3 Charming Mountain Towns with No Ski Slope

Here are a few cozy spots where you don't need downhill skis to have a great time

Many of Colorado’s most famous mountain towns are home to big ski resorts, but there are more than a few great little towns where you don’t need downhill skis in order to have a fabulous time.


Michelle Cox Photography

For years, the outdoorsy have flocked to the Meeker area to hunt and fish. There’s also a number of celebrities that have second homes in Rio Blanco County, but it’s just now being discovered by tourists who want to get away from Front Range crowds.

Located at 6,240 feet above sea level, the beautiful White River flows through the town, offering lots of opportunities for fishing enthusiasts, but fishing isn’t just a summer activity. During the winter, ice fishing is popular on Lake Avery and Rio Blanco Lake.

Photo courtesy of White River Nordic Council

Cross-country skiing is also popular in the winter. The White River Nordic Council shares information on groomed trails and even raises winter yurts for warming up along the trails. Follow their Facebook page for more information.

Snowmobiling is another activity in the area, and there is something for every level of rider on the 178 miles of trails in Rio Blanco County that are maintained by the White River Snowmobile Club.

Meeker’s downtown is surprisingly active with some great shops like Country Raised, Meeker Drugs, which features an old-fashioned soda fountain, Nana Goose Interiors & Gifts and a wine and cheese shop called Blanco Cellars & Little Cheese Shop.

There’s an array of lodging options from the historic Meeker Hotel to the more modern Blue Spruce Inn along with various bed and breakfast options such as Bear Mountain Inn. For a list of lodging, dining and more visit MeekerChamber.com.


Manitou Springs is close to Colorado Springs, yet feels a million miles away from the city. I’ve been visiting this town for nearly 20 years, and it never gets old. Manitou oozes charm and a certain magical vibe, as well.

There’s no skiing in Manitou Springs, but there’s plenty of great shopping, adorable bars and pubs, and outstanding art galleries. One of our favorite stops in town is the Manitou Brewing Company. Not only do they make great beer, but their food is write-home-about good. I still dream about their pork belly tacos.

Manitou Springs is a short drive to one of Colorado’s biggest attractions, Garden of the Gods, and if you haven't seen this place in the snow, it’s surreal.

Staying in Manitou is a no-brainer. The Cliff House at Pikes Peak is one of our favorite Colorado hotels. If you have a hotel bucket list, The Cliff House should be on it. And don’t miss dinner at The Dining Room, inside the hotel.


Photo by E. Funk

There’s a lot to love about Ouray, Colorado, at any time of year, but I can tell you from personal experience that there’s something enchanting about soaking here while snowflakes melt in your hair.

Ouray’s historic Hot Springs Pool just underwent a major renovation making these sulfur-free hot springs even better, so if you haven’t visited in awhile, you’re in for a sweet surprise.

One of the town’s biggest draws in winter is the Ouray Ice Park. I’ve written about it here in The Heidi Guide before, but if you’ve ever wanted to learn to ice climb, this is the place to ice climb in Colorado.

There’s a reason Ouray is called, “The Switzerland of America” because, in addition to the ice park and soaking, winter activities abound. Just a 10-minute drive into the mountains surrounding Ouray and visitors can enjoy backcountry skiing and snowboarding, snowmobiling and snowshoeing.

Whether you’re looking for accommodations with a private hot springs pool or prefer a fancy hotel, Ouray’s got you covered. Check out all of Ouray’s lodging options here.SaveSave

Categories: The Heidi Guide