Winter Outdoor Escapes

The Powder Busters and the Silver Thread Outdoor Club are a great resource for winter recreation. The clubs sponsor group snowmobile rides, snowshoe hikes and cross-country skiis throughout the winter and they invite new comers and visitors to the area to join them. The South Fork/Creede area has hundreds of miles of groomed winter trails and a lot of play areas and the Silverthreaders are happy to share maps and information about where to play outdoors in the wintertime.

Cumbres & La Manga Winter Recreation Area

This area offers both snowmobile and cross-country skiing opportunities. Trailheads are located on Hwy 17 near Cumbres and La Manga Passes. Download a US Forest Service overview map of the area at

Big Meadows

A trail and destination for snowmobilers, ice fishing and cross country. With parking just of Highway 160, access is easy. The lake at 2 miles provides for good ice fishing. The trail continues for 13 more miles, mostly groomed trail riding with some side trails and a few meadows.

Creede Area Snowmobiling

There are approximately 85 miles of groomed trails in the Divide District of the Rio Grande National Forest. The four major trailheads are all around Creede and provide access to trails for all experience levels. This trail system connects with trails groomed by Lake City to the north and South Fork to the southThe elevations of the trails range from 8,500 to 12,760 feet. Many of the trails give riders a chance to feel like they are on “top of the world”. The trails offer groomed riding, plenty of meadows for playing and steep mountain areas for climbing. The area has an average yearly snowfall of 250-300 inches so there is always snow to ride somewhere on the system. The Snow Country Explorers Snowmobile Club is based in Creede (Mineral County) and their website offers information on local conditions as well as a Creede area trail map. Please visit the update link for more information,

Elwood Pass/Quartz Meadows

This area along the east for of the San Juan is another fun spot for snowmobiling and other winter sports. Elwood Pass was the only way from Pagosa Springs to Del Norte, and the main road servicing Summitville in the early-mid 1800’s. There is over 40 miles of trails in this area and the views are awesome.

Ice Climbing

There is good, wild ice to be had in the San Luis Valley. Wolf Creek Pass offers close roadside climbs as well as long backcountry adventures. Treasure Falls is the Wolf Creek Pass climbing treasure, for more info on the route visit: Zapata Falls is another ice climbing destination on the other side of the SLV that usually sets up pretty early in the winter. The Creede area also offers ice climbing opportunities and the local shop can steer you in the direction of the ice:

Ice Fishing

Several lakes in the South Fork area are great for winter ice fishing. A few of our favorites include Beaver Creek Reservoir, Big Meadows Reservoir and Road Canyon Reservoir west of Creede.

Pass Creek/Tucker Ponds

A 13 mile groomed winter trail good for both snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. At 7 miles, there is a meadow when snowmobilers like to play.

Willow Park / Del Norte Peak

The valley’s here are plentiful for play on snowmobiles or skiis. You’ll likely spot a variety of wildlife. There are restroom and picnic tables available.  You can loop into the Beaver Creek/Cross Creek trails in order to create a 90 mile loop for experienced snowmobilers.

Wolf Creek Pass

The pass provides access for backcountry skiing and groomed snowmobiling trails through wooded terrain and into mountain meadows. Head out on your own or have a local snowmobile outfitter take you out for a fun wintery spin.

Wolf Creek Ski Area

This full-service ski area covers 1,600 acres, has seven lifts and boasts the most snow in Colorado. Cross country skiers can use the 10km of groomed trails at the Wolf Creek ski area. There is no charge for use of the trails and the tracks can also be used for snow-shoeing.

Zapata Falls

One of the SLV’s most popular summertime hikes, Zapata Falls is also an amazing winter destination. Freezing winter temperatures turn the falls into a giant ice sculpture and ice climbing destination. Of course, the snow and ice make the hike in treacherous, so be careful.