The Rocky Mountains of Colorado offer adventure and fun throughout the year. While some visitors plan an annual summer trip to the Glen Isle Resort, others appreciate the beauty of winter even more. The mountains feel incredibly majestic when the temperature drops and the snow falls.
Just because it gets cold doesn’t mean you have to stay inside. Colorado winters include great outdoor adventures and the small town of Bailey has access to some of the best options in the state. Let’s review some favorite winter activities guests can enjoy.
Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing
Snowfall doesn’t stop outdoor enthusiasts. In the winter many hiking trails transform into picturesque snowshoe and cross-country ski trails. And, the high country roads that close due to snow present an opportunity for non-motorized access.
Unlike downhill skiing, snowshoeing and nordic skiing are inexpensive, and most local trails are not crowded. Located less than an hour from Denver, Bailey is a gateway to some outstanding winter trails. There are options for beginners as well as more experienced hikers and skiers.
Temperatures and snow conditions vary wildly in Colorado, so be sure to make safety a priority when visiting the backcountry. Check avalanche conditions before you go and always inform someone of your whereabouts. Dress appropriately and use quality gear. For great rentals check out Evergreen Mountain Sports in Conifer and Platte River Outfitters in downtown Bailey.
Some nearby snowshoe opportunities include:
Practically in the backyard of the Glen Isle Resort, this trailhead is a gateway to the Lost Creek Wilderness area. With a 136-mile trail network on nearly 120,000 acres, there are options for every visitor. The main trail is clearly marked as it travels through a pine forest and aspen trees. While backpackers can connect with the Colorado Trail and spend days trekking, there is a good option for snowshoeing out and back to the fork in the trail just over a mile in.
Located about 10 minutes from the Glen Isle Resort this high-elevation pass provides access between Hwy 285 and Georgetown on I-70. The road follows a creek up to the 11,670-foot summit and provides access to the 14,065-foot Mount Bierstadt. However, it closes between mile markers 9 to 15 during the winter months making it a great snowshoe location.
The Burning Bear East Trailhead is a popular snowshoe trail with easy parking and fantastic mountain views. Wildlife is abundant in this area and if you’re lucky you might even spot a rare white-tailed ptarmigan. This small ptarmigan is only found in the alpine tundra of the western United States. It turns white during winter and sits perfectly still to avoid being seen, yet multiple sightings have been reported at Guanella Pass.
This winter activity has become so popular you’ll want to buy tickets well in advance. Spend a day snowshoeing followed by fondue, wine tasting, and live music for the ultimate Colorado experience. The snowshoe gear is included in your reservation and a guide leads you through private mountain trails. This area is also known for wildlife so watch closely for porcupines, foxes, big horn sheep, and elk.
While the rivers and lakes of Colorado have been known as world-class fishing destinations in the summer, don’t forget the winter fishing opportunities as well. The South Platte river winds through the Glen Isle Resort property and is home to a healthy population of brown and rainbow trout.
Some fishermen refer to winter in the Colorado front range as the “secret fishing season”. This is because fewer people are on the river banks competing for fish. Trout are less aggressive in the winter as they are conserving their energy, but anglers still have success. Plan to go in the late morning when the temperature rises and look for sunny pockets where the fish are holding. Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather and local stores such as Native Fly Shop can provide recommendations for flies.
The high-elevation lakes near our lodge offer great opportunities for ice fishing in the winter. With cold temperatures, the ice is typically thick enough for fishing by December, but it’s always important to check with a local ranger or outfitter before setting up camp.
With the right gear, you can enjoy the fresh air and mountain scenery plus catch some impressive fish. Some nearby lakes to fish for trout, carp, northern pike, and even kokanee salmon are listed below.
- Wellington Lake
- Eleven Mile Reservoir
- Jefferson Lake
Enjoy a Meal and Get Cozy by the Fire
A list of winter activities wouldn’t be complete without enjoying the crackle of a warm fire while it snows outside. You could snuggle up in a cabin heated by the fireplace, or bundle up and drink hot cocoa around an outdoor firepit.
At the Glen Isle Resort there is a picturesque outdoor setting with a firepit and circle of benches. It’s perfect for roasting marshmallows and listening to live music during all four seasons. During the holidays we even had a visit from Santa Claus for the Bailey community to enjoy! In addition to the outdoor firepit, several of the cabins have wood-burning stoves where you can warm up after enjoying the great outdoors.
Just down the road from the cabins, the town of Bailey has restaurants and breweries where you can enjoy great food and listen to local bands. The Shaggy Sheep is a local favorite for unwinding after hiking Guanella Pass. As the name implies, big horn sheep are often spotted on your way to lunch. Bailey and the nearby town of Grant have breakfast, lunch, and dinner options where you can mingle with locals and visitors alike.
Ready to plan your winter vacation?
The Glen Isle Resort is the perfect location for a winter getaway. Guests enjoy the peace and seclusion of the resort property but still have quick access to the town of Bailey.
Our cabins are located on 150 acres in a mountain pine tree forest. Each of the 14 historical cabins is unique with cozy and rustic furnishings. And, we have event space for special occasions such as family reunions and weddings.
Steps from the lodge there is a mile of fishing access on the South Platte river. And, the property is surrounded by National Forest begging to be explored.
Glen Isle was built in 1901 and we take great pride in the rich history of the resort. Generations of guests have been visiting us year after year and we love welcoming new visitors.
Contact us today to plan a winter vacation. Whether you want to book a quick getaway from the city or a long trip for exploring the Colorado mountains, we look forward to hosting you.