When David’s family planned a group vacation for July, they insisted on renting a house in Winter Park for part of the week. It sounded like a hiking, biking, running heaven to us, but we wondered what would there be for the kids and everyone not interested in exhausting themselves for hours in nature.
We found a ton of great things and blessedly we were there while it was over 100 in Denver, so we could enjoy days of 75 filled with sunshine! The mountains really are magical winter or summer. (Above the results of an unexpected hike to 11,300 feet, mentioned as #2 below)
So here are my top 7 Winter Park Summer must see, do, love experiences.
#1 Winter Park Summer Activities
Like any good business, Winter Park resort knows that they can’t be active just part of the year! They take full advantage of the summer by turning the base into a great family fun park with putt putt, rock climbing, bouncy houses, bungee jumps, an alpine slide, rides up the mountain and for the adventurous some intense downhill mountain biking. While It doesn’t bother me to say be up high climbing a hill or a mountain, I find that every time I try to climb a rock wall my arms and legs begin shaking uncontrollably!!! I had 3 nephews watching though so it was time to suck it up and just get to the top.
I’d actually love to climb more as it’s such a great workout. On the other side of things was flinging ourselves down the mountain in plastic sleds on the alpine slide. It turned out to be seriously fun! You ride the chair lift up and then zip down through some crazy twists and turns.
#2 Second Creek Hike
On your way into or out of the mountains you’d be remiss not to stop at one or more of the available trails. We happened to catch a sign for Second Creek and decided to hop out for a quick exploration.We were rewarded with beautiful water cascading down the mountain and then a nice 1 mile climb from 10,000 feet to 11,300 for complete panoramic views of the surrounding area. I won’t lie the hike was both technical and hard from the altitude, but so worth every single step.
In the video you’ll see a few more of our photos from this hike, including that beautiful water!! On our way out of the mountains, we stopped at a few more places including the one below. If you simply keep your eyes peeled while driving you’ll notice little pull over areas or trail signs.
Stop. Hop out. You’ll find a trail and a world of beauty.
#3 Continental Divide
If you’re looking for a more family friendly hike, I recommend stopping mid-way up Highway 40 on the way to Winter Park at the Continental Divide. There are some great signs that explain more about the area and then a number of trails which provide options for a super intense hike or a more leisurely exploration.We took the nephews up the fire road a little ways and that leads to a path which goes more across the mountain than up.
Making it fun for exploring the woods, but not so much a hike that is going to work up a sweat. The result is reaching an open area with once again…amazing views. I know I need to find more ways to describe it.
#4 Hideaway Park
In the heart of downtown Winter Park is Hideaway Park, which not only hosts free music and other performances throughout the summer but on it’s own can be a lot of fun. A large playground, climbing wall and skate park, were a big hit with the little one’s in our group and it’s location near restaurants and additional trails made it convenient for everyone.
#5 Biking/Running Fraser Trail
For young and old bikers, the paved Fraser trail is a great way to get in a little bit of nature without pushing your adventure limits too far. This trail starts just outside the Winter Park Resort and runs along the river through Downtown Winter Park and beyond, connecting with a number of other trails.
The Fraser Trail is paved making it a great option for a family bike outing if not everyone (raises hand) loves the adrenaline of mountain biking, but still wants to get out and enjoy nature!
#6 Dog Sled Tours
Of course there isn’t enough snow to be found for a true dog sled ride, but that doesn’t stop these active animals from wanting to run! During the summer, the dogs will pull a cart (of up to 4 people) allowing you to get the same sensation and of course enjoy these wonderful animals.
Additionally, with Dog Sled Rides of Winter Park you can enjoy a kennel tour to learn more about their training, feeding and the whole exciting life of a beautiful dogs. This wasn’t something we had a chance to do, so it’s on my list for our next visit.
#7 The Foundry
Should you happen to show up on a day of rain, you can still have a great time at the Foundry. Bowling, movies, billiards, wood fired pizza, everything you need for a family friendly afternoon.
What’s something surprising you’ve found in your area for summer fun?
Coming to CO anytime soon, let me know!! I’m always up for a run.
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