Colorado is home to dozens of ghost towns, some more easily accessible than others. And while many of them are now privately owned, there are still plenty of others that you can add to your list. One of the best for snowshoeing to is Winfield, CO.
Tucked back into the San Isabel National Forest, Winfield was once home to three stores, three saloons, two hotels, a boarding house, post office, church, school and mill, all dating back to the 1880s. The population peaked at 1,500 in 1890, with just four of the original buildings remaining today. This hike offers spectacular views of the Continental Divide, leaving you surrounded by the quiet, dense forest covered in a blanket of snow.
Still not convinced? Here are six reasons you are missing out on one of Colorado’s best kept secrets.
1. No Crowds
If you are tired of the long lift lines at your favorite ski resort, you will enjoy the peace and quiet that can be found while snowshoeing through the still wilderness. Whether you bring along a group of friends, your partner or the whole family, nothing will compare to this feeling of comfortable isolation while you hike to your spooky destination.
2. Low Cost
If you find yourself on a budget this winter or simply don’t enjoy paying the high prices at ski resorts, snowshoeing is a great option that will still allow you to get outdoors for a good hard workout. While a lift ticket will run you upwards of $80, the nice thing about snowshoeing is that it is completely free, assuming you already own snowshoes. If you don’t, they can easily be rented for a modest fee before you leave town on your adventure. Many places will even let you keep them for 2-3 days at a time, which can be useful if you plan to stay overnight in a nearby town.
Of course the views that can be found at ski resorts are nothing to laugh at, however, the kind of rugged, backcountry scenery that can be found if you go off the beaten path snowshoeing is truly spectacular especially when blanketed in snow. It is not uncommon to have views of some of the most rugged and soaring peaks on the best ghost town treks.
4. Fun for the whole family
While downhill skiing can be difficult, or slow, with little ones in tow, snowshoeing is an activity the whole family can enjoy, regardless of skill level. There are options to make the hike as long or as short as you need, with varying degrees of terrain and difficulty to suit all snowshoers. If you feel especially steady on your feet you can even pack a little one in on your back.
While a few of the ghost towns are most easily accessible via Interstate 70, there are plenty more that allow you to take the road less traveled. This makes for a much easier journey to your destination and allows for a lot more time spent outdoors.
There are certainly many different ways to be active during winter, but did you know that snowshoeing burns more calories than running, walking or cross country skiing at a similar pace? Depending on the terrain and your speed you can easily burn up to 750 calories per hour. And the best part is that enjoying the beautiful scenery around you will distract you from the fact that you are getting a really good physical workout at the same time.