Things to do at Copper Mountain Village
(winter, spring & fall)
Copper Mountain 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 and a down to earth kind of place.
There are 3 villages, all at the base of the slopes/mountain and interconnected with a free, easy shuttle service. The Copper Village is also easily walkable from condos to restaurants, markets and shops! The Copper Mountain Village design is excellent – everything is “right there.” If a get away is in order there is an easy 10 minute shuttle service right to the adorable town of Frisco for more dining/entertainment options.
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). East and West Village are also quite nice! Book ahead especially for winter.
WINTER AND SPRING/FALL ACTIVITIES at Copper Mountain
Copper has with a wide variety of terrain and many options for first timers to seasoned professionals skier/snowboarders. 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 getting up a lift or to 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.
Note that Copper has many slopes (140!) 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.
Kids and first time skiers/snowboarders:
Another huge benefit to Copper is the option to take kids to the Green Acres area where they can learn to ski with you (family or friend taught) 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. 🙂
Cross Country/Nordic Skiing Near Copper Mountain (Frisco)
To cross country ski is only a quick 15 minute drive over to the Frisco Nordic Center. The staff could not be more friendly and helpful in getting first timers or seasoned skiers out on their trails. They have cross country skis to rent and snowshoes as well. There are over 17 miles of groomed trails for all levels and a map is provided; although, it’s not easy to get lost. I am a “classic” cross country skier which means I utilize the grooved groomed trails. The other type of technique is skate skiing which is a bit more free style with similar movements to ice skating. Both types of trails are available here.
Snowshoeing and Hiking in the Spring and Fall at Copper Mountain
So many options for snowshoeing/winter hiking near Copper! Depending on the amount of snow – you may need a pair of snowshoes to stay on top of the snow, if it’s deep and sinking into the snow is possible/probable. However, if it hasn’t snowed heavily in a while and more stability is needed while walking on the snow/ice then use Yaktrax . Put the Yaktrax on the bottom of boots for better traction on snow packed trails to prevent slipping. They’re reasonably priced for $25-$30 and are packable. Photos above.
Snowshoe 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 can be checked separately, for a flight, in the backpack. Check out Costco’s online prices.
Snowshoeing and Hiking Trails Near Copper Mountain:
Turk’s Trail and B&B Loop
Turk’s Trail is one of my favorite winter hikes of all time. Every new turn was absolutely magnificent and literally breathtaking. The snow on the majestic trees sparkled through the filtered sunlight in this serenely quiet land. There were just the right amount of other hikers for me – maybe 8 cars in the trailhead lot and tons of trails to choose from for a lovely hike.
Note that this winter hike is closer to Breckenridge than Copper but very worth the short drive. It’s recommended to have an AWD vehicle to get to the last 1/2 mile to the trailhead on French Gulch Road. The trailhead is right near the Country Boy Mine. Once on the trail go toward the left. At the major split (there are a few spurs – don’t take them – stay on the main trail) stay to the right onto Turk’s Trail. At 1.5 miles on Turk’s Trail it connects with the B&B trail. Go left here to complete the oval back to the trailhead. Total of 2.9 miles. Map above is from All Trails.
Mayflower Gulch Trail
Mayflower Gulch Trail is a very pretty 3 mile (round-trip) trail up to a destination. (There are lots of people that like to have a reason to hike – I’m not one of them, but if you are then this trail is for you.) The hike leads to very cool abandoned miners’ cabins, a virtual ghost town. Legend has it that there is still a lot of gold to be found in that area.
Powderhound Loop of Colorado Trail
The Powderhound Loop of Colorado Trail is a 2.82 round trip beautiful winter wonderland. Google map it here. It’s a fairly packed down trail, but snowshoes are recommended for going off trail and trekking through the glorious deep snow. The trail heads through a forest of tall pines with the whispering wind as the 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
Miner’s Creek Trail to Rainbow Lake Trail and Peaks Trail is a lovely out and back trail that you can make as long or short as you wish. Note that the Miner’s Creek part of this trail is a road with packed snow. Once onto the Rainbow Lake or Peaks Trail – it’s more of a narrow hiker’s trail. It’s fun to traipse through the woods with snowshoes and be one with the deep snow then come back to the groomed trail for a break from time to time. However, if you only have hiking boots and/or Yaktrax then that works too as long as there hasn’t been a lot of snowfall recently. It’s a pretty hike with marked trails.
Frisco Nordic Center for Snowshoeing
Just 15 minutes from Copper Mountain is the Frisco Nordic Center which not only has cross country ski trails but also has separate snowshoe trails. There is a one mile and a three mile option. I did the three mile option with views of the nearby lake and through small to medium height pine trees. There is a trail pass needed and can be paid at the Nordic Center.
Officer’s Gulch Trail
Officer’s Gulch trail at exit 198 off of I-70 is just beautiful in the spring. 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
Salt Lick trail in Silverthorne was a spring hike for me (April) so Yaktrax 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 as there’s navigational service at this trail.
*Copper Mountain West Village. A note about snowshoeing right in Copper Mountain Village (West). 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. Snowshoes aren’t needed here unless it’s after a huge snow dump. Options for going off this plowed trail are very limited as there are very steep inclines along the trail. Also, this option goes 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 they snowshoe. Again, snowshoes are not needed most times 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 for hiking and snowshoeing
- Get the AllTrails app (free version) and follow it to make sure you are staying on the trail especially if you’re near a body of water. Some rivers do not freeze in the winter but may be partially covered with snow.
- Pack more water than you think you’ll need for the hike.
- Keep your phone warm so the battery doesn’t die. Put the phone in an inside pocket of your coat or in the vicinity of a hand warmer. My phone has died before because it got too cold.
- Bring a backup phone charger.
- Wear layers.
- Bring snacks.
- Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be finished.
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 Trails mentioned above.
Kayaking, Canoeing, Paddleboarding Crisp, clear and flat Lake Dillon works perfectly for a day on the lake surrounded by mountains. It’s a quick 12 minute drive from Copper and there are opportunities, at Frisco Marina, to rent all sorts of water craft.
Biking This can be an 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. The “shuttle” is the free Summit Stage Bus.
White Water Rafting Take a wild ride down the rapids on the Arkansas River. I did Brown’s Canyon 1/2 day with Noah’s Ark – 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.
Bumper Boats and Hydrobikes Right at West Lake (in the Center Village).