Copper Mountain, Colorado

Things to do in Copper Mountain Village

Copper Mountain – winter, spring and fall activities below. Copper is the best place to enjoy the Colorado outdoors, in all seasons, in my humble opinion. It’s a quaint ski village located right in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. There are loads of outdoor activities, along with cute shops, outdoor/indoor restaurants that overlook the mountain, and plenty of entertainment – all within walking distance of each other as well as close to many of the accommodations. Not too big and not too small!

There are 3 villages, all at the base of the slopes/mountain and interconnected with a free, easy shuttle service. The shuttle service can also take you to the adorable town of Frisco for more dining/entertainment options. Or you can easily walk the entire area! The design of Copper is excellent – everything is “right there.”

I also like that Copper is easily accessible – just 1.5 hours to the west of the Denver International Airport (DEN). It’s a straight shot along Interstate 70 which is maintained throughout the year. Other close airports are Eagle County Regional Airport in Vail (<1 hour away) or Colorado Springs (<3 hours away). Alternatively, there is a shuttle service between the Denver Airport or Eagle County Airport and Copper (Epic Mountain Express or Summit Express).

Lodging at Copper Mountain

Hotels.com, Booking.com, Cheaptickets.com, VRBO.com and coppervacations.com have reasonably priced rentals (including condos) right in the Copper Villages. Most are ski-in/ski-out or easily walkable to the slopes or mountain. I recommend staying in center village as the shops and restaurants are right there (as well as the American Eagle and American Flyer lifts) and you only need to shuttle if you want to go outside of this awesome space. East and West Village are also quite nice! Book ahead especially for winter.

WINTER AND SPRING/FALL ACTIVITIES at Copper Mountain

Downhill Skiing/Snowboarding:

Copper has with a wide variety of terrain and many options for first timers to seasoned professionals. Plus, due to the high altitude, the slopes are skiable for longer than many other resorts – from November to mid-April. The resort is well thought-out and organized, so it’s easy to mix and match green, blue and black runs once you get up a lift or to just stay the course. My fave run: Take American Flyer lift then get off to the east and head down to Rendezvous lift. Take the lift up and ski Coppertone all the way to the bottom – it’s just breathtaking! A fun little jaunt at lunchtime is the T-Rex Grill on the west side of the mountain.

Kids and first timers: Another huge benefit to Copper is the option to take your kids to the Green Acres area where they can learn to ski with you for a mere $20 lift ticket on Pitchfork. If they are young enough then they will think they are getting the whole experience with downhill skiing and a real lift. I did this for years. 🙂

Note that Copper has many slopes for every kind of skier/snowboarder out there and is seldom crowded. Plus there are bowls and parks and pipes and all kinds of challenging areas. If you are into hopping from one resort to another then you can easily get to Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin, Keystone and Vail – all 25 minutes or less away. But I prefer to stay at Copper – it’s the whole package right there.

Snowshoeing/Yaktrax Hiking:

So many options for snowshoeing/winter hiking near Copper! Depending on the amount of snow – you may need a pair of snowshoes (to keep you on top of the snow, if it’s deep and you sink into it). However, if it hasn’t snowed heavily in a while and you just need more stability while walking on the snow then use YakTrax (put them on the bottom of your boots for better traction on snow packed trails – you’ll have to buy them outright – they are $25-$30). Photos above.

Snowshoes. Rentals are available at Copper Mountain (in the West Village only – at Copper Sports West)*, Frisco Nordic Center and at Columbine Ski & Sport in Dillon. They are affordable – about $25/day which includes poles.

I absolutely love snowshoeing especially through trails with large, snow-capped trees and being able to traverse over virgin snow in the stillness and quiet of the mountain. It’s so peaceful and calming and free. So, I bought my own snowshoes ($90-150) that came with a backpack and even fits in my checked baggage or you can check it separately, for a flight, in the backpack. Check out Costco’s online prices.

Powderhound Loop of Colorado Trail (2.82 round trip) is a beautiful winter wonderland and my favorite winter trail so far! Google map here. It’s a fairly packed down trail but snowshoes are recommended, because you can easily go off trail and trek through the glorious deep snow and come back to the trail to catch your breath, if needed. It heads through a forest of tall pines with whispering wind as your soundtrack. It was quiet and peaceful and the gradient was easy to hike up and wander. Plus there was not a soul around. Follow the blue diamonds. Highly recommended!

Miner’s Creek Trail to Rainbow Lake Trail and Peaks Trail. Lovely out and back trail that you can make as long or short as you wish. Note that the Miner’s Creek part of it is a road with packed snow. Once you get onto the Rainbow Lake or Peaks Trail – it’s more of a narrow hiker’s trail. You can easily traipse through the woods with your snowshoes and be one with the deep snow then come back to the groomed trail if you wish. However, if you only have hiking boots and/or yaktrax then, no problem. It’s a pretty hike with marked trails.

Officer’s Gulch (at exit 198 off of I70) hike in spring is just beautiful. While it’s just 1 mile around the lake there are offshoots of the trail that are options for longer and more challenging hikes.

Salt Lick Trail in spring

Salt Lick Trail in Silverthorne was a spring hike for me (April) so Yak Trax did the trick for most of it. This trail had a lot of open meadows and a small amount of treed trail. The first half of the trail is well-marked but can get confusing after that. Use the AllTrails app. There’s navigational service there.

*Copper Mountain West Village. A note about snowshoeing right in Copper Mountain Village (West). Your snowshoe options are quite limited right here. As in there are wide, plowed trails (for tracked cross country skiing and hiking – without the need for snowshoes) that are “recommended” for snowshoeing. You don’t need snowshoes at all here unless it’s after a huge snow dump. Your options for going off this plowed trail are very limited unless you want to go straight up very steep inclines. Also, this option has you going under Highway 70 in each direction which is loud and not pretty. Copper Mountain does offer guided snowshoe hikes with wonderful and friendly guides. However, the trek that I just described is where you’ll snowshoe. Again, snowshoes not needed. At all. Unless a fresh, large snow has just settled in.

Snowshoes are safer and required on trails in most of the winter months, as the snow keeps on falling. Remember that you are in “elevation” as in 9k feet and above, so most activities will require more inhalations/exhalations overall.

Safety note: get the AllTrails app and make sure you stay a trail. Pack more water than you think you’ll need and keep your phone warm so the battery doesn’t die (in an inside pocket of your coat or in the vicinity of a hand warmer – my phone has died before because it decided it was too cold to work). A backup charger is also a good idea. Wear layers and bring snacks.

Rocky Mountain Coaster: I can’t tell you how much I loved this thing! It’s like your own private roller coaster/alpine slide with beautiful scenery 360 degrees and one thrill after another! It goes up to 25mph (of course, that’s up to you, because you control it), up and down and around some major bends. Crazy fun!

Iceskating: The ice rink in the middle of Center Village (“West Lake”) is the perfect place to bring friends and family. We borrow the free brooms and play broomball! There are also skates to rent for $10 at City Pop.

Music: In winter, check out Lefty Lucy duo for fun and entertaining music at Jack’s Bar for après ski!

SUMMER ACTIVITIES at Copper Mountain

Hiking.

Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding. Crisp, clear and flat Lake Dillon works perfectly for a day on the lake surrounded by mountains. It’s quick 12 minute drive from Copper and there are opportunities, at Frisco Marina, to rent all sorts of water craft. https://www.townoffrisco.com/play/dillon-reservoir/canoeing-and-kayaking/

Biking. This can be easy bike ride or made difficult (if you do the round trip). From Copper’s Center Village take the Ten Mile Canyon Trail (paved path) from Copper to downtown Frisco. It’s a 7-mile downhill scenic bike path. Plenty of opportunity to stop and gawk at the beauty or to climb rocks. You can either bike back up to Copper (it’s all uphill, of course) or hop on a shuttle (bikes are allowed) and zip right back to Copper after having lunch in the charming town of Frisco. Rent bikes from Gravitee Boardshop right in Copper’s Center Village. https://gravitee.com/collections/bike-rentals-copper-mountain-colorado. The “shuttle” is the free Summit Stage Bus http://www.co.summit.co.us/915/Bus-Schedule.

White Water Rafting. Take a wild ride down the rapids on the Arkansas River. I did Brown’s Canyon 1/2 day – the guides were very skilled, and I felt safe the entire time. Lots of thrills and super fun! It’s in Buena Vista – about an hour and 10 minutes away from Copper. https://www.noahsark.com/rafting.html

Bumper Boats and Hydrobikes. Right at West Lake (in the Center Village).