Best Back Country Skiing in Colorado

Trying to find the best back country skiing in Colorado? Bivy has great hiking, biking, paddling, climbing, skiing, riding and more, with hand-curated trail maps, as well as detailed driving directions.


Colorado, Vail

0-1 :54 hrs
0.4 mi
204.3125 ft

Loveland Pass has been a popular place to ski since the 1930s. There was at one time a rope tow that would carry skiers up. The easy accessible run drops 600 ft. right from the parking down to the sharp turn. Use a shuttle or hitch a ride and do multiple laps. This is a popular run so don't expect to be the only one around.


Colorado, Clear Creek County

01 :01 hrs
0.6 mi
152.68115 ft

Berthoud Pass is a classic lost ski resort. It closed its lift operations in 2001 and is now a very popular place to backcountry ski. It is easily accessible and offers many choices for runs and style of terrain. If you are looking for a true backcountry experience with solitude and no crowds this is not the place. Many of the runs end at a road and require either a skin back up or a quick shuttle back up to the pass. The West side trail begins after you cross the road to the west side of Berthoud Pass. Climb to 11,900 feet up the old ski lift/run for .9 mile. This is the skin track to access several runs in the area.


Colorado, Clear Creek County

06 :13 hrs
7.3 mi
798.6665 ft

Start at the Dry Creek trail, and start skinning. Stay in the drainage or climb out early and skin along numerous benches. When you reach the large area between skin up the ridge towards the collar on The Citadel, then up the collar for a nice ski down. Strap the skins back on and work your way up to the ridge on Hagar. Work up the ridge and choose any one of many fun lines. Then back out Dry Creek, or over into Loveland Ski Area. BE SURE TO ENTER THE SKI AREA THROUGH A LEGAL ENTRANCE OR WITH PATROL PERMISSION. Also, getting both peaks in one day requires good conditions, so be cognizant of changes in snow conditions.


Colorado, Summit County

01 :33 hrs
2.3 mi
230.18872 ft

So fun, there was something for everyone! Took the pooch on her first back country trip!


Colorado, Park County

01 :14 hrs
0.7 mi
161.60083 ft

Easy climb to the peak west of the Section House atop Boreas Pass Rd. Fun tree skiing on low angle terrain.


Colorado, Clear Creek County

01 :15 hrs
1.9 mi
197.62085 ft

Saint Mary's Glacier offers permanent, year-round snow. This area was one of the 1st places to offer skiing in the state. There was a lift that serviced the glacier in the 1950s, it later shutdown in 1986. It has stayed closed since and offers nice backcountry skiing. You will encounter snowshoers, snowboarders and skiiers. There are four primary descents with something for every level of skiier.


Colorado, Larimer County

02 :26 hrs
3.3 mi
585.14844 ft

Hidden Valley Ski Resort was open from 1955-1991. It was used as a hot spot for backcountry skiing well before it was an established resort and still offers great terrain for all levels. The base lodge serves as a ranger station, warming hut and restroom facility. The main trail ascends above treeline past Trail Ridge road. This is where the more difficult runs are found. You can choose several descent options and lines from up top.


Colorado, Ouray County

02 :49 hrs
3.5 mi
646.511 ft

Mt. Sneffels is a rugged fourteener peak that can be enjoyed year round. During the winter the backcountry skiing terrain is endless. There is mountaineering possibilities that range in all levels. This route is a classic ski that ascends up the standard summer trail. Be sure to bring an ice axe, crampons and helmet. Descend down the south face. You can also ascend the west ridge for a more technical route.


Colorado, Lake County

10 :15 hrs
5.6 mi
1431.6794 ft

Mount Elbert is the highest Peak in Colorado. Depending on snow conditions you may not be able to drive right to the trailhead, the road does get rough and requires a 4WD vehicle. Park where you can and walk to the trailhead if needed. This route begins on the Colorado Trail and makes its way to the east ridge before splitting and heading to Box Creek. Once you are in the cirque you will have a view of the couloirs which lead to the summit. Climb right up the center and take time to examine conditions and pick your descent line down. Once you are at the top of the couloirs there is still a little hiking before the summit. Upper box Creek gets hit by the sun directly so starting early is best. The descent can be excellent, but be sure to check avalanche conditions in the couloir. There is always the East Ridge as an optional descent if conditions are too dangerous in the couloir.


Colorado, Clear Creek County

03 :55 hrs
2.7 mi
846.9248 ft

Torreys Peak is a large rugged mountain that is part of the famous 14ers. This is a popular backcountry ski and mountaineering route. The approach follows the Continental Divide Trail before it leaves the trail and heads towards the couloir. Depending on snow conditions, the snow can reach steep angles up to 45-50 degrees. Bring crampons, helmet and an ice axe. Views are excellent from up top with Grays Peak close buy. With 3000 total vertical feet this is an exhilarating drop. The two most popular descents are right down the coulouir or some skiers drop directly off the east face before turning left into Dead Dog.

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