Winter Park fits Ryan and I like an old glove. I think this is true for many Coloradans; especially Coloradans like Ryan who grew up skiing at Winter Park Resort.
I’ve been visiting for 16 years, and the town’s got a comfortable, familiar ambiance that I love.
However, if you’re anything like us, when you get comfortable with a destination you tend to visit the same places on each visit. For instance, for us, a trip to Winter Park isn’t complete without a visit to Hernando’s Pizza Pub. That’s why, on our most recent trip to this well-loved Colorado resort town, we decided to mix things up a bit and add some new locations and activities to our agenda.
We were in town for Winter Park Beer Festival, one of the top beer festivals in Colorado and probably in the Rocky Mountain West. We’d been in town several weeks prior for Tequila & Tacos, a brand new festival that features – what else – tacos and tequila. We had a blast and I sincerely hope that it becomes an annual summertime event.
On this most recent trip, we stayed at Beaver Village Condominiums, new-to-us accommodations that are located on the south end of town, but still within walking distance of everywhere you want to be downtown. In fact, these condos would be an ideal place to stay during ski season since Winter Park Resort is just minutes up the road.
We started our first morning at a new-to-us breakfast jointed. At 8 a.m., Mountain Rose Cafe had no wait and the sweetest waitress I’ve encountered in awhile. Breakfast was delicious and we will be back.
In all our years of visiting Winter Park, a town that bills itself as Mountain Bike Capital USA, we’d never ridden bikes there. On Saturday morning, prior to the beer festival, we picked up mountain bikes from Epic Mountain Sports and rode through town towards the Fraser River Trail.
With more than 600 miles of bike-friendly trails in the area, there’s a little something for everyone in Winter Park, whether you’re a beginner or a pro. Check out this list of bike trails in Winter Park from MtbCapitalUSA.com.
It was a misty morning in Winter Park, which was a welcomed departure from the 90 degree days we’d been experiencing at home in the Front Range. We rode through town and hit the trail at the Grand Park Community Rec Center and pedaled towards Fraser.
We did the “southern loop” that took us into the Town of Fraser where we crossed the highway at Safeway and meandered next to the Fraser River back towards Winter Park.
It’s a relatively flat trail with both gravel and paved sections, and when we hit any uphills I quickly shifted down and the ride was easy again. Our Jamis mountain bikes from Epic were pretty awesome.
Once we were back in Winter Park, the trail wound around some beautiful small lakes with lots of shrubbery. Fish kept hitting the surface making us wish we had some fishing poles with us.
The Fraser River Trail was the perfect pre-festival bike ride for us. We love to ride bikes, but like to keep things simple and prefer flat surfaces to rocky uphill and downhill rides.
That afternoon we attended Winter Park Beer Festival, which was just as great as it always is. Afterwards, we got dinner at a new-to-us restaurant. We’d had lunch at Deno’s Mountain Bistro years before, but had never indulged in dinner at this Winter Park staple.
Originally constructed as a stage stop in the late 1800s, the building that houses Deno’s has been a restaurant since the 1940s, and has been Deno’s since 1976.
We sat on the patio where I enjoyed perfectly cooked medallions rustica and Ryan wolfed down his pork scallopini. Deno’s definitely lived up to its reputation as a Winter Park fine dining establishment.
We’re glad we made an effort to try new things on this Winter Park trip, and in doing so we now have a few new traditions in this familiar town.
Festival season isn’t over in Winter Park. Check out this calendar for upcoming events including Winter Park Uncorked.