Hayden, a small town 22 miles west of Steamboat Springs, offers plenty of winter fun in a quiet setting.
Cross-country skiers need not go far to find loops that will put color in their cheeks and get their hearts pumping.
The closest option to downtown Hayden is a one-mile groomed trail in Dry Creek Park just south of the Routt County Fairgrounds off Poplar Street.
The town has a grooming machine to maintain the loop.
Large open areas in Dry Creek Park also are good for snowshoers who just want to get out for a quick jaunt.
Another groomed ski trail, about 1 mile long, circles the Yampa River State Park headquarters about two miles west of Hayden on U.S. Highway 40.
The park also plans to offer ice-skating on a portable rink or on a pond, tourist assistant Vickie Runnion said.
A state parks pass or $5 parks fee is required to recreate at the park. For information on hours and activities, call 276-2061.
Cold weather permitting, the town of Hayden also plans to operate its portable ice rink in Town Park on Third Street.
The nearest access to National Forest land is California Park north of Hayden and the Dunkley Pass area, which is south of Hayden in Rio Blanco County. Both places are favorite areas for snowmobilers and skiers, though road access may depend on snow depth and conditions.
When the snow is deep, children also flock to the town's favorite sledding area on the hill behind Hayden Valley Elementary School, which is on Poplar Street near the fairgrounds.
On milder winter days, visitors to Hayden can take a walking tour and check out the historic homes and other buildings throughout downtown. Maps for the self-guided walking tour can be picked up at Hayden Town Hall, 178 W. Jefferson Ave.
Stepping into the old railroad depot that houses Hayden's museum is like wandering into a storybook alive with vivid recollections of this little town's lively past.
The Hayden Heritage Center museum boasts tales of a spirited community that has retained the vision of early settlers and maintained a rural lifestyle fast disappearing in our country.
Hayden's history encompasses many aspects of agriculture, cowboy-ing, homesteading and mining. Children especially enjoy ringing the old school bell, and exploring the town's original jail in back of the depot.
The museum is at 300 W. Pearl St.