers, arnica, lupine, larkspur, and of course columbine explode from landscape at very corner of the valley. Click here for a written description of some of the areas most popular hikes.
- Go To An Outdoor Concert
Winter Park offers an incredible special event calendar of live entertainment during the summer months. Enjoy free concerts every Tuesday night at Picnic In The Park in Fraser, and every Thursday night at High Note Thursdays in downtown Winter Park. Throw in some BIG names that headline Winter Park’s Signature Summer Music Festivals (many of which are FREE), and your summer vacation might just turn out to be the highlight of your social event calendar.
- Put A Little Wild In Your West
Play cowboy for a day and view the high country from a fresh perspective on the back of trusty steed. Horseback riding is fabulous way to connect with the great outdoors, and your hottest chance of seeing moose, elk and other wildlife in the area. If you’d rather leave the cowboyin’ to the experts, check out the High Country Stampede Rodeo (every Saturday night, July 5 – August 16) for a great family night out.
- Get Your Feet Wet
White water rafting is another wonderful way to explore the landscape, and an experience that most remember for many years to come (particularly if you really do end up getting your feet…and head..and body wet!). For a more relaxed and scenic experience, hit up the Upper Colorado River. For the big stuff, test your metal on Clear Creek canyon.
- Fish For Compliments
Mention to anyone that you went fly-fishing on your Winter Park summer vacation, and they will immediately give you a respectful nod of approval (and not just because they think Brad Pitt may have been your guide). Fly fishing has a certain grace to it that offers a very meditative state of being, and lets the rest of the world simply melt away. Don’t worry if you have kids in tow, most outfitters have small rods & reels available for younger children, and they will be completely enthralled by the guide’s collection of creepy crawlies on offer as bait…and may well continue to proudly show you every bug they find for the remainder of your vacation.
- Mess Around On The Lake
Taking a day trip to Grand Lake is definitely a must for those staying in Winter Park & Fraser Valley. A beautiful 45 minute drive, will find you at the scenic shores of Lake Granby, Shadow Mountain & Grand Lake where you can rent pedalos, kayaks, pontoon boats, dinghy boats & more; or step aboard a guided tour boat. Spend the morning floating the gentle waters beneath stunning mountain vistas, then head into town for a well deserved ice-cream and a walk along the historic town’s boardwalks as you take a peek in all the wonderful shops on offer.
- Play The Day Away At Winter Park Resort
Winter Park Resort is one big fun factory during the summer months. The Alpine Slide (Colorado’s longest summer luge!) is probably the biggest attraction for families, but there’s also endless fun on offer throughout the village that include, putt putt golf, a climbing wall, gyroXtreme, a human maze, leaps & bounds bungee, chairlift rides, geocaching, giant scrabble, outdoor movie nights, downhill mountain biking and a whole lot more.
- Dog Sledding Without Snow – What?
Ok, so you normally think of dog-sledding as being a winter time, alaskan adventure kind of affair. Not so fast! Dog Carting is an absolute blast, and a more affordable way to get the feel of dog sled driving, without the sub zero temperatures. Dog Sled Rides of Winter Park offer summer dog card rides where you actually get to take the driving seat and direct the team of dogs pulling your cart. Give a go, and you’ll be yapping about it for days!
- Visit Rocky Mountain National Park
The west entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park lies just a few miles to the east of Grand Lake, and leads you into 415 square miles of beautiful mountain parkland. Trail Ridge Road winds through the park offering numerous opportunities to see large herds of elk, moose and more before it summits at a lung testing 12,000 feet, where you can either continue to the east exit (Estes Park), or roll back down the valley and take in all the wonderful mountain views. Hiking trails, historic sites & ranger activities are full flow during the summer months so make sure you flick through the entrance brochure so that you can make the most of your day in one of America’s prized national parks.
**2015 UPDATE** We had to add in one more bonus activity, that’s new for 2015: Summer Tubing! Snow Mountain Ranch YMCA of the Rockies has designed and built a revolutionary new outdoor tubing hill that allows this winter favorite to be enjoyed in the warm summer months too. Check out more details on Summer Tubing Near Winter Park here.
Looking for a place to stay on your Winter Park Summer Vacation? Click here to check out our Winter Park Lodging Company vacation rentals.