Ultimate Winter Getaways

From backcountry huts and wintertime glamping to poolside lounging and hot spring soaking, we’ve found more than 20 places in Colorado (and beyond!) that you should visit this season.

November 2012

Spring Creek Ranch • Jackson, Wyoming / $$ (For Nature Lovers)

Say the word safari and the mind conjures sweeping images of Africa’s Great Rift Valley filled with exotic animals. But Denverites don’t have to go quite as far as Kenya to experience the exuberance of spotting wildlife. Instead, they need only travel to northern Wyoming’s Spring Creek Ranch, a rustic retreat that’s short on pretense and long on Western charm. Located on 1,000 acres of a wildlife preserve (elk, mule deer, moose, ermine, and red-tailed hawks) that faces the towering peaks of the Teton Range, the ranch is also just minutes from the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton National Park, and less than two hours from Yellowstone National Park. Throughout the winter months, Spring Creek Ranch offers sleigh rides in the National Elk Refuge, photo safaris into Grand Teton, and snowshoe hikes with the ranch’s resident naturalist.

Who It’s For: Nature enthusiasts looking for a reasonably priced wintertime excursion. 

Get A Room: The Inn Rooms—there are four built into each of nine rustic cabins—are lower-cost options.

The Best Part: The view. The ranch rests atop the Gros Ventre Butte, which gives the resort unobstructed panoramic views of the Tetons.

Bonus: Breakfast at the Granary restaurant is a trip highlight. Try eggs Benedict or order something more daring like the Hoback Bowl with wild-game sausage.

Book It: Inn Rooms average $210 per night; springcreekranch.com; 1-800-443-6139


The Rocky Mountain Chalet • Fraser, Colorado / $ (For Backpackers)

Hostels aren’t for everyone. Sometimes they’re just a little too communal, a tad on the cozy side with complete strangers. However, there are places, like the Rocky Mountain Chalet, that do hostelling right. Not only does owner Dianne Wettersten have six beautifully appointed private rooms that feel more like you’re staying in a bed-and-breakfast than in a hostel, but she also maintains a sense of decorum in the four dorm-style rooms, which can sleep up to six guests. The Chalet mostly caters to young families and the we’re-traveling-the-world-to-ski set, but anyone looking for a down-to-earth, convivial vibe will relish the atmosphere—and the very unhostel-like gourmet kitchen and high-rent accommodations—at this Fraser-based lodge.

Who It’s For: Anyone wanting to do a Colorado ski weekend on a dime.

Get A Room: Traveling alone? Go for the dorm room, where you’re sure to meet a friend or two. The private rooms are better for couples or families.

The Best Part: You’re vacationing in one of Colorado’s resort towns and you’re paying (sometimes way) less than $179 a night.

Book It: therockymountainchalet.com; 970-726-8256


Miraval • Tucson, Arizona / $$$ (For Spa Lovers)

There’s a two- to three-hour window of happiness after experiencing a great massage that makes you feel light, content, and nourished both physically and mentally. When you book a trip to Tucson’s Miraval, that spa high is dramatically prolonged. Maybe it’s the serene setting, healthy cuisine, yoga sessions, wellness lectures, meditation time, art classes, or the outdoor adventure exercises designed to cleanse the mind and push the body that help your morning spa experience last. Or maybe it’s just that this destination spa does spa-ing so right. The spa menu at this (mostly) all-inclusive, 117-room resort offers no fewer than 100 different treatments, from water therapy and Reiki to body scrubs, facials, and hot stone massages for both men and women.

Who It’s For: The chronically stressed-out set; the super-crunchy, I’m-so-in-tune-with-my-body-and-spirituality spa-lover; and friends on a girls’ weekend away.

Get A Room: You’re not in your room all that often when you’re at Miraval; go for the standard room and spend your money on
more spa treatments.

The Best Part: Did we mention this place has a killer spa?

Book It: The Discover Miraval package starts at $299 per night and includes a $50 nightly resort credit, all meals and snacks, unlimited participation in regular resort-led activities like photography walks and climbing wall sessions, access to the spa’s numerous amenities, and a welcome gift; miravalresorts.com; 1-800-232-3969