Caribou Ranch, located just outside of Nederland, has a fun 4.5 mile lollipop loop perfect for snowshoeing and easy cross country skiing. The trails follow old railroad beds and bypass several old homesteading sites, making for a scenic and casual day in the mountains. The crowds tend to migrate towards nearby Brainard Lake in the winter, making Caribou a quiet retreat on a cold winter’s day.
What Makes It Great
While it’s not a difficult loop, Caribou Ranch is a quiet retreat with an easy grade, making it perfect for the first time skier, families or those looking to get in a few laps for fitness. The historical homestead and mining camp are worth the visit and the scenery is impressive. Caribou Ranch is also over 8,000 ft. and is located just below the towering mountains of the Indian Peaks. This makes for a peaceful retreat that is good for those eager for fresh air and low traffic.
The peaceful surroundings and Indian Peaks to the west make for a nice winter outing without too much commitment. If you want to win over your friends who are new to snowshoeing and cross country skiing, this is the place to do it. As an added bonus, nearby Nederland is a great place to grab a warm drink and a good meal after a good workout.
Who is Going to Love It
Families, new skiers and snowshoers, experienced skiers looking to knock out a few quick laps in a beautiful setting.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From the roundabout in Nederland, go 1.9 mi N on Hwy 72 (Peak to Peak Hwy). Continue north and go left on County Road 126, at the brown sign for Caribou Ranch and Mud Lake. Follow the road to the parking area.