Nothing better than heading into the mountains for a great winter holiday! The one problem you might encounter is that most ski resorts are actually quite a distance from the closest airport or big city. So how do you get from Winter Park to Denver? I have made a list of the best ways to get there by Train, Car, Transfer and Rental Car! Here is how you get from Denver to Winter Park.
Denver to Winter Park by Train
Train rides can bring a whole other level of enjoyment to a journey, and to some, the best way to kick off the holiday. You hop on and just sit back and enjoy the views, which if you’re heading to Winter Park, may consist of mountains and lush forests.
To get from Denver to Winter Park, go to Union Station in downtown Denver, and from there you have a few options. If you’re travelling between early January to late March, The Winter Express will take you right to the base of Winter Park Resort, but only on weekends. you will leave Union Station at 7.30 a.m and reach Winter Park Resort within two hours, with a return train available at 4.30 p.m. If travelling on a weekday, hop on the Amtrak California Zephyr which runs daily and all year around from Denver to Winter Park. Unfortunately you will be stopping at Fraser, 5 miles from Winter Park but there is a free bus that takes you to the base.
The route it will be travelling on is between Chicago, Illinois and Oakland, California and the train even provides a choice of accommodation where guests can choose to stay in the sleeping cars equipped with Bedrooms, Roomettes and Family Rooms depending on their needs.
The ‘Accessible Rooms’ on the train from Denver to Winter Park provide space for mobility impaired riders. impaired riders can also comfortably ride in the Coach seats which recline and provide plenty of space to relax.
Denver to Winter Park by Car
Winter Park Resort is roughly 90 mi from Denver, just a two hour drive depending on the traffic conditions. The most direct route would be to get on I-70, exit onto Highway 40 and drive through Empire, a scarcely populated former mining settlement.
The route between Denver and Winter Park, even though short, is a windy mountain road which includes some possibly hazardous stretches. The I-70 corridor is quite, which means that as you drive up the likelihood of coming across some snow is high, so beware of snow related delays.
Also, Highway 40 from the I-70 turnoff crosses Berthoud pass, which in the winter months, closes frequently for avalanche control. All these are monitored and usually during heavy snowfall months the road closures will happen during the mornings so that the pass is clear for the rest of the day.
It’s a good idea to check in with the Colorado Department of Transportation if you want to drive from Denver to Winter Park as it will tell you of any possible dangers and road closures you may encounter and possibly give you alternate routes.
Highway 34, south from Estes Park through Granby is an alternative drive to Winter Park, however this is only accessible during spring and summer months.
Taking the shuttle from Denver to Winter Park
There’re a number of shuttles available from Denver to Winter Park, some of them also leaving from the Denver International Airport.
Many of them are luxury vans and guests have the choice between meeting them at a scheduled time or prior booking. This would involve scheduling, paying ahead of time and deciding where to be picked from and dropped to.
Most companies will advise travellers to book their transfer from Denver to Winter Park ahead of time to avoid unnecessary disappointments and inconveniences. You can also choose to book an entire van if you’re travelling with a large group.
The convenience of the shuttle from Denver to Winter Park would also include the space, and driving with experienced drivers which can be particularly handy when tackling the snowy elevations and the windy roads. It will also give you the opportunity to relax and enjoy the scenery.
The Home James Shuttle Service is an example of one of these shuttle services, the shuttle runs eleven times during the course of the day between Denver International Airport and Winter Park.
The operating times are between 9:00am to 10:00pm from the airport if you want to travel between Denver and Winter Park and 5:30am to 7:00pm from Winter Park to Denver. After late March, the schedule relaxes a bit and they only operate about six times a day.
Hire a car to drive from Denver to Winter Park
Renting your own car will allow you to program your day as you please and dictate your own times. you can rent a car at Denver International Airport and head straight to Winter Park.
I would advise you to hire a four wheel drive, which will ensure you can navigate any type of weather. All you will need to hire a car from Denver International Airport is a valid driver’s license and experience trailing along icy and sometimes snow filled roads.
Parking will not be an issue at Winter Park, if you get there early enough you will probably be able to snatch one of the free parking lots, they’re all located within half a mile of the ski lifts.
If you walk in from the north end of Winter Park Resort, you will be able to conveniently walk right up to the ski area. There’re a few stops you can make on the way to Winter Park from Denver. Dinosaur Ridge is west of Denver, and will be entertaining for kids, or you could visit a mine, and take a mine tour, educational and entertaining at the same time.
Stopping at Idaho Springs is another option, breathtaking sights of endless rows of pine trees near the glass like lake and nice breezes on a sunny day.
If you travel during spring, you may be able to catch the Georgetown Loop Railroad and even experience an old-time steam locomotive which was one of Colorado’s first visitor attractions. It is a mesmerizing stretch of three-foot narrow gauge railroad going through the Rugged Mountains.