Winter Sports

In addition to an average of 317 days of sunshine annually, the Nederland area is blessed with good snow from November through April. However, the first snow of the year often falls in September, and it is not unusual to have a snow shower as late as July. As a result, winter snow sports are as popular here as they are throughout the rest of the Rocky Mountains.

Skiing and Snowboarding

One of the fastest growing ski areas in the state is Eldora Mountain Resort, located five miles from Nederland on the way to the town of Eldora (follow the signs past the high school). There are first-rate facilities for both alpine and Nordic skiing, telemarking and skate skiing, as well as snowboarding. The area is growing in popularity for its location, ease of accessibility (you don’t have to worry about traffic on I-70), new facilities, and value for skiers of all ability levels. Private and group lessons are available all season. Open mid-November through mid-April.

Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing

The groomed trails at Eldora Mountain Resort are excellent for cross-country skiing, and lessons are available throughout their season. However, many prefer the trails found in the national forest and Indian Peaks Wilderness Area for the beauty of pristine snow and the solitude that awaits those who head off on their own.

The trails used by hikers during the summer and fall are popular with snowshoers and cross-country skiers alike. In addition to the ones described in the Hiking section here are some other well used trails for winter sports.

Brainard Lake Trails

Fourteen miles north of Nederland on Highway 72 is the turnoff to Brainard Lake. From October through June this paved road is closed 2.5 miles from the highway. At the gate, skiers and snowshoers can park and take either the North or South Waldrop Ski Trails that go west paralleling the road into Brainard Lake. The North Trail joins with the South St. Vrain Trail just north of Pawnee Campground (which is closed) and ends at the Brainard Cabin where you can warm up by the wood stove and heat up some coffee or hot chocolate. The South Trail returns from Brainard Lake via the Little Raven Ski Trail and Lefthand Reservoir Road to the parking area. Of course, once you get to Brainard Lake, the Mitchell Creek and Long Lake Trailheads lead to the challenge of high country skiing.


Five miles north and west of Nederland is the site of the old mining town of Caribou. Take the Caribou Road just a half mile off of Highway 72 west of Nederland. The road is usually open all year. Park at the town site above the working mine, strap on your skis or snowshoes and head west for Caribou Flats, or perhaps all the way to Eldora following forest service road #505. The area around the Caribou town site is also a popular place for sledding and tubing during the winter. In all cases, please respect the posted “Private Property” signs and stay on public lands and trails.

South Boulder Creek Trail

The trailhead is at the East Portal of the Moffat Tunnel eight miles west of Rollinsville. The snow in this area almost always is the best in the area because of its proximity to the Continental Divide where the snows blow over from Winter Park. See a description of the trail under Heart Lake. There are also side trips possible to Forest Lakes, Arapaho Lakes, Crater Lakes, and Iceberg Lakes to the west of the main trail.

Fourth of July Road

When the snows come, the County Road Department stops maintaining the road to the Hessie Trailhead and to Buckingham Campground. The 5-6 miles of what is, during the summer, a dirt road becomes a popular cross-country ski and snowshoeing area. Street parking is limited in Eldora so please park in a legal spot and be prepared to have lots of company along the way.

[ Nederland Area Chamber of Commerce ]