Known as the “Gateway to The Rockies,” Aurora offers easy access to the Rocky Mountains, with the foothills less than an hour’s drive away, but you’ll find plenty to do right in the city too, no matter what the season. Look forward to breathtaking views that span from Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs all the way to Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. And, even when snowfall hits, usually all you have to do is wait and day or two and all that white stuff will have disappeared, thanks to the sun that shines more than 300 days a year.
Cross-country Skiing and Snowshoeing
When snow blankets the landscape, you’ll find a number of trails at Aurora’s parks that are ideal for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, like Aurora Reservoir. The perimeter trail around the reservoir is available during daylight hours all year round. In the winter, watch for bald eagles that soar overhead, and listen for the cry of coyotes along the eastern portion of the 8-mile trail. Rare waterfowl sightings have been recorded in all seasons, including common loons and the greater white-fronted geese.
Cherry Creek State Park boasts an extensive multi-use trail system that’s open year-round for a host of outdoor activities, including cross-country skiing and snowshoeing when conditions permit. The wintertime offers an especially tranquil delight, when you can breathe in the fresh, crisp air and gaze out at the endless white wonderland with often no one else in sight.
Ice skating at The Pond
The Pond at Southlands is the largest outdoor rink in the South Denver region. Open seasonally, if you visit in December you can glide across the ice among dazzling holiday décor, creating an especially spectacular experience that makes it easy to get into the festive spirit. Skate rentals are available on site, and there are skating aids for those who are new to the ice as well.
Ice fishing at Aurora Reservoir
Fishing doesn’t have to stop in the winter, as ice fishing at Aurora Reservoir offers some of the best you’ll find in the region, with plenty of fishermen, and women, bundling up to drop their line through a hole cut in the ice right here. The reservoir has more than 800 acres of water surface as one of the largest park and open space sites in the city, and ice conditions can measure up to five feet deep, particularly in the back coves. Odds are, you’ll even catch your limit of trout and perch too.
Snow Tubing and Sledding
You don’t have to drive up to the mountains to find that perfect hill to tube or sled down. There are a number of spots that are popular right in Aurora, including Meadowood Recreational Center, which offers winter fun for everyone. Its sledding area includes two hills, one that’s larger and provides a more heart-pounding experience, and a gentler hill for the little ones.
Wildlife Viewing at Star K Ranch and the Morrison Nature Center
The Star K Ranch is home to the Morrison Nature Center which offers the chance to view wildlife in their natural habitat, as well as to participate in a variety of winter programs. In fact, the winter season provides opportunities to view wildlife that can’t be see any other time of year, as well as a more peaceful experience that allows one to truly escape and reveal in the beauty of nature. Just a few of the animals that can be seen this season include deer, marten, bald eagles, owls, and, occasionally bobcat or cougar.
Winter programs on offer include bird walks for viewing winter waterfowl, tours of the night sky, full moon hikes and Star K Kids, which features all sorts of activities, outdoor exploration, stories and puppets for the little ones.
Thanks to the abundance of sunshine Colorado receives throughout the year, the seven public golf courses in Aurora are open year round. Even if snow falls overnight, it’s not uncommon for it to melt away just in time for an afternoon golf game, thanks to the high elevation at one mile above sea level.
On those rare days when inclement weather keeps most people indoors, you’ll find lots to do too. The Aurora History Museum includes both traveling and permanent exhibits of the state’s history and culture, while the Aurora Fox Arts Center features world-class performances, including a diverse range of options for theater lovers. Shopping is a popular pastime in Aurora, with everything from sprawling Southlands Mall to Havana Street, which provides more unique experiences, not only for shopping, but dining too.
When winter fun meets winter illness and injury…
While partaking of Aurora’s many winter activities, should anything from cold/flu symptoms to stomach ache to sprains or strains interrupt your fun, ZipClinic of Aurora is only minutes away and is available 7-days a week when you need urgent care. ZipClinic is located at 1250 South Buckley Road in Aurora, Colorado (near the intersection of Buckley and Mississippi) in the Safeway shopping center, just West of Buckley Air Force Base.