RMNP Offers Ranger-Led Ski Tours on the West Side of the Park this February

February 6, 2024  |  Kawuneeche Valley, West Side of RMNP

For many, winter is their favorite time of year to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. The park is less crowded. With a blanket of snow on the ground, visitors can enjoy the natural quiet. Cross-country skiing is a fun and challenging wintertime activity that offers new ways to explore the majestic scenery of Rocky. For those interested in exploring the park with a park ranger, this February RMNP is offering ranger-led ski tours on the west side of the park.

Ranger-led ski tours will be offered on the west side of RMNP (near Grand Lake), on the following Fridays at 1 p.m.: February 9, February 16, and February 23.

Participants will enjoy skiing across snow-covered meadows and in mixed conifer forest areas within the Kawuneeche Valley and will learn about this incredible environment. These programs will be 1-2 hours in duration and will take place on non-groomed, off-trail routes.

Rocky’s ranger-led ski tours are considered moderately strenuous. Participants should have a baseline fitness level that allows them to ski approximately one mile over hilly terrain at high elevations. These programs take place at 9,000 feet in elevation. This program is not suitable for young children. Participants must be 16 years or older.

Some cross-country ski experience is required. This program is not designed to be a ski lesson. All participants will need to bring their own gear to participate, including Nordic skis, poles, boot, appropriate clothing, etc. Equipment can be rented nearby at locations in Grand County. All participants should have some knowledge of Nordic ski techniques and know how to snap into and out of their ski bindings.

Reservations are required for all participants and space is limited to a maximum of 12 people per program. To make a reservation, call 970-586-1513. Reservations can be made beginning on the Wednesday before a scheduled program. All reservations are taken in the order they are received. Reservations for ranger-led ski tours are free (a park entrance fee or valid park entrance pass is required to enter RMNP).

A park visitor cross-country skis in Rocky Mountain National Park. Image courtesy NPS

Winter Safety Tips

Your safety is your responsibility; know your limits and make sure that everyone in your group is prepared for the anticipated weather and conditions. Travel across and under steep slopes is not advised unless all members of your party have the education, safety equipment, and experience to make informed decisions about traveling in avalanche terrain. For the latest avalanche conditions, visit http://avalanche.state.co.us.

Advanced trip planning in winter is critical. Parking lots at popular destinations like Bear Lake, Glacier Gorge, and Hidden Valley often fill on the weekends. Trail navigation in winter can present difficult challenges. Trails in the park are not marked for winter use. Route-finding skills are necessary. Signs and trails can be buried beneath snow and difficult to follow. Never follow other people’s tracks, as they can easily lead you off-course. Cell phones, GPS devices, and other electronic devices are not reliable in cold conditions, as batteries can freeze.

For more information on Rocky Mountain National Park, please call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206 or visit our website at www.nps.gov/romo.