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Powder Paradise in Rio Grande County

Looking for the perfect spot to snowmobile, ski, snowshoe or enjoy other winter pastimes? Like fun community festivities such as Parade of Lights, Winterfest, and more? Rio Grande County in Southwestern Colorado has you covered . . . in POWDER and fun!

Marlenee Photography

A microclimate funnels storms onto Wolf Creek Pass from the south and west. The result—more days with fresh powder than elsewhere in Colorado. Wolf Creek Ski Area averages 460 inches of snow, more than any other ski area in the state. And with a base elevation of 10,600 feet, Wolf Creek Ski Area has earlier snow accumulation than most other resorts in the state.

Powder reins! The area’s low humidity produces fine, dry powder perfect for shredding the slopes. This year, the season kicked off early with a storm that dropped 33 inches on October 8!

Marlenee Photography

Prefer to put some horsepower into your winter sports? Head to the backcountry with your snowmobile or snow bike. Rio Grande National Forest maintains 10 snowmobile trails with over 150 miles of groomed trails! If you enjoy the peace and solitude of cross country skiing or snowshoeing, the Forest Service has 9 trails designated for you. Or, take off from the beaten path and head into the backcountry!

Learn more about trails and backcountry recreation on the Rio Grande National Forest website or stop by the Bureau of Land Management office on the outskirts of Monte Vista just east of downtown or at the Rio Grande National Forest office between Monte Vista and Del Norte.

After a fun day in the snow, enjoy the friendly and welcoming small-town atmosphere of the local restaurants and lodges. Rio Grande County is a destination. It’s a little bit out of the way, which means that you won’t find crowds of people and street after street of spendy stores. It’s more laid back. More relaxed. More welcoming. offers a complete summary of all the lodging options to help you choose the perfect spot to stay for your winter adventure.

South Fork serves as your base camp to adventure! Head into the San Juan Mountain Range for skiing adventures. You can also find snowshoe, cross country and snowmobile trails.

Del Norte, 15 miles downstream, has been called the gateway to the San Juans and to the rich history of the Valley. Here, you will find a revitalized downtown and the charming Rio Grande County Museum, a great non-snow alternative!

Monte Vista, another 15 miles further downstream and centrally located, is near Wildlife Refuges where you can see resident winter raptors, owls and overwintering waterfowl. Monte Vista offers great food, lodging and a great central location in the San Luis Valley, Colorado.

Check out, for a complete list of all of this winter’s festivals and events for current dates and more information!

Sign up for the Rio Grande County newsletter to stay in the loop. Visit the Rio Grande County’s facebook page @Riograndecounty, for occasional contests, wildlife sightings, information about events, lodging, restaurants and outdoor activities.

Feature photo credit: Marlenee Photography

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