Magazine article Sunset

Winter Wonderful

Magazine article Sunset

Winter Wonderful

Article excerpt

day trip

Snowy adventures, lovely lodges in Colorado's Estes Park

In wintertime, Estes Park is at the end of the road: The only route out of town and through adjacent Rocky Mountain National Park is closed by snow. During these months, the town slumbers in its mountain valley.

But the end of the road is just the beginning of winter fun. Some visitors make the town their base for crosscountry siding or snowshoeing; more contemplative types like to meander past the shops of sleepy Elkhorn Avenue or walk in tranquil woods.

One way to get the lay of the land is through Tubbs Snowshoe Guided Tours (10 and 3 Sat-Sun through Mar 17; free if you wear Tubbs snowshoes; 800/443-7837); tours depart from the local visitor center. Wearing a pair of "big feet," it's easy to tromp around in the snow, get the feel of snowshoeing, and see some of the Estes Park area.

Rangers lead walks in the nearby national park-with snowshoes or without. Beginner's snowshoe tours ($15 park entrance fee; 970/5861223) start at Bear Lake and walk 1/2 mile to Nymph Lake, with wonderful views of Flattop Mountain and Hallett Peak. The tours cover the rudiments of snowshoeing technique but really focus on winter ecology. …

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