Winter looks like it will continue to be generous to outdoor lovers this year, and I prefer snow shoeing. I know, it sounds incredibly sad to all you adrenaline-seeking ski bums and snowboarders, but it's terrific exercise and a great way to see things on the trails you can't enjoy during the crowded summer months. Trekking straight up a steep hill covered in snow is comparatively easy, and you can see vistas (not to mention plants and animals) you never knew were there. Plus, I will not break any bones, destroy cartilage in my knees, or fight through tangles of traffic to or from my destination. You can take the girl out of the Midwest, but...
In northern Colorado, there are many great places to enjoy this under-appreciated pastime. Some of my favorites:
Eldorado Springs: Eldorado Canyon Trail
Estes Park / Rocky Mountain National Park: Cub Lake (6 miles), Flattop Mountain (8 miles), Odessa Lake (9 miles),
Fort Collins / Poudre Canyon: Blue Lake Trail (6.9 miles), Montgomery Pass (1.9 miles), Zimmerman Pass (1 mile)
Idaho Springs: St. Mary's Glacier (1.5 miles)
Longmont: Rabbit Mountain (3 miles)
Lyons: Hall Ranch Trails
Nederland: Stop and say hello to the frozen man, and then go just about anywhere in town after the snow has fallen. Lost Lake (3 miles) is pretty easy for all, Arapahoe Glacier Trail (1.8 miles) is a good challenge for the old ticker.
Steamboat Springs: Elk Run Trail-Stagecoach State Park (10 miles), Emerald Mountain Quarry (4 miles), Gilpin Lake (9 miles), Rabbit Ears Pass (6 miles)