Exciting Colorado Getaway for Families: Snow Mountain Ranch -YMCA of the Rockies

*Hosted stay. All ideas and opinions expressed are that of the writer. Find our full disclosure at the bottom of this article.*

A view of the grounds at YMCA of the Rockies, dusted with snow.

Dreaming of your next Colorado family getaway? Snow Mountain Ranch -YMCA of the Rockies is a perfect fit for families seeking a Colorado vacation in the mountains, especially in the winter! With endless outdoor and indoor entertainment for families, your kids won’t want to leave. You can surely find something for everyone here! Enjoy activities like roller skating and indoor rock climbing, as well as dog sledding and cross country skiing. Snow Mountain Ranch also offers day-use passes for your Colorado family getaway. These are perfect if you need something to do as you ski near Winter Park. Or, simply add it to your Colorado family vacation bucket list. Keep reading to learn more about vacationing at Snow Mountain Ranch for families. We cover everything your family needs to know about accommodations, top things to do with kids, and the Nordic Center.

Location, Setting, and Check-in at Snow Mountain Ranch -YMCA of the Rockies for Families

A lodge at YMCA of the Rockies, dusted with snow, one of the best accommodation options at YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch for Families.
Photo Courtesy: Michelle Hamilton

Located off of Highway 40 near Winter Park and Granby, Snow Mountain Ranch is 12 miles from Winter Park Resort. As you drive past Winter Park Resort, you’ll see the turn-off on the left toward Granby. Wind past the majestic scenery. You may even spot some wildlife. As you arrive, check-in at the administrative building, where you’ll receive information regarding your lodging. Remember to ask about the special programs and activities available during your stay.

They’ll also direct you to the nearby activities building, where you can find out more to plan your Colorado family vacation. The Keva Center and the Art and Crafts building are wonderful places to enjoy kids’ activities, so be sure to locate them on the site map. If your stay includes dining, be sure to ask where that building is located and check the hours to plan accordingly. 

RELATED ARTICLE: Fantastic Colorado Summer Vacation Ideas Your Family Will Love

Best Accommodation Options at Snow Mountain Ranch -YMCA of the Rockies for Families

Two red yurts on the grounds of YMCA at the Rockies, one of the best accommodation options at YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch for Families.

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Situated throughout the grounds, you will find lodges, yurts, campground sites, and beautiful, wooded cabins. With breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains from all of the buildings, you will not be disappointed with your stay. In the winter, your family will want to stay in a cabin or one of the lodge rooms.

Families can stay in one of the pet-friendly cabins with 2-5 bedrooms and various bathroom combinations. In fact, large cabins can sleep up to 12 people if you want to have a multigenerational family getaway or explore the Snow Mountain Ranch with friends. Plus, the reunion cabins include 8 bedrooms and sleep up to 40 guests (perfect for multiple families or multi-generation groups!). Each cabin has a fully equipped kitchen with cooking items (bring your own cooking oil and food!) and a deck/patio to enjoy the outdoors. Some cabins even have grills on the patio and others feature an indoor fireplace to warm up after your winter adventures. 

Hotel-style lodge rooms are also available within walking distance of the dining hall and other activity buildings. These lodge rooms can sleep up to 6 people in various configurations of beds from queens to bunk beds and pull-out sofas. The yurts and campground sites are seasonally available in the warmer months of the year if you choose to visit in the summer or fall. Depending on which accommodation you choose, you can include dining at the cafeteria-style dining hall in your stay.  

Family Activities Included in Your Stay at Snow Mountain Ranch -YMCA of the Rockies for Families

Snow Mountain Ranch has a plethora of top things to do with kids in the winter! Complimentary activities including roller skating, indoor rock climbing, indoor swimming, mini-golf, disc golf, and many hiking and biking trails will keep your family entertained for hours. If you need a break from roller skating, try your hand at basketball, volleyball, or shuffleboard in the Keva Center as well.

Then, when you’re looking for some downtime after roller skating or swimming, be sure to check out the library where you can check out books and games during your stay. Or, strap on some ice skates at the Winter Pavillion for some family ice skating this winter. What a fun way to spend time together! Hopefully, you have a fireplace in your cabin to warm up near with a cup of hot cocoa afterward.  

February 2022 Only: Snow Mountain Ranch Olympic Passport to Fun

A hand holds a small passport-style book for the Winter Olympics event at Snow Mountain Ranch.
Photo Courtesy: Snow Mountain Ranch

To celebrate the Winter Olympics this February, Snow Mountain Ranch is hosting the Snow Mountain Ranch Olympic Passport to Fun program. Every Friday through Sunday during the 2022 Winter Olympics, guests can travel around the Snow Mountain Ranch property to experience winter Olympic-themed activities, while collecting activity stamps for each activity. Fun family-style, Olympic-themed activities include country ski racing at the Nordic center, ice skating and ice dancing, roller skating, Olympic-themed projects at the craft center, movie night, and much more. And guests who participate in the program also have the chance to win a two-night stay in a lodge room!

Note: This event will only be held on Fridays through Sundays during the Winter Olympics, February 4 – 20, 2022.

Extra Activities at Snow Mountain Ranch -YMCA of the Rockies for Families

Two horses drink from a large tub, while in their pen, saddled and ready for a ride. One of the best things to do at YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch for Families.

Most activities come included with your accommodations, which allow you to access the on-site activities. There are, however, a few opportunities to do activities that are considered extra and not a part of the resort. For example, horseback riding at Snow Mountain Stables is sure to please the horse lover in the family. In the winter months, they offer sleigh rides for $45 per adult and $35 per child for a 45-minute ride through the snow-covered trees. Should you want another thrill-seeking adventure, book a snowmobile tour off of the Snow Mountain Ranch property with Grand Adventures Tours where you can book a guided or unguided snowmobile for your family adventure. These extra activities will surely add to your special family memories on your Colorado family getaway. 

Arts and Crafts

A young girl smiles in the craft room at the YMCA of the Rockies.

Another favorite for families is the Arts and Crafts building. My family really enjoyed painting pottery and woodcrafts here, as well as trying our hand at wood burning. With a fee for each activity, your family can enjoy painting, wood burning, leather crafts, and much more. You can complete the crafts in a short time, or you can spend many hours here depending on which you choose. If you plan to paint pottery, be sure to allow an evening to have it set in the kiln and pick it up the following morning.  Remember also to check out these upcoming January arts and crafts events! 

Outdoor Winter Activities at Snow Mountain Ranch -YMCA of the Rockies for Families

Three kids sit amongst playground equipment at YMCA of the Rockies.

Winter in Colorado is spectacular if you can spend it at Snow Mountain Ranch -YMCA of the Rockies. Near Winter Park, a day pass provides access to a great, old-fashioned tubing hill and other winter activities for kids. Available at the Winter Pavilion, the tubes are included in your day pass fee. Hike up the hill, as there are no lifts or ropes for help, and you’ll earn your ride down! When snow tubing isn’t enough for your crew, your pass also includes ice skating and access to the Nordic Center activities. If you extend your stay past the day pass use, be sure to make time for all of the activities available at the Nordic Center.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Best Colorado Snow Tubing and Sledding Spots for Families

Nordic Center

A family hikes along a path in Colorado, one of the best things to do  at YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch for Families.
Photo Courtesy: Michelle Hamilton

What makes the Snow Mountain Ranch an even more unique Colorado family vacation in the winter? The Nordic Center! With 120,000 groomed trails, it’s a perfect fit for either your snowshoeing adventures or your cross-country ski dreams. Bring your own equipment or rent on-site; you can even rent a baby carrier if you want to bring the youngest of your crew!

Free and public tours appear weekly in the Activity Guide you receive upon check-in. You can also choose to have a private guide for a group of up to 15 people. For a truly unique winter experience, rent a fat bike! This regular-sized bike has oversized tires specifically designed to ride on snow. Spend a beautiful day in the Colorado sun, surrounded by woods and the Rocky Mountains. Hear the crunch of the snow as you breeze by on your ride!

Dog Sledding

A young girl in winter gear kneels next to a white sled dog, one of the best things to do at YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch for Families.

One of the most spectacular experiences at Snow Mountain Ranch is dog sledding. The dog sledding experience books quickly, so be sure to make your reservations early. Available on Saturdays and Sundays, short rides will consist of a quick, 2-mile loop lasting 15 minutes. Each sled can hold one adult and one child. If you have a dog lover in your group, try the 30-minute dog sled rides available Fridays and Mondays! These rides wind through the Snow Mountain Ranch property and give a better feel for mushing.

You can also participate in dog sled training from fall through early winter! Meet the dogs and the team of trainers as you get a behind-the-scenes look. These training rides happen every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday morning, with only one session per morning. You’ll meet early the morning of your training right across from the Therapeutic Riding Center. Then, the musher team hooks up to a side-by-side UTV, and you can see how they arrange the dogs. Strap in for a thrilling run that’s anywhere from 14 miles long to 40 miles long! After, you’ll see how they care for the dogs, unhook them, and put them away. This fall program runs through December 4th, which then leads into the winter dog sledding program. All of these experiences require advanced reservations. Book early as they fill up quickly!

What to Bring on Your Colorado Family Vacation

An aerial view of the grounds at YMCA of the Rockies, featuring the yurts, a playground, and a wooded area.

Colorado experiences varying temperatures, especially in the mountains. Since Snow Mountain Ranch sits in the Rocky Mountains, you’ll want to be prepared for your family vacation. Typically, the sun is out, and this can be deceiving. So, when planning for your Colorado family getaway at Snow Mountain Ranch, be sure to dress appropriately for outdoor activities. Planning on dog sledding or enjoying any of the many activities at the Nordic Center? Your kids will enjoy the activity longer if their hands and feet stay warm. Invest in some warm socks and mittens or gloves that stay on their hands. Here are a few extra tips:

  • Wear multiple layers of clothing so you can easily remove a layer or add a layer as needed.
  • The first layer of clothing should be moisture-wicking, lightweight clothing.
  • The second layer of clothing is the warming layer.  Think warm sweaters, down vest, or synthetic fleece to keep your core warm. 
  • The top layer of clothing should be waterproof.  
  • Wear waterproof gloves to keep your hands warm.  Mittens keep your hands warmer than gloves.
  • Wear waterproof boots and wool socks to keep your toes warm.
  • Bring extra clothing to switch into as accidents can happen. 
  • Bring hand warmers which you can add to gloves or inside boots as needed.  

If you are staying in any of the pet-friendly cabins, bring cooking spray, any food you plan on making during your stay, and plenty of snacks to keep your kids energized as they enjoy all the activities. Don’t forget your favorite coffee or tea to indulge in while sitting by the fireplace or enjoying the deck on your Snow Mountain Ranch cabin. Of course, remember to bring your favorite family card and board games or plan on renting some from the library on-site!

Happy Travels!

Two kids climb along the rock wall, one of the best things to do at YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch for Families.

As you plan your Colorado family vacation, be sure to include some of these top activities to do with kids. This list offers you a smattering of all you can experience at the Snow Mountain Ranch.  Whether you enjoy being active this winter by cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, horseback riding or dog sledding, or you simply enjoy family activities such as indoor rock climbing, roller skating, or creating art, Snow Mountain Ranch will bring joy to everyone in the family. 

Thank You to Snow Mountain Ranch -YMCA of the Rockies

Three kids pose together inside the roller skating gym at YMCA of the Rockies.

A special thank you to the Snow Mountain Ranch -YMCA of the Rockies for hosting me and my family. And, to Families Love Travel for the opportunity to write this article to feature the amazing time our family had during our stay near Winter Park. We hope you have as much fun as we did exploring all that the Snow Mountain Ranch -YMCA of the Rockies has to offer. Enjoy your Colorado family getaway!

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Unless otherwise noted, all images belong to and are courtesy of Michelle Hamilton.

*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the attractions, accommodations, or things to do on this list may be closed. Please ensure availability before making your decision. 

*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are that of the writer and are based on her experience.

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Michelle Hamilton

Michelle Hamilton has been traveling since she was a few months old. Born in California with her heart in Switzerland, where her family is originally from, she now instills this wanderlust into her own three children. Michelle currently lives and works as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist in Colorado, where she owns an Air B&B, and spends her free time outdoors hiking, biking, or skiing. Having traveled much of Europe and Asia with her husband, she soon plans to "worldschool" her kids, merging an enriching education with her family's passion for travel.