A winter vacation getaway to the Colorado Rocky Mountains does not have to be a pricey venture. The mass media tends to only focus upon the flashy expensive ski lodge resorts that offer every convenience, so many people mistakenly visualize the Colorado winter vacation experience as being one that will quickly drain the bank account. Because the ski resort advertisements are just about all that an outsider will see, it is easy to assume that the ski lodge scene is all that Colorado has to offer, but in reality the opposite is true. The National Forests offer plenty of low budget snow season options and the best part is there will likely be no long waiting lines!
There are many winter season destinations in Colorado that have very little commercial potential, so these places are rarely placed in the mass media spotlight. For those who wish to escape from the rat race, finding a Colorado winter destination that offers some freedom to roam is like music to the ears. There are National Forest Winter Season Recreation Areas that are free to visit and some even offer winter camping options. The National Forest Winter Recreation Areas are also guaranteed to be in a natural wilderness setting, which will certainly please those who wish to keep the vacation theme sustainably green.
The Molas Pass Winter Recreation Area is located on the Million Dollar Highway (U.S. 550) about 6.5 miles south of Silverton. This is an official San Juan National Forest Recreation Area is easy to find and there is ample roadside parking. The Molas Pass Recreation Area features camping next to Little Molas Lake, snowshoe trails, cross-country ski trails and an easy downhill slope that is perfect for sleds.
There is a dirt access road that runs about one mile to the Little Molas Lake Campsite, but this road is subject to closure if the conditions are bad. Even on a good day, a high ground clearance 4x4 is recommended for this dirt road, because of the muddy conditions. For those who drive two wheel drive passenger cars, parking by the roadside is the best option on wet days.
There are rolling hilltop slopes on both sides of the highway at the Molas Pass Recreation Area that are perfect for sleds, saucers and toboggans. The snowshoe hiking trails are easy to navigate, because these trails are maintained as foot paths during the summer season. Cross-country skiers are quick to cut trails after a good snow storm, so the ski trails are usually easy to spot. Then there is the picturesque Little Molas Lake with tall snow capped mountain peaks in the background, which is as pretty to see as can be!
If you happen to be looking for a natural wilderness area that does not cost a penny for admission, then the National Forest Winter Recreation Areas are the place to go! Experiencing the Colorado winter in a majestic mountain wilderness setting is what making the great escape is all about. The dead silence of a peaceful mountain forest setting draped with snow and a chance to escape the crowds can do wonders for those who lead a stress filled life. For this reason, the lesser known destinations like the Molas Pass Winter Recreation Area are well worth checking out!
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