Best Places to Snowmobile in Colorado

Colorado is a winter sports lover’s paradise with plenty of snow and wide-open terrain to explore. Snowmobiling is a popular activity here, and there are some truly unique locations to take advantage of on a sled. 

My name is Chaz, and I’ve been snowmobiling for nearly 30 years. Most of that time has been spent in Colorado, and I’m very familiar with the region. It’s where I grew up riding, and I’ve explored most of the popular locations you can access on a snowmobile.  

This article will highlight the best places to snowmobile in Colorado. From deep backcountry lines to easily accessible trails near popular resorts, this state has a lot to offer.

Load up the truck, and let’s go. 

6 Best Places to Snowmobile in Colorado

There are so many great spots for snowmobiling in Colorado and I have picked the 6 best locations to share with you. 

1. Rabbit Ears Pass/Steamboat Springs

I’ll start this list with a location I’ve been visiting since I was a kid. Steamboat Springs is a well-known resort area but also boasts some fantastic places to snowmobile. There is a wide variety of terrain and trails, all easily accessible within an hour’s drive of town. 

Rabbit Ears Pass is my favorite location in the Steamboat Springs area. You can drive your sleds to one of the parking lots near the top of the pass and be exploring deep backcountry lines within minutes. 

The snow typically stacks up deep here, so it’s a great spot to find untracked powder lines, and the aspen grove forests with rolling hills are simply beautiful. Some of my favorite backcountry riding days in Colorado were spent around Steamboat. 

The Flat Tops Wilderness Area is another spot in the region I’d recommend checking out. It’s often not as busy as Rabbit Ears. 

You can find rental shops that offer guided tours in town, and I would highly suggest soaking in Strawberry Hot Springs after a long day on your snowmobile.  

2. Vail Pass

Vail Pass Winter Recreation Area is another incredible spot for snowmobilers to check out in Colorado. You’ll need to purchase a day or season pass to access this area, but it’s more than worth it for all of the terrain and fresh tracks you can find here. 

The area is open from November through May, and that’s when the snowflakes fall consistently. You can explore 55,000 acres here, alongside 119 miles of trails designated for snowmobilers, skiers, and other winter enthusiasts. 

It can get pretty crowded on Vail Pass over the weekends during the winter. I’d suggest riding on a weekday if you want a more secluded experience. The area is very easy to access because it sits right off Interstate 70 – the main highway into the Rockies. 

3. Grand Lake

If you visit Grand Lake in the heart of the winter, there’s a good chance you’ll see as many people driving around on snowmobiles as you will in cars. This is a fun, family-friendly location that has a variety of easy to intermediate terrain to explore. 

A lot of people in Colorado and beyond have second homes in the Grand Lake area. This means you can usually find an affordable rental for a winter vacation – some might even include snowmobiles. 

The town itself is beautiful in the winter. You’ll have views of the Continental Divide and the western side of Rocky Mountain National Park. There are hundreds of miles of snowmobile trails to explore right outside of town. 

And when you are finished riding, there are many good restaurants and bars to grab a bite to eat and warm up.

4. Wolf Creek Pass/Pagosa Springs

Wolf Creek Pass is a bit off the beaten path, but it’s often one of Colorado’s snowiest locations. If you’re up for an adventure or live in one of the towns nearby, this area offers some amazing opportunities for snowmobiling. 

The pass covers a large section of the Rio Grand National Forest between the towns of Del Norte and Pagosa Springs. Check out this list of some of the dedicated snowmobiling areas here. 

Being a little bit more remote and harder to access, you should pay attention to avalanche conditions and always keep people informed of your whereabouts. The weather can change quickly, and the snowstorms here are impressive. 

In Pagosa Springs, the Springs Resort and Spa offers around 30 different hot springs pools and a number of rooms. The pools are set by the river and are open 24 hours a day for hotel guests. 

5. Breckenridge

Breckenridge is another popular skiing destination that has some solid snowmobiling in the areas surrounding town. A lot of the trails you will find around Breck are part of the White River National Forest.  

There are many backcountry riding opportunities here, and the area gets hit with a lot of snow. Views of the Continental Divide and some other impressive peaks are all around, and bluebird powder days are standard. 

I’d suggest going on a guided tour if you are unfamiliar with the area. The trails and places to ride surrounding Breck are all high elevations with extremely variable conditions. Be prepared for changing weather and lots of snow. 

Georgia Pass Road is one spot where you can find both groomed trails and backcountry access near Breckenridge. You’ll need a Colorado trail pass to operate a snowmobile here if you are an out-of-state resident.

6. Jones Pass

This is another area where I often visited as a kid and still do at least a couple of times each winter. It’s not as well known as some of the other options on this list, but Jones Pass is well worth a visit for anyone who loves snowmobiling. 

If you are a fan of snowmobile skiing, Jones Pass can open up a world of untouched powder lines and all-day laps. There is a local club that helps maintain a few trails in the winter, and you’ll find a lot of backcountry skiers here as well. 

This is another area that can be prone to avalanches, so always be prepared with a safety plan and the appropriate equipment. 

Final Thoughts

Colorado is a great place for all kinds of snowmobilers. The locations listed above are some of my favorites, but there are plenty of other spots to explore here as well. Check out this list of popular trails and their conditions if you are planning a day on the Rocky Mountain trails. 

Have you ever ridden in Colorado? Where did you go? Let us know in the comments below. 

About Chaz Wyland
I’m a snowmobile fanatic. I live for riding and am out on the trails or backcountry as often as possible during the winter months. I was born and raised in the Rocky Mountains and have snowmobiled in dozens of North American locations. When the snow is falling, you’ll find me on a sled.

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  • Johanna Knuth

    Hi Michael,
    Thank you for all of the information on this website. I moved to Maine 7 yrs ago and became totally infatuated with winter and the toys that go along with it. At least now when I move back there I’ll know that there are trails for atv/snowmobiles. Again thank you and there’s only 5 months til winter.

    Reply
  • Michael Calvert

    Is it still a good time to go snowmobiling?
    Don’t want to be there during spring break
    Any suggestions
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Chaz Wyland

      Hi Michael,

      There is definitely good snow to explore in March in Colorado, but you are right in thinking that the crowd factor will be a concern because of spring break. If you go to a spot further away from a big ski resort (Wolf Creek, Jones Pass), you should be able to avoid crowds a bit. But with how popular Colorado has gotten over the last decade, I don’t have any surefire uncrowded spots to share.

      Reply
  • Sylvia

    Hi I am planning a trip in March to go snowmobiling and maybe tubing. We want a safe and flat area to snowmobile not too far out in the mountains..

    Reply
    • Chaz Wyland

      Hi Sylvia,

      It just depends on how much snow is around, but March is usually a good time of year for coverage in CO. If you are looking for a nice flat spot, there are some excellent trails up on Rabbit Ears Pass outside of Steamboat. If that’s too far, look into Winter Park. There are some wide-open valleys and trails there that are pretty easy for beginners to handle. There is a tubing hill in town too.

      Chaz

      Reply
  • CD

    Hi

    We will be newbies visiting Denver March 4th. We are looking at snow mobiling for a day and maybe some tubing . Kids are 15 and 18. What are my best options for as the closest place to Denver

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Chaz Wyland

      Hi CD,
      I think you should head up to Summit County to get the best of snowmobiling and tubing activities for the kids. There are a lot of options, and the area is only about an hour and a half from Denver, depending on traffic, of course. There is a nice tubing hill in the town of Frisco and plenty of snowmobile rental options as well.

      Reply
  • Sara B Hughes

    What do you suggest as far as rental locations? Guided tour or no guided tour? (staying in Colorado Springs at the end of December) Thanks!

    Reply
    • Chaz Wyland

      Hi Sarah,
      There are a lot of good rental shops around – I’m not sure of the best options in Colorado Springs but if you head up to Summit County, check out High Country Snowmobile Tours. If you have experience riding, you don’t necessarily need a guide. But if you want to know the best trails and learn some things, a guided service can be nice.

      Reply
  • Anna

    Happy to read your article, it was very,very, very helpful. I am also planning a trip from December 20th to the 26th. Snowmobiling is the first time for me and my husband. You recommended for Kelly to go to Steamboat Springs (12/26-1/2,rentals),because of the early time of the season. Grand lake looks pretty appealing, in your opinion, would have any snow at that time of the year, rentals? So you think there would be less people?
    Thank you so much, you never know where or what your going to book.
    I’m so excited!

    Reply
    • Chaz Wyland

      Hi Anna!
      I’m happy to hear you found the article helpful! Grand Lake is a great area and well worth exploring. It’s always hard to predict where the best snow will be, and sometimes you just need to take a chance and go for it. It varies from year to year. Grand Lake is away from the main highways, so it does usually have fewer crowds though.

      Reply
  • Margaret Sherlock

    Hi Chaz! My partner and I are thinking about flying out to Colorado to snowmobile in January of 2022. We are in our early 60s and used to ski but are not now confident enough to ski. The easiest way for us to get there is to fly into Denver. What are your recommendations? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Chaz Wyland

      Hi Margaret!
      If you don’t want to drive too far from Denver, I recommend visiting Breckenridge or Vail pass for your riding days. These areas are within an hour or two of the airport and offer excellent trails and guided services.
      If you are up for a longer drive, Steamboat Springs is one of my favorite spots in the state. You really can’t go wrong with any of these, and you’re sure to have a lot of fun!

      Reply
  • Joshua Zasada

    Hello Chaz,
    I am from Northern Pa and have been sledding here since I was a kid. I was recently in Idaho for work and got to sled 3 hours north of Boise https://brundage.com/. Needless to say our single track to fields has nothing on what I experienced up there. I was trying to plan a trip this winter out West with my lady friend who can ride well. I was doing a little homework and came across your report, which is great BTW.

    My question is, if I wanted to come out and say maybe ride more aggressive for 2 days and stay in a cabin/lodge type setting what would you suggest. With that being said I would also like to just explore some areas with good food, people, sights, entertainment, etc… Thinking like 2 /3 nights in a lodge to sled and then to another place like hotel.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated, thanks for you time.

    Josh

    Reply
    • Chaz Wyland

      Hi Josh!
      I think you and your lady friend should go to Steamboat. There are plenty of trails and wilderness opportunities up on Rabbit Ears just outside of town, but you still have access to awesome hotels and restaurants in town. It’s a winter wonderland and one of my favorite areas to ride in Colorado. Have fun!

      Reply
  • anthony sorrentino

    Hi looking to snowmobile in area of steamboat or breakenridge need to rent sleds for 3 dayy close to the trails 6 adults double and get cabin . Did this in yellowstone in jan and looking again in late jan. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Reply
    • Chaz Wyland

      Hi Anthony!
      In Steamboat, I like the guys at Thunderstruck Adventures for rentals. They have a lot of options for sleds and know the trails in the area really well. There are several other good rental shops in town too.
      In Breck, check out High Country Snowmobile Tours. I’ve heard good things about this shop and have had friends recommend them more than once.

      Reply
  • Kelly

    Great article and website! Where is the best place to go in Colorado that usually has the most snow from Dec 26 to Jan 2? Also recommendations on rental shops? I will be traveling with family, any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you thank you in advance because I am a bit overwhelmed trying to figure all this out.

    Reply
    • Chaz Wyland

      Hi Kelly,

      That’s awesome you are getting into the sport and have another trip right around the corner! There are some solid spots to explore in CO, for sure. Unfortunately, there is no exact way to predict which locations will have snow in your timeframe. That’s still a little early in the season, but typically there is enough coverage to go ride.

      Rabbit Ears Pass outside of Steamboat Springs could be a good bet, and the southern ranges in the San Juans get some good early snow coverage as well. I haven’t had to rent equipment in a while, so I don’t have direct suggestions for that. But I know there are some rental shops in Steamboat.

      Reply