Guided Backcountry Snowshoe Excursions
Join a Walking Mountains naturalist guide each Tuesday and Thursday this winter for a backcountry snowshoe excursion into the White River National Forest! Perfect for those seeking a tranquil winter experience far from the ski slopes, these hikes offer the perfect introduction to winter backcountry exploration. This season we are offering three distinct backcountry experiences! Whether you are up for a full half-day of hiking to some of the best vistas in the Vail area, or prefer to enjoy a slower paced backcountry experience exploring the secrets of Colorado’s wildlife and snowpack, we guarantee you will leave the day with new and unforgettable experiences! Learn more about each of our backcountry snowshoe explorations below, and sign up for your adventure today!
View our Snowshoe Options below and schedule here!
Snowshoe Tours cost $35/person. All programs meet at Walking Mountains Science Center in Avon at 9am. Snowshoes, poles, hot drinks, and transportation to and from the trailhead are provided.
Full Moon Experience
Join a naturalist & forest bathing guide for a moonlight snowshoe and social evening at Walking Mountains Science Center. Snowshoe up the scenic Buck Creek trail, stay warm by a backcountry fire, and connect with our mountain environment in a whole new way in a guided forest bathing experience.
As you arrive, enjoy light refreshments, hot cider, hot chocolate, & tea (alcohol will not be provided but you are welcome to bring your own). After a brief social half hour at Walking Mountains Science Center, a naturalist guide will lead the group roughly 1 mile up the scenic Buck Creek trail to an open meadow, where a backcountry fire will be set and waiting for us!
While soaking in the moonlight, and staying warm by the fire, forest therapy guide Kayla Weber will lead the group through a 30 minute forest bathing experience. Focused on finding your mindful headspace and connecting with the mountains and forests around us—this program takes this popular practice to a unique setting!
Half Day Hikes
Walking Mountains’ half day hikes are the perfect introduction to winter backcountry exploration! These hikes feature some of our favorite winter trails, and will take you the furthest of all our winter snowshoe explorations. Enjoy hiking through the quiet winter forests to viewpoints with vistas of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains! Your guide will be sure to take advantage of rest breaks to share some of the secrets of Colorado’s winter landscape and ecology!
Locations: Our hikes features some of Eagle County’s most beautiful trails, including East Lake Creek, Tennessee Pass, Big Park, Squaw Creek, West Grouse Creek, and Meadow Mountain.
Difficulty: Most half day hikes cover 3-4 miles on moderate terrain. See the schedule for more details on specific hikes.
Tracks, Signs & Snowshoe
Did you know that humans aren’t the only mammals that utilize snowshoes to navigate a winter landscape? Learn to identify the snowshoe-like tracks of Colorado’s iconic snowshoe hare, its stealthy predator the lynx, and other winter wildlife. This backcountry snowshoe hike will focus on interpreting the tracks & signs of wildlife that we see along the trail. Hikes take place on rolling trails in the White River National Forest (but be prepared to leave the beaten path and follow the footprints of Colorado’s predators as the opportunity arises!).
Difficulty: These programs are appropriate for all experience and fitness levels. Hikers will spend 2-2.5 hours snowshoeing & identifying tracks on the trail, and cover around 2 miles of rolling terrain.
Locations: Hikes take place at Maloit Park, Big Park, or Tennessee Pass (conditions dependent)
Snow Science Exploration
Colorado’s winter landscape is home to a variety of wildlife, and draws skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers, and snowshoers from around the globe! A deep snowpack blankets our mountains up to 8 months a year, drives Colorado’s economy, and forms the backbone of our mountain communities. However this snowpack also holds the power to shape its landscape, clearing forests and posing a hazard to skiers & snowboarders, communities, and even wildlife.
On this program, join a Walking Mountains naturalist guide for a 2 mile backcountry snowshoe hike through the White River National forest. Dive deep into the science of the climate, weather, and snow that shapes our landscapes and communities! Learn which critters live under the snowpack, why Colorado’s snow is the gold standard for skiers, and dig (literally) into the science of avalanches—all amidst the backdrop of winter vistas and mountain views!
*this is not an avalanche education course. This program serves as an introduction to the many facets of snow science, and does not cover how to safely navigate avalanche terrain.
Difficulty: These programs are appropriate for all experience and fitness levels. Participants will hike around 2 miles (2-2.5 hours) through rolling to moderately steep terrain, with stops to learn about snowpack, winter wildlife and to dig in the snow.
Locations: All hikes meet at Walking Mountains Science Center, and transportation the trailhead is provided. Trails are chosen based on conditions and include Yoder Gulch, and Tennessee Pass.